Marvin Sapp…I Win
By Lin. Woods
Marvin Sapp is a Platinum selling veteran recording artist, songwriter and producer who brought soul saving music and cross-over hits “Never Would Have Made It,” “Best In Me” and his current chart topping hit, “My Testimony” from the CD, I Win (Verity).
Marvin is a deep brother who understands both the ministry and serious business sides of Gospel and the church. As he raises his three children after the loss of his beloved wife and childhood sweetheart, Dr. MaLinda Prince Sapp.
Marvin started singing when he was four years old. For a while he sang both Gospel and R&B until his mother told him he had to make a choice. He remembers, “I was traveling, and by the age of ten my mother made me make a decision whether I was going to sing secular music or Gospel, because I couldn’t do both.”
Fortunately for the world’s inspiration, Marvin chose Gospel. However, it never dawned on him that it could be a career until he was in his late teens. Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan he’d witnessed the ministry of the Winans, The Clark Sisters and Vanessa Bell Armstrong from neighboring Detroit. He knew about Fred Hammond’s group Commissioned because its members were a part of the same church denomination that he belonged to.
In 1989, when Marvin was 22 years old and fresh out of college, Fred Hammond asked him if he’d like to become a part of Commissioned. That was an easy “yes,” and Marvin was put on the path to Gospel stardom as a member of one of the most popular, trendsetting Urban Gospel groups of the day.
What Marvin valued more than the group’s incredible music ministry was the integrity of the members as men trying to do the right thing for God and their families. He says, “They were husbands and fathers and they taught me how to be a real man and to make sound business decisions.”
By the time Marvin decided to go solo in the mid to late 1990s, he was a well seasoned artist and an astute, industry savvy, businessman. He says, “The Truth of the matter is, the music business is just that. It’s about building your brand. It’s about making sure that you’re prepared and ready for what you desire for your future.”
Using his business acumen, the Verity Recording artist as garnered early Gospel success with hits like “I Believe,” “Give Thanks,” “Not The Time, Not The Place,” “Lord Send Your Anointing,” “Nothing Else Matters” and “For The Rest Of My Life.”
However, it took the Senior Pastor of Light House Full Center Church close to 15 years to achieve cross-over success which came with his 2007 release, Thirsty. It featured the mega cross-over hit, “Never Would Have Made It” and introduced him to mainstream audiences who may have never heard of the Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter. All of a sudden, you could hear his inspiring, yet straight up Gospel songs with life affirming lyrics on Urban and Gospel radio. The Aaron Lindsey produced song struck a chord with people who were going through and just sick and tired of being sick and tired. The song stayed in the number one position on the Billboard Gospel radio chart for a record breaking made history by as the song that has stayed the longest in the number 1 spot on radio charts for 43 weeks. It charted on both the Gospel and Adult R&B radio airplay charts. It was also noted as the first Gospel song to sell a million digital downloads. He followed Thirsty up with his next top selling and cross-over charting CD, 2010’s Here I Am which included another mega-hit, “The Best In Me.” Here I Am helped Marvin to continue to break new ground in Gospel by coming in at the #2 position on the Billboard Top 200 chart, making it the highest debut by a Gospel artist on that chart.
Even with his current Gospel stardom and commercial mainstream success, Marvin vow’s he will never change his style. He says, “No, I’m good.” When asked why his music has impacted people to the degree it has, Marvin professes, “I think my songs “Never Would Have Made It” and “The Best In Me” have resonated with people because all of us have had never would have made it moments. And the messages in the songs I write are so relevant that people gravitate to them and easily connect.”
Marvin’s latest CD, I Win was born in the midst of his pain from losing his wife of 22 years to cancer. He says of the title song, “I Win is my favorite track. The song was written by a young lady named Brittney Wright. When I was in Baltimore about to preach at a conference, she stood up and sang the song. After she finished I was so filled up I couldn’t even preach. I told her that she had to let me record it. It spoke to me because it was literally my life. Because of what I was going through, that song saved my life and gave me hope again….the song reminds you that being a winner is first a mentality before it’s a destination.”
I Win’s current single is “My Testimony” and currently tops the Billboard Gospel singles chart.
With yet another hit album on the charts, what’s next for Dr. Marvin Sapp? Well, he’s got a reality TV show coming called “Single Dad” and this fall he will realize a joint dream of he and his late wife’s when their charter school, the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology, better known as G.R.E.A.T. opens its doors.
Link to sneak peek of Single Dad: http://youtu.be/dncnmxYIaDY