We're entering into awards season, and every year, without fail, whether it's the Dove awards or a Reader's Choice survey, I hear the same thing from industry insiders and readers alike: "Y'know, I wish I remembered so-and-so when it came time to cast my vote. I completely forgot who was eligible!" Along with that, I'll often hear complaints that Christian music tends to award the same artists over and over again. The issue is not that the winners are undeserving, but whether we're truly looking for the best in this broad world of Christian music, or are we content to award the most popular and familiar?

With that in mind, we've come up with a "For Your Consideration" article for anyone looking for an overview of the year's best. Let me be clear in saying that the point of the piece is not to tell people who to vote for. Nor does Christian Music Today want to completely tip its hand in advance of the anticipated best-of lists that we run late in the year. The objective here is simply to serve as a guide for voters, professional or otherwise: Doves, Grammys, Reader's Choice, blogs, or personal lists.

My colleagues and I were very intentional to offer realistic suggestions for consideration. We realize that some of our favorite artists and albums from the last year haven't a ghost of a chance of winning a major award, so don't expect to see them in this article (but do look for some in our own best-of lists later on). Instead, the goal for this article is to note both artists we think are likely to be nominated, as well as those which we believe have a practical chance of being nominated.

Best Female Vocalist

Despite a tradition of superb female vocalists in Christian music, there's a tendency to focus on an elite few. Veterans ...

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