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Marvin Sapp Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Marvin Sapp lyrics)
Marvin Sapp Biography
It's not exactly a split personality-it's just two sides of the same guy. Both sides are passionate, powerful, and committed to sharing the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ with all who hear. Both sides need to be heard, experienced. Because when you listen to Marvin Sapp-the artist emerging as one of the most versatile, dynamic voices in gospel music-you'll also see the unmistakable evidence of Marvin Sapp the fiery, compassionate, Spirit-filled preacher, who continues to serve faithfully as associate and youth pastor of Bethel Pentecostal Church in Grand Rapids, MI.
And although he has achieved great success as both a solo artist and respected pastor, for Marvin Sapp, the man of priorities, there is no question about which comes first. "I am not a singer who happens to preach," he says. "I am a preacher-called of God-who happens to sing."
That's why when Marvin sings, he sings with the same power and conviction that mark his preaching. After spending six years with the multi-award winning group Commissioned and Fred Hammond, Marvin has since established himself as a contemporary gospel mainstay in his own right. His self-titled solo debut and his follow up, Grace and Mercy, received overwhelming critical acclaim. And in 1998, Marvin Sapp toured with the largest and most extensive gospel tour ever, "Walt Baby Love's Power '98" Tour. Featuring Hezekiah Walker and Love Fellowship, Fred Hammond and Radical for Christ, Dottie Peoples and others, the tour drew over a half million people in 70 cities.
Now on the heels of two successful live albums, Marvin Sapp releases Nothing Else Matters for Myrrh's Black Music Division. Moving beyond his previous solo efforts, Marvin went into the studio this time hoping to build "a little more of an edge musically, something with more of an urban pop appeal," he says. "But no matter how you hear it, it's still music for the church."
And he didn't go into the studio alone. He took some of the most innovative, well-respected producers in the business with him. Cedric Caldwell (CeCe Winans, Whitney Houston), Percy Bady (Yolanda Adams, Milton Brunson), James Moss (Karen Clarke Sheard, Greg O'Quinn), Stanley Brown (Karen Clarke Sheard, Kelly Price) and Fred Hammond (Dawkins & Dawkins) all contributed their production expertise to achieve a sound and energy that is destined to find its way into the hearts and lives of everyone who hears Nothing Else Matters. "Working with so many talented people as we did was a tremendous blessing, and it really inspired me to work harder on this project than ever before," Marvin says.
Lyrically, Nothing Else Matters delivers the message that staying focused on Jesus and the relationship we have with Him must be the greatest priority in life. With themes of thanksgiving, God's faithfulness, and His deliverance, the album encourages and strengthens Christians who are struggling by highlighting the power and grace of God for all of life.
"For with every test, there's a time and a season. And with every trial, there's a purpose and a reason." From the song "Give Thanks"
"'Give Thanks' deals with how we as believers need to learn to bless God no matter what state we're in. We haven't learned to do that," Sapp says fervently. "We thank God in the good times, but if we were to lose everything, would we thank Him in that situation too? Every test we go through eventually comes to an end, and if we can look for the purpose in it while we're in the midst of it, we can thank God for it all."
The album's third track, "Power," is a declaration of God at work in our lives, how He can revolutionize our entire existence. "Sometimes you really do feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, just saying 'I quit,'" Sapp says. "We sometimes ask ourselves if all the stuff we go through is really worth it. However, God shows us that He is not going to allow us to give up anything that He will not give back to us twofold. He loves us in spite of ourselves, and even when we make mistakes, He sees us for what He wants us to be, what He has prepared for us."
"What About the Children," which has a distinctive Marvin Gaye vibe of its own, is a slight thematic departure from the rest of the album. "God has really shown me that family has to come first," Sapp says. "For our kids' sakes, we've got to come out of our churches and do more than just pray on Sundays. We've got to get out and make a difference in our communities." This song, he says, addresses our need to get our priorities in line before it's too late to reach the children in our society.
It is this conviction that has led Marvin to invest in a variety of community building and youth oriented service projects that reach back into his own home community in central Michigan. Over the last five years, he has developed several scholarships and internships assisting local students who exemplify academic and Christian excellence, as well as programs to provide benefit concerts and school supplies for those living in the economically deprived areas of his home state, all financed from his own pockets.
Without denying the struggles and serious issues Christians face, Nothing Else Matters is a glorious celebration of what God has done and what He will continue to do. Like Marvin Sapp himself, these songs speak to the fact that life can be rich and full of joy if we establish the Priority-Jesus Christ-at the center, and keep our eyes on Him.
"The whole focus of Nothing Else Matters is forwarding people back to Christ, getting them to understand that there should be no other focus except Jesus Christ," he says. "He is the solution to whatever problem you are going through. He is the source. He is the author and the finisher. He'll bring us through and teach us what He wants us to learn from it all. Jesus is His name, and nothing else matters."