NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman led the Dove Award nominations with seven on Tuesday, even though he wasn’t named in the best artist category he has won six times.

A slew of other Christian musicians received five or more nods for the 35th Annual Dove Awards, gospel music’s version of the Grammys, scheduled for April 28 in Nashville.

Chapman’s major nominations included Male Vocalist of the Year for his album “All About Love” and song of the year for the title track off that album. Joining Chapman as nominees for best male vocalist are Jeremy Camp, Bart Millard, David Phelps and Mark Schultz.

The nominees for Artist of the Year are MercyMe, Stacie Orrico, Switchfoot, Randy Travis and Michael W. Smith.

Smith has won 12 Dove Awards in the past two years, including Artist of the Year in 2002 and 2003. He received one other nomination Tuesday, for Special Event Album. MercyMe was the only other act to repeat an Artist of the Year nomination from last year.

Switchfoot received six nominations for their “Beautiful Letdown” release. The recording has been No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart for the first five weeks of 2004. Band member Jonathan Foreman received five nominations and brother Tim Foreman earned four nominations individually for their songwriting.

Third Day also received six nominations for the “Offerings II: All I Have to Give” release.

MercyMe, Switchfoot and Third Day are up for group of the year as well as Jars of Clay and Newsboys.

CeCe Winans and Orrico will battle for Female Vocalist of the Year, and both received five nominations.

Winans’ “Throne Room” was the first for her new Pure Springs Gospel/INO/Epic label. Orrico, 17, became an MTV favorite this past year with her second album for the song “(There’s Gotta Be) More to Life.”

Other nominees for best female vocalist were Nichole Nordeman, Rebecca St. James and Joy Williams.

Awards will be handed out by the Gospel Music Association in 44 categories for recordings released between Nov. 1, 2002 and Oct. 31. The 4,500-member GMA is a trade organization formed in 1964 to promote Christian music.

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On the Net:

Dove Awards: http://www.doveawards.com/

AP-ES-02-10-04 1616EST



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