Since the K-LOVE Fan Awards first began in 2013, 22 Christian artists have been presented with the signature golden ‘K’ — some more than once. Moreover, additional favorites in the fields of books, sports, film, television and podcasts have also earned the distinction of winning the only fan-voted award in Christian entertainment. Although it’s always an honor simply to be nominated, the winners who have received K-LOVE Fan Awards find themselves greatly encouraged by the fact that fans are inspired by the art they create and the callings they pursue. While we celebrate every single artist, author, athlete, actor and podcast host who has ever been recognized in a select category or has taken home one of these esteemed trophies over the last decade, here are 10 of some the most memorable wins in K-LOVE Fan Awards history.
for KING & COUNTRY — Best Live Show (2015)
Long known for their dynamic live shows, complete with unmatched production and a world-class crew of backing musicians, for KING & COUNTRY won the now defunct title for Best Live Show at the 2015 K-LOVE Fan Awards. After accepting the golden statuette from pop songstress Britt Nicole and professional golfer Kevin Streelman, brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone invited all of their bandmates to join them onstage as the win was undoubtedly a team effort. Following a moment of gratitude for their wives, Joel concluded the group’s gracious acceptance speech by saying, “Truth be told, simply put, we stand up here as seven men who have been transformed by one man.” for KING & COUNTRY remains the most-awarded artist in K-LOVE Fan Awards history, garnering a total of 16 Fan Award honors over the past 10 years.
Lauren Daigle — Female Artist of the Year (2019)
In 2019, Lauren Daigle was crowned Artist of the Year at the K-LOVE Fan Awards for the second time. But it was her win earlier that night for Female Artist of the Year that stood out as one of the most noteworthy instances of the evening. During her acceptance speech, an emotional Daigle honored her 86-year-old grandfather, plagued with arthritis, who drove nine hours just to be in the audience. In addition, she paid tribute to both of her grandmothers, who were also in attendance and had traveled from her home state of Louisiana to celebrate their granddaughter. “The Lord gives a promise, ‘Honor your family, honor your parents, and it will be a long life that you get to live,’” the eight-time K-LOVE Fan Award winner paraphrased. “It’s moments like these that make it so rich and so beautiful.”
Chris Tomlin — Male Artist of the Year (2013)
Chris Tomlin took home the first-ever K-LOVE Fan Award for Male Artist of the Year in 2013. He won the category again in 2014 and 2015 before Danny Gokey broke his three-year streak. Tomlin secured his fourth career win in 2016 when fans voted “Good, Good Father” Song of the Year. The “Always” singer is no stranger to awards. Throughout his 25-year tenure he’s been honored with a GRAMMY®, three Billboard Music Awards and 28 GMA Dove Awards, among many other accolades. In addition, he’s graced the K-LOVE Fan Awards stage numerous times to perform his well-known worship anthems sung around the world.
Danny Gokey — Male Artist of the Year (2016)
An obviously surprised Danny Gokey took the stage to accept the K-LOVE Fan Award for Male Artist of the Year for the first time in 2016. From the platform, he remarked that he wasn’t accustomed to winning awards and joked that he might need a little help from perennial favorite for KING & COUNTRY, who presented the honor that evening alongside Casting Crowns’ Mark Hall. That same year, fans voted Gokey’s emotive ballad, “Tell Your Heart To Beat Again,” Breakout Single of the Year. Moreover, the four-time K-LOVE Fan Award winner earned Male Artist of the Year accolades again in 2017 and 2019.
TobyMac — Male Artist of the Year (2018)
TobyMac took home the coveted Artist of the Year award in 2013. The following year, he nabbed the trophy for Best Live Show. Yet, despite multiple nominations the next three years, the “Cornerstone” singer walked away empty-handed. That’s why he was stunned to be voted Male Artist of the Year at the 2018 K-LOVE Fan Awards. “I don’t like the word ‘fans,’” he declared when he took the podium holding his large golden ‘K.’ “You’re my brothers and sisters. We are family up in here.” The respected entertainer went on to thank his wife, Amanda, and read some Scripture before adding, “I walk in studios and I walk on stages, and I beg God to do something that’s impactful. I beg God to turn eyes to Him through this thing called music. And He consistently loves me so well and so recklessly that He continues to do it… I am a grateful man for His love.”
