Exploring The Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field Nominees

Go inside the nominations in the gospel and contemporary Christian music categories for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards
  • Photo: Frederick Breedon IV/Getty Images
    Andraé Crouch
  • Photo: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com
  • Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
    Chris Tomlin
  • Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
    Natalie Grant
  • Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.com
    Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
    Kim Burrell
  • Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
    Royal Tailor
  • Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
    Canton Jones
  • Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
    Jamie Grace
January 30, 2012 -- 6:19 pm PST

(For a complete list of 54th GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)

You've seen the list of nominees, now take a closer look at the artists nominated in the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

With gospel/contemporary Christian music primarily defined by its lyrical content not its musical style, this is a rare non-General Field to reflect genre diversity. This year's nominees skew decidedly pop, with many artists looking to score their first taste of GRAMMY gold. The field also includes some veterans, including five-time GRAMMY winner Steven Curtis Chapman, who won his first GRAMMY in 1991, and seven-time winner Andraé Crouch, a gospel legend who won his first GRAMMY in 1975.

Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance

Steven Curtis Chapman received his 16th career GRAMMY nomination for the feel-good, up-tempo "Do Everything." He won his most recent GRAMMY in 2004 for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album for All Things New. Natalie Grant's performance of "Alive (Mary Magdalene)," a track from the multi-artist project Music Inspired By The Story, earned the pop vocalist her first GRAMMY nomination. It's made all the sweeter because the song was co-written and co-produced by her husband, Bernie Herms. Brandon Heath hit a trifecta this year in scoring three nominations. He's represented here for his performance on "Your Love" from Leaving Eden. Le'Andria Johnson, winner of season three of BET's singing competition show, "Sunday Best," received her first career GRAMMY nomination for "Jesus." "I Lift My Hands" rounds out the category, marking modern worship leader Chris Tomlin's fifth career GRAMMY nomination.

Best Gospel Song

This songwriter-based category features some of the genre's most decorated artists. Known for blending gospel and contemporary flavors, Kirk Franklin has seven GRAMMY Awards already to his name. This nomination comes for the title track of his 2011 studio album Hello Fear. Sisters Erica and Tina Campbell, who perform as the pop/gospel duo Mary Mary, won in this category in 2009 for "God In Me." This year they are nominated with co-writers Gerald and Tammi Haddon for "Sitting With Me," a song from Something Big. Veteran producer/songwriter/performer Donald Lawrence won a Best Traditional Gospel Album GRAMMY in 2007 as the producer for the Clark Sisters' Live — One Last Time. This year he's nominated as a songwriter for "Spiritual" from his release YRM: Your Righteous Mind. Gospel legend Richard Smallwood received his first GRAMMY nomination in 1988. This year's nod for "Trust Me," from Richard Smallwood & Vision's Promises, marks his eighth career nomination. Canton Jones is the lone hip-hop artist nominated in this category. "Window," a song from his 2011 double-album Dominionaire, represents his first career GRAMMY nomination.

Best Contemporary Christian Music Song

As a songwriter, Laura Story was best known for writing hits for artists such as fellow nominee Tomlin. She broke through on her own in 2011 with her first GRAMMY nomination for "Blessings," her first  Billboard Hot Christian Songs No. 1 hit. Jamie Grace also notched her first GRAMMY nomination for the effervescent "Hold Me." She co-wrote the song with Toby McKeehan (aka Tobymac), who has won four Best Rock Gospel Album GRAMMYs as a member of dc Talk, and mixer/engineer/producer Christopher Stevens. Tomlin serves as worship leader at Louie Giglio's Passion City Church in Atlanta. Tomlin, Giglio and fellow worship leader/songwriter Matt Maher are nominated for "I Lift My Hands," which appeared on Tomlin's 2010 album And If Our God Is For Us... . Matthew West received his first GRAMMY nomination for Best Gospel Song in 2009 for "The Motions." This year he's nominated for "Strong Enough," a song inspired by the real-life story of a young woman's near-fatal car accident. Songwriting partners Heath and Jason Ingram were previously nominated for Best Gospel Song in 2008 for "Give Me Your Eyes." Their songwriting success continues this year with "Your Love," Heath's No. 1 hit from Leaving Eden.

Best Gospel Album

After suffering a heart attack in 2009, Kim Burrell returned to the scene 100 pounds lighter and with a new appreciation for life. Her GRAMMY-nominated The Love Album explores love in all its forms. The legendary Andraé Crouch is nominated for The Journey, his first album in six years. The album includes collaborations with Chaka Khan, Sheila E., fellow nominee Burrell, and Take 6. Kirk Franklin's 1993 debut Kirk Franklin & The Family became the first debut gospel album to attain platinum status. Hello Fear is his first album since 2007's The Fight Of My Life, and his first since 2002's The Rebirth Of Kirk Franklin to debut in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200. Sister duo Mary Mary have three GRAMMY Awards to their credit, including the Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album award for their 2000 debut album, Thankful. The sisters are nominated this year for Something Big, their fifth studio album. R&B girl group Trin-I-Tee 5:7 morphed from a trio to a duo this year before releasing their seventh studio album, Angel & Chanelle. This is their second career nomination, following a nod for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album for T57 in 2008.

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

Officially billed as a "musical collective," Gungor are comprised primarily of husband-and-wife duo Michael and Lisa Gungor. Gungor received their third career GRAMMY nomination for Ghosts Upon The Earth, counting nods last year for Best Rock Or Rap Gospel Album and the pair's nomination for Best Gospel Song. Leaving Eden, Heath's third album, saw the acoustic-oriented singer/songwriter head in a more polished pop direction. His nod in this category rounds out his three total GRAMMY nominations this year. Leeland, named for lead singer/guitarist Leeland Mooring, received their fourth career GRAMMY nomination for The Great Awakening. The band was previously nominated for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album in three of the last five years. Mandisa, a season five contestant on "American Idol," received nominations for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album in 2007 and 2009. Her third career GRAMMY nomination comes in the form of 2011's What If We Were Real. Newcomers Royal Tailor garnered their first career GRAMMY nomination for their debut, Black & White. The pop quartet draws on influences such as Maroon 5 and Jay Sean for a contemporary pop/hip-hop hybrid. Rounding out the category, Tomlin is nominated for And If Our God Is For Us..., which topped Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart.

Who will take home the awards in the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field? Tune in to the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 12, taking place at Staples Center in Los Angeles and airing live on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

Follow GRAMMY.com for our inside look at GRAMMY news, blogs, photos, videos, and of course nominees. Stay up to the minute with GRAMMY Live. Check out the GRAMMY legacy with GRAMMY Rewind. Explore this year's GRAMMY Fields. Or check out the collaborations at Re:Generation, presented by Hyundai Veloster. And join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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