Marvin Sapp's Latest Win: Featured On gmc's Original Music Special
After the back-to-back deaths of her husband and father, Yolanda Bennett, an Atlanta-based hairstylist and mother of two, fell into a deep depression while also becoming dependent on prescription drugs.
Remarkably, Bennett’s downward spiral came to an overnight stop after tuning in to an awards show in which Marvin Sapp was performing “Never Would Have Made It.”
Inspired by the song, Bennett quit her medications cold turkey the next day and began turning her life around. Her story is the inspiration behind this weekend’s gmc TV World Premiere Original Music Special: The Song That Changed My Life.
The network's latest installment in the reality series chronicling the impact of inspirational music by great artists, the show interweaves Bennett’s story with candid interviews with Sapp, who tells how the song came to him during a dark time of his own, when he was grieving the loss of his father in 2007.
Sapp, who had been extremely close to his father, had broken down and while sitting in the pulpit with tears just rolling down his face, began singing “Never Would Have Made It.”
“The next thing I know, the church just erupted,” says the 45-year-old gospel artist. “It was amazing.”
As amazing as it was, Sapp had no thought of recording the song he’d just basically ad-libbed that afternoon, and to this day, doesn’t take credit for its success.
“MaLinda was the one who kept pushing me to record it and put it on the album. What I can take credit for was being the type of husband who listened to her.”
“Never Would Have Made It” went on to become No. 1 in gospel radio for 47 weeks and remains the longest-running No. 1 single on radio across all genres. It was named the Top Song of 2008 by The Associated Press.
But as with Yolanda Bennett, after recording the song, Sapp also suffered the loss of his beloved spouse.
“Just to hear the testimony about how life just ain’t fair and you feel like you can never rebound, and then someone says or sings something that gives you strength enough to move forward, I can relate to that. She wasn’t the only one that was going through it, 'cause I was going thru it myself,” Sapp relates.
And so meeting Bennett and her family first-hand proved just as therapeutic for Sapp.
“You never think that the words that you share or sing will have that type of impact and when they do, you say 'wow.' Scripture says it’s the foolish things that confound the wise. To get the opportunity to meet people your music has impacted is amazing. It keeps me encouraged to do what I’m doing,” says the artist, who reveals that a song he recorded called ‘Place of Worship’ is what gets him through daily.
“I don’t think you’re ever totally through the grief period,” Sapp says, and then pauses for a moment, before becoming reflective. “I spent all of my adult life with MaLinda and she was a perfect fit because we grew together. It will be two years in two weeks since her death, so I have good days thinking of her and then bad days when I miss her.”
And while rumors around the dating life of the gospel superstar have surfaced on the internet, Sapp lays to rest the validity of any of the reports of romantic involvement.
“There’s no way possible anyone’s going to be able to compete with what I’ve had and I would never put a woman in that position. I’m attracted to unbelievably attractive, gorgeous women who are smart, but at this point in my life I’m going to enjoy being single. I just recently returned from a trip to Greece and me and my girls are going to NYC this weekend to shop.”
Ironically, loss is not the only thing Sapp shares in common with Bennett, who is a hairstylist by trade.
“We start on our full-service barber and beauty salon, Samson and Delilah, and hope to open it by year's end,” said Sapp of one of his many business ventures.
Fact is, between touring, preaching and serving as president and founder of Grand Rapids first-ever Performing Arts charter school, which integrates a core curriculum with the arts and serves 180 children, Sapp has a lot on his plate.
“Starting out, the school is 6th-8th and we’ll add a grade every year,” says Sapp. “The academy is opening in 2012 and people need to see that every person who’s black and a man ain’t doing drama.”
Proffering a better image for black men is also the motivation behind another of Sapp’s new projects — his own reality show. The docu-series follows the life of the recently widowed recording artist as he raises his three children (Marvin "ML" Sapp II., MiKaila and Madison), pastors a church, tends to his businesses and tours as one of the nation’s biggest gospel artists.
“A group of networks are presently looking over our treatment,” Sapp says of the show they began shooting early this year for Open River Pictures. “Hopefully we’ll be picked up soon and I’m excited about it. It’s an opportunity to see that every urban man isn’t a deadbeat dad. My son is in Morehouse. My daughters work with me in ministry. The time I spend and the things I share with my kids is important to me.”
Copyright 2012, watchgmctv.com. For permission to repost or reprint, click here.
About the Writer
Lisa Collins, a Los Angeles native and resident, is a syndicated columnist, writer, publisher and former Billboard Magazine columnist. Her career in gospel began in 1988 with her creation of "Inside Gospel," a daily/weekly syndicated radio series that provided news, profiles and product updates relative to the gospel music community. For the next eight years, she would also serve as executive producer of the show that was broadcast in more than 100 markets nationwide. Collins has also served as a segment producer for BET and authored well over 300 articles on a variety of issues for a number of national publications from Essence to Upscale. Her background in the field of entertainment reporting is extensive, featuring cover stories and interviews with the likes of Richard Pryor, Michael Jackson and Prince.
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