Bishop Marvin Louis Sapp (born January 28, 1967) is an American Gospel music singer-songwriter who recorded with the group Commissioned during the 1990s before beginning a record-breaking solo career.
Marvin Sapp was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and began singing in church at age four. He spent his teenage years singing with a number of Gospel groups and ensembles
Marvin Sapp is also the founder and senior pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Marvin L. Sapp is a passionate orator and biblical teacher, who desire to be a living epistle glorifying our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ both in word and in deeds.
He serves as the senior pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church as well as Bishop over Global United Fellowship North Central Providence.
“Not a singer that happens to preach, but a Preacher called by God who is gifted to sing”
He was a student at the unaccredited Aenon Bible College in Indianapolis, Indiana. He dropped out of Aenon after being invited by Gospel singer Fred Hammond to sing with Commissioned in 1991 after Keith Staten left. Sapp appears on the group’s albums Number 7, Matters of the Heart, and Irreplaceable Love.
In 1996, God led him to go solo. He released his first CD “Marvin Sapp”, then Grace and Mercy”, then his CDs were as follows: “Nothing Else Matters”, “I Believe”, “Diary Of A Psalmist”, “Be Exalted”, “Thirsty”, “Here I Am”, “I Win” and in 2013 he released his Christmas Card CD that featured his three children.
In 1996, Sapp decided to establish himself as a contemporary gospel solo artist and has recorded seven albums.
Sapp first achieved crossover fame with the release of “Never Would Have Made It” from the album Thirsty in 2007. It peaked at No. 14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, No. 82 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and also at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart.
Thirsty debuted at No. 28 on the U.S. Billboard 200, No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and also No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Gospel Albums. It has been certified gold by the RIAA due to the album selling over 500,000 copies, making it Sapp’s bestselling album of his solo career, and has so far sold over 712,000 copies.
In 2009, Sapp won all seven Gospel Stellar Awards that he was nominated for.
Marvin Sapp recorded Thirsty‘s follow-up album, Here I Am, on October 16, 2009 at Resurrection Life Church in Wyoming, Michigan and released it on March 16, 2010. With its release, Sapp became the all-time highest charting gospel artist in Billboard’s 54-year history of tracking album sales. By selling approximately 76,000 copies of Here I Am its first week out, the album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, making Here I Am the highest charting album ever by a gospel artist.
The backdrop for the CD “I Win” came from him mitigating the pain of the loss of his wife through conversations with God.
Here I Am’s lead single, “The Best in Me,” which was co-written by the album’s producer, Aaron Lindsey (Israel Houghton), peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, No. 1 on Billboard’s Gospel Songs chart and reached No. 20 (with a bullet) on Billboard’s Urban AC chart.
On January 15, 2011, Marvin Sapp topped the list of winners during the 26th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards
Marvin Sapp has suffered many losses starting with his wife of 18 years to cancer, preceded by the untimely deaths of his biological father, spiritual father, and musical mentor; Sapp still had three children (Marvin II, MiKaila, and Madisson) to raise, an influential church to run, entrepreneurial ventures and a thriving musical career to maintain. He poured his swirling emotions into his craft, crediting the cathartic creative process with the release of his stunning revelatory decree You Shall Live. You Shall Live, featuring the hit radio single Yes You Can, was released on June 2, 2015.
Sapp has been honored and recognized for his professional and philanthropic efforts in his home city, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received the city’s highest African American honor, a Giants Award, as well as the Frederick Douglas Award from the National Association of Negro and Professional Women’s Club. He is an established author of seven books. He is also an entrepreneur illustrating success in various areas of business.
Marvin Sapp is also the President/Founder of Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts and Technology (GREAAT). The first performing arts and technology charter school in West Michigan (Pre-K to 12th grade), which began in the fall of 2012 enrolling 6th – 8th grade students. GREAAT is now Pre-K to 10th grade consisting of over 500 students. GREAAT strives to cultivate academic excellence in children by inspiring their minds and imagination through the arts.
He has enjoyed a decorated music career receiving 10 Grammy nominations, 22 Stellar Awards, 2 Soul Train Music Awards, 2 BET Awards, 2 Dove Awards, and 8 BMI songwriter’s awards for sales along with many other accolades and honors from national, regional, and local institutions.