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August 31, 2014, 4:19 am

Gospel singer Sapp returns to airwaves

Gospel singer Marvin Sapp has secured his place in music history.

His breakout chart topper, “Never Would Have Made It,” holds the record for the longest running No. 1 single on the radio and in the history of the Billboard charts — lasting more than 43 weeks at the top.

Sapp’s current CD, “I Win,” is the number one Gospel CD and the ninth-ranked album overall in America, according to Billboard charts.

His current single, “My Testimony,” is on the radio airwaves in heavy rotation on R&B and Gospel radio stations.

“Thank you, Jesus,” Sapp said. “I’m just appreciative that people have gravitated to my music.”

His CD “I Win” was highly anticipated. It’s his first project release since wife, MaLinda, succumbed to cancer in 2010. America, and fans worldwide, grieved the death of MaLinda. Prior to her death, the Sapps were happily married for 18 years.

Commenting about his grieving process, Sapp shared, “I’m a strong believer that the best way to honor the life of somebody that you love is to live.”

Sapp admitted that many people criticized him for not taking more time off to mourn. “Everybody has a process of mourning that they go through,” he shared, but staying busy immersed in his music and ministry was a process that worked best for him. “I challenge (grieving) people to live.”

Sapp is no stranger to the Philadelphia region.

Minister Bill Davis of Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills can recall when Sapp used to perform annually at a church in Maryland. Davis is very impressed with how Sapp’s music is resonating with youth.

Local TV news reporter Dray Clark of CBS 3 is also a personal friend of Sapp.

“Marvin and I have been friends since 2004 when we first met in Grand Rapids, Mich., where I used to work and where he lives now,” Clark said. “His music, quite frankly, is a reflection of his musical gift vocally, but more importantly, it's a reflection of God's hold on his life.”

Sapp has had a tremendously powerful impact on gospel music that transcends gospel's typical audience to music lovers all over the world, according to Kanita Davis, vocalist with the Stellar Award-winning Gospel group, Lonnie Hunter & Structure.

“Song after song, he has delivered the message that, ‘I, too, can overcome and be victorious no matter what I've gone through.’”

Native Philadelphian, Jillian Pirtle, the reigning Miss Pennsylvania Essence 2012, believes Sapp’s music resonates deeply because it’s anointed by God.

“It is the message and encouragement in Minister Sapp’s music that means more to me than anything else,” she said. “I appreciate and encourage him to continue to touch the masses with his music and his (Godly) message.”

Brian Carter, weekend radio personality at WBLS/107.5FM in New York, gave Sapp a huge compliment by comparing him to one of the greatest Gospel artists of all time, “(Marvin Sapp) is one of the new-school of gospel artists to come up in the last few years. He has certainly given us instant classics with ‘He Saw the Best in Me’ and ‘Never Would’ve Made It’ — he is this era’s James Cleveland.”

Waverly Alston, a Gospel music composer/choir director/sacred jazz artist and Philly resident is also a fan.
“I sense his sincerity in his delivery and the lyrics that he chooses to sing are Biblically based,” he said. “I recently listened to the title track of the ‘Never Would Have Made It’ album ‘Thirsty’ — what a wonderful album.”

And local radio celebrity Patty Jackson of WDAS summed the singer up by offering words about Sapp’s music ministry.

“He has great music that touches your soul!”

Sapp’s music transcends musical genres; his music has such wide appeal because of its heart-felt lyrics. His breakout hit, “Never Would Have Made It” was a song he wrote as an ode and eulogy for his father’s funeral.

“It was birthed out of my pain,” he said.

The song made Sapp a superstar within the music industry and with millions of adoring fans worldwide.

Being a widower, a father, a music mogul, an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a full time senior pastor and founder of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church, in Grand Rapids, Mich., would be a daunting task for many men, but Sapp appears to remain focused.

“If you prioritize stuff, you won’t break it, you won’t drop it,” he said. “I make sure that I keep things in their proper place. I’m a father first, I’m a pastor, I’m a recording artist, I’m an entrepreneur, I do a whole lot of stuff, that’s how I keep things going.”