April 20, 2000

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Longtime Dove Awards favorite Steven Curtis Chapman dominated again on Thursday, winning six awards for Christian music including the top honor of best artist.

Chapman, 37, has won 44 Dove Awards, more than any other performer. He has won for best artist five previous times.

He brought his wife and three children on stage to share the best artist award, and introduced a new fourth child - 7-month-old daughter Shaohannah Hope, whom he recently adopted in China.

``We want to dedicate this tonight to the little boys and girls around the world who don't have a mom and dad to teach them how to live the life they've been given,'' Chapman said. ``We wanted to come out tonight and celebrate Shaohannah, and celebrate adoption.''

Chapman also won best male vocalist, best pop-contemporary album for ``Speechless'' and best pop-contemporary single for ``Dive.'' He won two awards apiece in the single and album categories, because he produced as well as performed on them.

Last year's best artist Michael W. Smith won best song for ``This is Your Time,'' a song inspired by the Columbine High School shootings. He performed it during the awards show, which took place exactly a year after the tragedy in Littleton, Colo.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner presented the best song award to Smith along with Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher.

``I think I'll let you handle this trophy. I got the last one,'' Warner said to Fisher, referring to the Rams victory over the Titans in this year's Super Bowl.

In other major categories, Sixpench None the Richer was named best group, Jaci Velasquez won her second straight best female vocalist award, and Ginny Owens won best new artist.

``What a strange thing it is to be rewarded for a gift that only God could have given,'' Owens said.

Country star Glen Campbell was awarded best country album for ``A Glen Campbell Christmas.'' George Jones won a Dove for best country recorded song for ``Angel Band,'' his duet with Vestal Goodman.

Kathie Lee Gifford, the awards show's hostess, performed a duet with Dolly Parton, ``Only My Pillow Knows,'' and said she hoped the show would ``remind people of the incredible diversity that make up gospel music in the year 2000.

``The message hasn't changed, but the music certainly has,'' she said.

Awards were passed out in 43 categories at the Grand Ole Opry House, seven during the television show scheduled to air in more than 100 markets over the next week. Dove Award winners are nominated and selected by 5,500 members of the Gospel Music Association, which was founded in 1964 to promote Christian music.

Copyright 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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