Award winning gospel singer Fred Hammond‘s career has seen few rivals. Indeed, be it rocking charts with legendary gospel group Commissioned, choir Radical for Christ, or even by his lonesome, the hitmaker has watched the likes of hits ‘Glory To Glory’, ‘No Weapon’, ‘Jesus Be a Fence’, and many more skyrocket to the top of many-a-gospel tally.
Now penning a new chapter in his already storied career, the Grammy winner has called on fellow prized crooners Brian Courtney Wilson, Dave Hollister, and Eric Roberson to fill out a new collective christened ‘United Tenors’.
Recently seeing their first effort debut at #1 on the gospel charts, Hammond talks exclusively to That Grape Juice to dish on how the project came to be, exciting forthcoming ventures, and more.
Gospel Singer Fred Hammond Shouts Out That Grape Juice
That Grape Juice: Brother Hammond! Thanks so much for joining us this morning!
Fred Hammond: Man, it’s no problem at all!
That Grape Juice: Great, so let’s hop right into it! We saw ‘Here In Our Praise’ go straight to the top of gospel charts upon its debut. How does it feel after all this time to still get that kind of reception?
Fred Hammond: It’s a blessing. I’ve always tried to stay appreciative, but there comes a time when we kind of become complacent.
To be honest with you, I think that period came for me in the late 90s. But, after going through a divorce and things like that, I went back to appreciating every album and moment that I did something with hopes that people would like it.
That Grape Juice: I definitely see how that could be a humbling experience.
Fred Hammond: Yes! Every album, every moment I get to perform again, every tweet people send me, I enjoy it. We never know when we’ll be able to make another moment. There’s just so much going on these days, so I use every moment to be grateful about all the opportunities presented to me. No longer, do I think its “automatic”.
That Grape Juice: Awesome! So tell us, whose idea was it to bring the group United Tenors together?
Fred Hammond: Believe it or not, this was supposed to be a few years ago. I heard God say to me, “Put the male sound back together.” The same thing I heard when I left Commissioned. He said, “Put a choir together.” And, that’s something because I’m not a choir guy and didn’t even like choirs (laughs).
That Grape Juice: Really? We would’ve never guessed (laughs)!
Fred Hammond: Right! So, naturally [when forming the group] the first place I went was to Commissioned. I humbled myself and approached them. A couple of the guys were thankful for the opportunity, but one was difficult. After fooling with that for a year, I just left it alone.
I’m not trying to throw anybody under the bus, I’m just trying to be real.
Fred Hammond (continued): So, when I started searching again, I reached out to Kenny Lattimore and Carl Thomas – you know guys I knew who could really sing. I definitely wanted Anthony Hamilton, but I knew he was too busy.
Dave Hollister was the first person I reached out to overall and before I could even finish presenting him the vision, he said “yes”. Then, we reached out to Eric Roberson. He had a great story of how he fell in love with gospel after listening to Commissioned. Then, with Courtney Wilson, even though I was only looking to make it a three man group, I knew he was a good person.
That Grape Juice: Wow! And, now here we are to the critically acclaimed ‘Here In Our Praise’. What would you say are the album’s standout tracks?
Fred Hammond: Right now everybody is everybody feeling ‘I’m In the Midst’; that’s a very special song. It’s a nice ballad, but I don’t think that’s what makes it a good song. It just reminds people as we go through a tough time we need to be reminded that God is in the midst of it all. I mean hey, look at Boston right now. People need to understand that as they go through their problems that they need to keep the faith.
‘Everybody Get Up’ is a firestarter as well. People are really gravitating to it. ‘I’m Reminded’ is one of my favorite songs though and, of course, the album’s first single ‘Here In Our Praise’.
That Grape Juice: What can we expect to be the next single?
Fred Hammond: I don’t know man (laughs). ‘Everybody Get Up’ is something the Urban radios can get behind. Here’s the thing: I don’t want this to be a “two single” album. This could be a one-go-round deal because we’re not signed to one label. But, I know we’re going to be here for a minute. So, we’ve got to really work this album.
I’ve been hearing Urban AC (adult contemporary) is asking for more faith based music. Look at Tamela Mann‘s ‘Take Me To The King’ and how it’s getting play there.. So hopefully ‘Everybody Get Up’ will help with mainstream recognition.
That Grape Juice: Well, we will keep our eyes and ears open for that. So, wrapping up here, what’s next for you guys? Should we expect a tour?
Fred Hammond: Yes, man! We have a lot coming up. We’re talking to different promoters to do a tour and working on dates. Everybody can look forward to that in the next few months.
That Grape Juice: Awesome! Again, Fred, thanks so much for the time!
Fred Hammond: Thanks for having me.
Interview by: Quinno Rashad (That Grape Juice US)