“I Can Only Imagine” — Film/TV Impact (2018)
To absolutely no one’s surprise, runaway theatrical hit “I Can Only Imagine” garnered the 2018 K-LOVE Fan Award for Film/TV Impact. The acclaimed movie was inspired by the life of MercyMe’s lead singer, Bart Millard, and was the first in a line of successful biopics created by The Erwin Brothers. After Natalie Grant announced the name of the winner, a star-studded group that included MercyMe, Jon and Andy Erwin, actress Madeline Carroll and actors Trace Adkins and Dennis Quaid swarmed the stage. “Hollywood, they don’t know what hit ‘em,” Quaid contended with a mischievous grin after he took the mic. “Faith films have finally come into their own. It just proves that there’s a huge underserved audience out there who loves inspirational stories and stories that matter, that fit their values in this life. And they’re here to stay.”
Michael W. Smith — Book Impact (2022)
Michael W. Smith is one of the only Christian music trailblazers to possess a pair of K-LOVE Fan Awards. His win for Book Impact in 2022 was especially meaningful given that the award represented a book honoring his late father. The decorated artist revealed the lessons his dad taught him throughout his life in “The Way of the Father,” the debut title for K-LOVE Books. “My dad was my hero. I’ve never met anybody who was kind like my dad,” he shared from stage. “He was extraordinary on every level.” Previously, Smith also earned a Fan Award for Worship Song of the Year for his popular version of global phenomenon “Waymaker.”
CAIN — Breakout Single of the Year (2021)
No one was more shocked than CAIN to hear their name called when they won Breakout Single of the Year for “Rise Up (Lazarus)” in 2021. The siblings’ disbelief was evident as they ascended the stage to accept their first K-LOVE Fan Award. “A couple years ago, we almost quit,” the group’s Madison Cain Johnson confessed, “and so, I just want to reiterate that when you give things to God, He makes something great.” Her sister, Taylor Cain Matz, added, “We think Steven Curtis Chapman said it best. He said, ‘The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams.’ This is the great adventure!” The trio will return to the K-LOVE Fan Awards stage in 2023 to host the 10th anniversary celebration.
Matthew West — Male Artist of the Year (2022)
After hosting the K-LOVE Fan Awards seven times and quietly winning a trophy in 2016 in the short-lived category for Best Lyric (“Grace Wins”), Matthew West finally got his due when fans unanimously chose him as their Male Artist of the Year at the 2022 K-LOVE Fan Awards. Visibly choked up, the “Me On Your Mind” singer received a standing ovation as he recounted the first time he ever heard one of his songs on K-LOVE. Bleary-eyed, he was driving a van and trailing the Newsboys’ bus while on tour when his debut single, “More,” came blowing through the speakers right as the sun was coming up over the horizon. He admits his first call was to his mom, who looked on proudly from the front row alongside West’s dad, wife and two daughters.
Casting Crowns — Artist of the Year (2014)
After being named the first ever Group/Duo of the Year in 2013, Casting Crowns won Artist of the Year at the 2014 K-LOVE Fan Awards. Accepting the honor on behalf of the group, frontman Mark Hall encouraged everyone in the audience with this observation: “We’re all artists, and God’s built you on purpose. Your passions, your talents, your gifts — everything we do, in word or deed, we do it all for the glory of the Lord. So it’s not just singers on a stage and preachers, it’s everybody. Maybe you’re making your art in a classroom, or maybe you’re making your art in a hospital somewhere. But whatever you do, know that God placed you there on purpose to know Him and to make Him known, to dig deep and to reach out. So get out there and point people to Jesus.”
To learn how you can attend this year’s K-LOVE Fan Awards, taking place May 28, 2023, at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House, visit klovefanawards.com.