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Marvin Sapp is a Gospel music legend. But not until he released 2007’s bona-fide blockbuster,
Thirsty, did the preacher-singer understand the power—and popularity—of marrying traditional
Gospel tones with hip R&B licks. Using similar elements to catapult his latest record, Here I Am
(Verity) to the #2 spot on the Billboard Top 200—unprecedented in Gospel music history—the
2010 BET Award winner and senior pastor of Grand Rapid’s Full Life Center Church talks about
staying focused on the message even amidst a ministry turned celebrity.
CCM: you entered the music scene as a part of the legendary gospel group, Commissioned, which
included other now-legends like Fred Hammond. How did your tenure with the group influence
your solo career?
Marvin: Commissioned matured me. I learned some valuable faith lessons. Even though we were
well known and ministered around the world, we weren’t making a lot of money. So I learned how
to be a good steward over a little and God taught me that the most important thing was to stay
focused on ministry. That is why I’m so ministry focused now.
CCM: a recent online bio said, “Marvin sapp is not a singer that happens to preach but a preacher
called by god who is gifted to sing.” how do you keep the pastorate a priority with the demands
of a high-profile music career?
Marvin: I prioritize what’s most important. My main priority is my family, number two is my church
and number three is my music career. That’s why we have a thriving church. I believe that if I take
care of God’s people God will take care of me—and He has.
CCM: if you had to choose singing or preaching, which would it be?
Marvin: Preaching. While music inspires and uplifts, I love the science and art of preaching. It’s
through preaching that men and women are drawn to Christ. Music allows me to deposit a seed
but pastoring allows me to deposit it, cultivate it and watch it grow.
CCM: with the mainstream exposure granted your ministry over the past three years, what
message do you hope to express to the masses?
Marvin: When the secular world wants to hear Gospel, that’s what they want to hear. I’m going to
keep it Jesus and not change my musical style. I just want to lift up the name of Jesus because the
Bible says if you lift Him up you will draw all men unto Him.
— Andrew Greer
The act: Trip Lee
The site: www.myspace.com/triplee116
The sound: Rap/Hip-Hop
The Buzz: Check out the official video
for Trip Lee’s new single, “The Invasion
Hero” feat. Jai, plus a cameo by Jimmy
needham, from his recent #1 record
Between Two Worlds here.
The act: Phil Tarver
The site: www.myspace.com/tarverofficial
The sound: Choir-backed Gospel
The Buzz: Gold-selling Shekinah Glory’s
worship leader recently released his
latest CD, Place of Worship, recorded
“live” before 3,000 worshippers.
The act: Myron Butler
The site: www.myspace.com/
The sound: Contemporary Gospel
The Buzz: Best-selling choir leader
and Grammy Award-winning producer
for hit Gospel acts like Smokie norful
and Tamela Mann recently produced
newcomer, Tonya Baker’s, first live
recording before a packed audience in
Ohio. Release date: TBD.