Rich Mullins gets Posthumous Award
Oklahoman April 25, 1998
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As news of contemporary Christian singer and songwriter Rich Mullins' death in a car accident spread last September, the influence of his music ministry quickly became apparent.
Mullins had never won a Gospel Music Association Dove Award, but many of the artists who had won the awards offered tributes that filled magazines and added special meaning to meaning to Christian music programs and concerts.
This week, the industry attempted to make amends.
Although it was out of character for Mullins to covet recognition, he had always wanted a Dove Award, David Mullins said Thursday night in accepting the Artist of the Year award on his brother's behalf.
"He wanted one of these very very badly," David Mullins said. "He was disappointed on a couple of occasions when he was supposed to be a shoo-in and didn't win."
Rich Mullins had been nominated for 12 Dove Awards since 1983 but never won until his 13th nomination came this year, after his death at age 41. He beat out individuals Steven Curtis Chapman and Bob Carlisle and groups Point of Grace and Jars of Clay.
Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and Phil Keaggy took part in a musical tribute to Mullins, who wrote such church standards as "Awesome God" and "Sing Your Praise to the Lord." Mullins left Nashville several years ago to teach music to children on Indian reservations in the Southwest, but continued to record and perform.
"(Mullins) wrote from a deep well of integrity and he was utterly committed to the truth," Grant said, introducing the tribute that included Mullins' band, the Ragamuffins.
"Although Rich was a successful artist, he didn't live like a star," Grant said. "He'd taken a vow of poverty so that what he earned could be used to help others."
The tributes accented an awards show that showcased Christian music's wide range of genres - including rap, alternative rock and country - and ties to celebrities such as Whitney Houston, Naomi Judd and John Tesh, better known for secular music.
There was the exuberant rap of God's Property, alternative rock from Jars of Clay and to Houston's rousing "I Go to the Rock."