In under five years, 32-year-old Dallas-born contemporary Christian music vocalist Brandon Lake has surged into becoming an ASCAP, Billboard, GMA Dove, Grammy and now three-time 2023 K-LOVE Fan Award-winning performer.
Of many highlights of the evening, his trio of victories for Male Artist, Song of the Year and Worship Song of the Year at the 10th annual K-LOVE Fan Awards -- taped on May 28 at Nashville's Opry House -- were most impressive.
For King and Country were again named Artist of the Year (their wives accepted the award for the duo currently touring) while Lauren Daigle -- whose 2018-released single "You Say" spent over two and one-half years on top of Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart -- won for Female Artist of the Year. MercyMe received their first K-LOVE Fan Award when they were named Group of the Year. The Breakout Single of the Year award went to Rachael Lampa for the TobyMac featuring "Perfectly Loved."
Lake quoted the 100th Psalm ("Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise") when describing the power of Christian chart-topper "Gratitude," which, alongside his work with Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music, is his first solo chart-topping single.
"As a living, breathing, walking, talking miracle, the song's success is more of a blessing than a burden."
He's the product of a life he should likely never have lived, given that his mother had six miscarriages before his 1990 birth.
"God can use almost anyone and anything to carry forth his message," Lake added. In the same vein as the 118th Psalm chronicling how Christianity's foundations were built upon the stone which the builders refused, Lake noted that "Gratitude" -- written in a session with Sydney, Australia-based Hillsongs member Benjamin Hastings at his apartment overlooking the city's iconic opera house -- almost didn't get included in his 2020 album "House of Miracles."
The K-LOVE Fan Awards winners list was rounded by The Chosen's Season Three Finale awarded for Film & Television Impact, Phil and Jase Robertson's "Unashamed" winning for Podcast of the Year, Phil Wickham's "On Our Knees" winning for Book Impact, and Charlotte Smith being the Sports Impact Award honoree.
Insofar as performances, mainstream country stars like Gabby Barrett (who performed "Build A Boat" alongside Colton Dixon to open the proceedings) and Russell Dickerson (who joined Cody Carnes for "Ain't Nobody") were present, as well as solid work from Mac Powell and Jason Crabb (a lively take on "New Creation"), Tasha Layton and Jon Reddick (who performed parts of their respective singles "How Far" and "I Believe It"), plus We The Kingdom with breakout CCM star Anne Wilson combining forces for the former's "Jesus Does."
Notably, Blessing Offor had students from Nashville's Covenant School join his performance of "Brighter Days," which, before the tragic shooting that occurred at the school on March 27, two students won the Covenant talent show by performing the song.
"I never imagined my song could mean so much until I saw it's impact in the darkest of moments," Offor stated concerning being shown a video of the talent show in the tragedy's wake.
"People needed to have their souls lifted by their performance in the most honorable way possible," he added about their K-LOVE collaboration.
Veteran Christian music superstar Steven Curtis Chapman was honored for his hit "Don't Lose Heart," becoming his 50th No. 1 in 35 years. Artists Bart Millard, Mac Powell, and Matthew West joined the Belmont grad in honoring his incredible success.
"For so long, I've been grateful to have the Christian music community identify that my songs are worthy of their connection," stated Chapman, exclusive to The Tennessean while on the event's red carpet. Not only did he tie together the evening's themes of community, gratitude and identity, but he also noted the strong themes allowing for Christian music's dovetailing in streaming and digital popularity -- similar to mainstream country -- since the COVID pandemic's quarantine.
He further discussed how he hoped to have the connective potential for his work similar to that of Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash.
"Even if you didn't know what they were singing about, you felt it. I'm blessed that the topics that emotionally stir my creativity allow me to sing what's authentically in my soul, much like Cash and Campbell, much like Cash and Campbell."
The event closed with the event's hosts -- the CCM trio CAIN -- being joined by Andrew Ripp, Rachael Lampa, Lauren Daigle, Jason Ingram, Brandon Lake and Benjamin William Hastings for an ensemble performance of I'm So Blessed" to close the program.
TBN will broadcast an encore of the event on June 10th. For more information about K-LOVE, visit https://www.klove.com.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Brandon Lake, Lauren Daigle excel at 2023 K-LOVE Fan Awards