With a resume full of career milestones (see: Stellar & Dove Award wins, Grammy nominations, having the longest running #1 single in history), you'd think there would be few “firsts” left for gospel superstar Marvin Sapp.
But, as his first holiday-themed album 'Christmas Card' (in stores now) reveals, even the most seasoned of stars still have room for new achievements.
That Grape Juice recently caught up with the “Never Would've Made It” singer to chat specifically about the new album (which features the likes of former group Commissioned, R&B singer Joe, and more), his new reality show, thoughts on the controversial 'Preachers of LA', and so much more. As always, you don't want to miss this:
TGJ: Marvin! We're loving your new album 'Christmas Card'. Why did you think now was the best time to do holiday-themed music?
Marvin: I've never done a Christmas record before. I didn't want it to be a “normal type of Christmas” album. I wanted something a bit more edgy or a total departure from what I normally do. It's a little more Urban in structure and I believe this is an album that's going to be used during Christmas seasons from now to eternity hopefully (laughs).
TGJ: If you had to pick a standout track or favorite, which would it be and why?
Marvin: 'Home For Christmas' with Joe. Also, there's 'Joseph's Song' – a more Urban, updated look at Joseph's conversation with God and the angels. One of my favorite songs on the album is called “Dance”. We've never had a Christmas “stepper's song”. I think that's going to have real traction with those who like to step.
TGJ: We see the album features the long-awaited reunion of the legendary gospel group Commissioned. Whose idea was that?
Marvin: It was absolutely my idea. I'm going to take all the credit for that (laughs). I appreciated being able to pick up the phone and call the brothers for the purpose of coming together to record all new, original music. This is the first time we've recorded original music as a group since 1994.
TGJ: Well, I know fans are dying to know if we can expect any other new Commissioned music in the near future.
Marvin: I don't know if we can expect any more, but I just know on this Christmas record it was something that was epic for us to do. That's a question you'd have to ask the other brothers.
I'm game though (laughs).
TGJ: Well, as we look forward to that, now we're curious to know if you are hard at work on the follow-up to your latest album 'I Win'?
Marvin: After we finish this Christmas project, I want to take a 60 day reprieve before trying to pull music together for the next record. People are already asking how it's going to sound and I'm telling them if you liked [my other albums] “Thirsty” and“I Win”, then you'll like the next one. I think I found the formula.
TGJ: Given the major success that was 'Never Would've Made It', do you ever feel pressure to match or surpass that success?
Marvin: No, because it was a song for tje moment. I think because all of us have gone through situations like that, that's why so many people have related. I've been successful with other songs, so I'm not trying to eclipse it. I don't know if I could. It was the longest running #1 song in the history of music. Nobody's ever done that – Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, nobody. It would be a milestone that would be very difficult to go past.
TGJ: Now, as with many interviews, we have a segment called “Five From Fans” where we received five questions from our readers for you.
Marvin: Let's see what my fans have to say (laughs).
TGJ: 1) If you weren't a singer, what would you be doing?
Marvin: I would be a teacher – a grade school teacher. I'm the president and founder of the first performing arts and technology charter school in all of West Michigan called Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of the Arts (G.R.E.A.T.).
TGJ: 2) We've been hearing for years that you were pursuing the reality show route. What happened?
Marvin: The only reason my reality show hasn't been picked up is because I refuse to publicly date. If they want to pick up a show about a single man serious about raising his children and impacting his community, it will be picked up. If they want a show about a preacher who's dating, I will not go with that.
TGJ: 3) This one's from us. Considering those are your thoughts, how do you feel about Oxygen's runaway hit series 'Preachers of LA' or just gospel reality shows in general that show things like preachers dating, etc?
Marvin: I'm a strong believer in discretion. There are certain things that people of and in the church can't handle seeing. I'll leave it at that.
TGJ: 4) What is the biggest misconception about you?
Marvin: That I'm extremely arrogant. The truth of the matter, it's kind of hard to be arrogant living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I'm a small town guy.
TGJ: 5) Finally, if you had to pick one person dead or alive to do a duet with, who and why?
Marvin: Honestly, it would be my wife. She couldn't sing, but I just miss her.
Interview by: Quinno Rashad (That Grape Juice US)