The Grizzly Awards Launches Public Voting for Inaugural Year

The Grizzly Awards launches public voting for its inaugural year on February 14, 2020 at noon. Fans are invited to cast their votes at

The Grizzly Awards is a new kind of awards experience a year in the making, centered on honoring those who have largely been left out of other awards cycles: the creators of faith-based rock and metal. The nominee list features over thirty artists who released new material in 2019, carefully chosen by a panel of ten industry experts. The result is seventeen final categories, covering everything from Album of the Year in multiple subgenres to the supporting work of music videos and album art design.

Public voting will run until February 28, after which fan votes will be weighted against those of the industry panel to determine final winners. Winner announcements and an opportunity to honor all of the nominees will be livestreamed later this spring. You can see a full list of nominees in this special Grizzly Awards YouTube playlist.

The Grizzly Awards has been an entirely grassroots effort, and as a result, they’re welcoming donations (at and taking sponsorship inquiries (email The Grizzlies have been generating consistently building social media buzz since the idea was born in early 2019, gaining well over a thousand followers on Facebook alone before the Awards had even officially launched.

The Grizzly Awards was founded by Justin Forshaw (As We Ascend, We As Human), Mary Nikkel (Rock On Purpose, Cindy Blankenship (band support expert), and Joel Burris (ATD Media). “The people in this industry have touched my heart and blessed my soul in ways they will never know. They sacrifice family time, personal comfort, and financial security to bring a faith message to a dying and hurting world,” Cindy Blankenship shares. “I was disheartened to find out that the industry and the church were not always supportive. I have seen so many lives changed through their music and interactions with fans. If I can give them encouragement, love, and provide for their needs in any way, I want to do it. A chance to be a part of The Grizzly Awards is humbling and an honor and fits right in with my heart’s mission.”

It’s a sentiment Joel Burris echoes: “At the most uncertain times of my life, the music that got me through was always the exact people and talent we’re honoring through The Grizzly Awards. I dreamed of being a musician, but my true calling was film production and media. From a simple shot in the dark that got me my first gig with Disciple, to the here and now, this industry has stood beside me. The people and their hearts are what we’re honoring, not just their music. I’m humbled to help flip the switch on the spotlight that these tattooed and road weary people deserve to be under.”

“Time and again, I’ve seen the person of Jesus Christ embodied by this Christian rock community like nowhere else,” Mary Nikkel adds. “The Grizzly Awards is a way to give back, to remind these artists that they’re not forgotten, and to celebrate the life-change that is happening all over the world because of their dedication.”

To learn more about The Grizzly Awards, visit You can also keep up with further plans for the winner’s event by following them on Facebook and Instagram.

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