Recruited for the legendary gospel group Commissioned while still a relative unknown, Marvin Sapp recorded with the group until its dissolution in 1995, and then began his own solo career with a self-titled album the following year. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan (where he has based his JOY Ministries outreach), Sapp debuted with Commissioned in the early '90s after Keith Staten left for solo work. He recorded the Commissioned albums Number 7 and Matters of the Heart with members Fred Hammond, Mitchell Jones, Mike Williams, and Karl Reid; after Hammond and Williams left as well, Sapp recorded the group's final album, 1996's Irreplaceable Love. By that time, Sapp had signed a solo contract too, and March 1996 saw the release of his self-titled debut on Word Records. The album reunited him with former Commissioned mate Fred Hammond (who produced the LP) and featured the gospel hits "Calling Me" and "In His Presence." Sapp's sophomore effort, Grace & Mercy, appeared in May 1997, followed two years later by Nothing Else Matters. After a short absence from the music scene, he reappeared under contract at Versity Records and released the song "I Believe" on the WOW Gospel 2002 album, followed by the album I Believe later in 2002. Diary of a Psalmist appeared in 2003, Be Exalted in 2005, and Thirsty in 2007. Here I Am, which debuted higher in the Billboard charts than any gospel album in 50 years, arrived in 2010, and was followed by I Win 2012, which hit number one on the Billboard Top Gospel Chart. 2015 saw the release of Sapp's tenth studio long-player, the chart-topping You Shall Live. In 2017, Sapp teamed up with R&B singer R. Kelly on the single "Listen," with the song later appearing on his 11th album, Close, in September of that year. ~ John Bush
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