Among the early winners of the 2017 Grammy Awards in Christian categories announced in Los Angeles Sunday night are gospel singer Tamela Mann, country music group Hillary Scott & The Scott Family, singer Kirk Franklin and country singer Rory Feek and his late wife, Joey.
Singer and actor Mann, known for her recurring role as Cora in Tyler Perry’s plays, took home the Best Gospel Performance/Song Award for “God Provides.”
The 51-year-old Texas-born singer began her career as a singer with the gospel group Kirk Franklin and the Family, and released her own album, The Master Plan, in 2009.
“God Provides,” written by Kirk Franklin, is from Mann’s 2016 album, One Way.
The award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song went to the group Hillary Scott & The Scott Family for “Thy Will.”
Singer and songwriter Hillary Scott revealed in November 2015 that she was working on a gospel album, and announced last April the album’s title, Love Remains. At the time, she also formally introduced the group Hillary Scott & the Scott Family. “Thy Will” is from the same album.
“I wanted to make this album to share more of who I am,” she previously said. “These songs, and many like them, are the cry of my heart. I have been singing songs like this my whole life — whether it be in church, with family and friends gathered around with guitars on my screened porch, rocking my baby girl to sleep, or while holding the hand of a dying loved one.”
Kirk Franklin, known for leading urban contemporary gospel choirs, including The Family, God’s Property and One Nation Crew, won the Best Gospel Album Award for Losing My Religion, which was released in November 2015.
He earlier said the album was needed in a society where church attendance is on the decline.
The 46-year-old minister of music earlier told ABC News 13 about the album: “When you look at the decline of church attendance in America, or when you look at the decline of millennials that are not going to church in America, you want to have the conversation that a lot of times people are hit more with religion and rules and the systems than they are with the love of God and having a personal relationship with Christ.”
The award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album also went to Hillary Scott & The Scott Family for Love Remains.
Country singer Rory Feek won an award for best gospel roots album, for Hymns, an album he and his wife, Joey, recorded shortly before she died last March at age 40.
“My wife’s dream was to make a hymns album. She didn’t have the chance to do it until she’d been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, so she’d sing in hotel rooms while she did chemotherapy and radiation,” Feek said at the awards ceremony, according to Fox News.
When the album was nominated, he said, his wife made him promise he would attend the pre-telecast awards ceremony. She told him with a big smile, “Remember, if we win, I’ll know before you will.”
British singer Adele won album of the year for 25, while many thought the award would go to Beyoncé for Lemonade.
Beyoncé bagged the prize for urban contemporary album.
Chance the Rapper took the prize for new artist as well as rap album.