Music awards shows will soon be back in full swing in Music City, and one star-studded gathering will stand out from the pack.

The Gospel Music Association Dove Awards will recognize all kinds of music makers — from rock to rap, bluegrass, country and soul — when it returns to Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena on October 7. That diversity was driven home on Wednesday as this year’s nominees were announced by a wide range of Christian music stars.

Reigning artist of the year TobyMac had the honor of revealing the 2014 nominees in the category, which included Nashville’s own Mandisa along with Casting Crowns, Hillsong UNITED, Lecrae, NEEDTOBREATHE and Switchfoot.

Those artists weren’t on hand to celebrate on Wednesday, but several others were, including Brandon Heath. The Nashville singer-songwriter earned two nominations, and as a big fan of fellow presenter Tasha Cobbs, he made sure to say hello to the Atlanta-based gospel singer. Outside of the Doves, many of the nominees’ paths don’t often cross.

“We have a common God that we worship, and so there is a very specific commonality between us,” he said. “I think that’s what’s cool about the GMA. We’re very diverse, but we can offer something together and collaborate.”

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