The Christian industry has some concern about artists "selling out" in that process. The Gospel Music Assn. last year disqualified releases by Sixpence and Michael W. Smith from contention for Dove awards because the songs were not blatantly Christian, even though the artists are.
" 'Kiss Me' [by Sixpence] was never meant to be a song for our marketplace," said Frank Breeden, president of the Gospel Music Assn. "It was a great song written for the mainstream. We did not want to appear disingenuous by honoring something that wasn't for our marketplace."
Micah's Ross and his wife, Carol, lead the God First Artists Fellowship, a group for Christian artists that meets the first Thursday of each month at the Church on the Way. At September's meeting, he sounded like a football coach at halftime, encouraging the handful of artists in attendance to stay true to their cause.
"Don't ever let your calling be dictated by the buck," he told them.
God First is one of the few formal methods in which Christian artists in the Valley have been able to link up. The founders of Jesus Jam, a hotline at (310) 289-5635 that updates callers on Christian performances throughout the Southland, also encourage networking.