For the past twenty years Fred Hammond has contemporized Gospel music with his R&B-infused tracks. But for his latest record, the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter puts his multi-platinum solo career on pause to introduce a slew of new singers and writers on a scripture-centered project. In a quaint Q&A, Hammond explains the inspiration behind the songs and narrations of Life in the Word (Fred Hammond Family Ent.) and gives upcoming Gospel musicians a few priority pointers. with a popular solo career in full swing, what inspired you to deviate from a Fred Hammond- specific album and introduce new talent on life in the Word? Fred: I have a plethora of songs sitting in a vault. So I had this idea to give new artists an opportunity to sing these songs, let them co-write with me and teach them how to produce. I’ve always been the kind to mentor people—to reinvent myself through them and show them how to become what I have become. what is your purpose for marrying scripture with song? Fred: It’s an opportunity to allow people to be in touch with the Word of God. You can go through your day dealing with the stresses of everyday life… you play this CD and the next thing you know you hear a scripture that encourages you. Do you feel modern day worship music lacks scriptural pedigree? Fred: I really don’t. The God we serve is not limited to the pages in the Bible. God is still speaking today. People are writing from their daily experiences. As long as it is about a relationship with God, as long as it’s pointing people to God and invoking his presence; you’re doing the scripture. I don’t believe praise and worship should only be about reciting scripture. You’ve played an integral role in Gospel music since the 80’s. Considering the heart behind life in the word, what advice do you have for today’s Gospel music generation? Fred: Be proud of who you are and of your heritage in Gospel. Be skillful at what you do. If you really want to be used by God in [music] become more of a servant than a performer. I know how to perform, to entertain and be charismatic now, but my goal is to tell people that Jesus loves them and He died for their sins. I just sing it better than I say it. — Andrew Greer Fred Hammond urban highlights the act: Israel Houghton the site: the sound: Urban/R&B Gospel the buzz: The popular worship leader and collaborator recently made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, sitting in with the talk show’s bandleader, Ricky Minor, and his crew on air. the act: Coffey Anderson the site: the sound: Pop/R&B/Worship The Buzz: The YouTube anomaly and Texas-born singer/songwriter makes his major label debut on L.A.’s Dream Records, proceeds benefiting the label’s non-profit Dream Center. the act: Marvin Sapp the site: the sound: Urban Praise and Worship the buzz: The wildly popular recording artist and pastor recently celebrated topping both the Gospel Album and Gospel Radio charts for over 20 consecutive weeks with his latest CD, Here I Am and single, “Best in Me,” respectively. CCM 49