On Friday, May 11, District 8 Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins presented the 2012 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award to Grammy winning gospel artist Fred Hammond at Dallas City Hall. Past honorees have included actresses Regina King, Irma P. Hall and actor Eugene Lee. Rolling out had the opportunity to ask the gospel legend a few questions.
Having won numerous awards in the past BET, NAACP, and ultimately a Grammy, how does the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the city of Dallas compare to that?
It’s right up there with all of them. I have not been a very big awards person. I appreciate them, but I think when you get too wrapped up into them, you start to want them. And you start to get disappointed if they don’t come. If you don’t get nominated. So a long time ago, I just put myself in a position not to seek after that, so that when they come I’m honored and it’s a definite joy… So this one stacks right up there with the rest of them, because this is my city.
Having touched so many lives through your music in the past, how do you hope to continue to inspire through your leadership and faith?
By doing what I do. The stage part of it — a lot of people think that’s the big part, when really the stage is the small percentage. You know one of the things you can do is just be a nice person. People don’t get a chance to see celebrities all the time. But they can see me at Home Depot, they can see me at the park, they can see me riding my motorcycle, they can holler at me at the mall. … A lot of times they don’t get to see a celebrity like that, because it just doesn’t work like that. But with me I try to keep it as normal as possible and shake everybody’s hand, you know it just doesn’t cost a lot to be nice. And that right there can inspire you more …that moment can last a long time.
What type of material are you doing for your new album?
You know I just released one in January called God, Love & Romance. It’s a romance CD and a praise and worship CD mix… And I will be doing it from that because relationships have been hit hardest among the believers. A lot of times people think because you’re in church, you have the perfect marriage or perfect relationship, and the truth is that it has been rough. And so I did this CD to just be a guide, as a Christian that loves God that talks about romance, and sings about romance from the biblical perspective, but making it contemporary to me. So it’s not a King James, corny type of thing. It’s just this is a man of God who understands what it’s like to be in love and to have fallen hard on the rocks of love.