When Fred Hammond first came into gospel music fame through the super group Commissioned in 1985, the contemporary Christian music industry was still a decade or more away from its transition into a genre majorly defined by the commercial clout of modern worship music. Yet throughout his GRAMMY-applauded recording career, the versatile singer-songwriter, producer and arranger always kept the live experience of music on his mind—and the worship experience of gospel music in his heart.
Having been personally impacted by the worship music recordings of artists like Michael W. Smith in the past, and being prompted by his label for a fresh Hammond-live recording in the present, the legendary gospel music man decided it was high-time to combine his affinity for excellence onstage with the humility perpetuated by music promoted specifically for moments of spiritual worship—personally and corporately. The result? Worship Journal Live (RCA Inspiration—buy).
Straight from the mouth of the man who is behind it all, join in on this exclusive CCM Magazine conversation with Mr. Fred Hammond.
CCM Magazine: During your multi-faceted thirty-year recording career, you have been applauded as much for your behind-the-scenes skills as for your performance onstage. How has your role as a producer influenced your role as a performer?
Fred Hammond: I love being a producer. Back in the Commissioned days we never had to struggle to fight to produce our own albums. Our first album came from a demo that the record company liked so much they let us produce it. So that’s been a gift from God—to help me understand the inner workings [of making an album]. I truly love it.
It does help you as an artist because you now know how to layer your foundation. Like a person building a house, it would be better for the architect or the builder to lay something like the sprinkler system because the builder knows where all of the pipes and gas lines are laid. Otherwise, you bring a secondary person out and they have to call the particular companies to flag the land and say, “Don’t drill here. Don’t dig there.” But as a producer, I know where to dig and I love it!
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