Bishop Marvin Sapp has been a powerhouse as a solo act in the world of gospel music for well over a decade. Sapp returns with his 11th studio album, Close, which arrived in stores Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.
What is the story behind the title of the album?
Well, the story behind the CD Close is, in life, all of us go through major challenges. Ups, downs, circumstances that are beyond our control. And many times, as believers we tend to get frustrated. And even as unbelievers we tend to get frustrated and begin to think that God doesn’t care, he doesn’t see, he doesn’t understand. But what I began to realize is that the more that we are afflicted, that means the closer we are to what God said we’re supposed to have. And the reason why that is, is because the enemy’s goal is really to just get us to be frustrated to the point where we just forfeit the promise of God for our lives. So the whole gist of Close is just to let people know just because you’re under attack it [doesn’t] mean that you’re at a distance. That literally means that you’re within arm’s reach of what God said you’re supposed to have.
Do you have a favorite single on this album? If so, which one and why?
My favorite song on the album is called ”Carried Me.” The reason I like “Carried Me” is because it speaks to the grace of God. How the only reason we were able to make it through all of the circumstances, situations, challenges, lassitudes of life is because God was there all the time carrying us through these situations by his grace. I think that to me is, without question, my favorite song on the CD but there’s a lot of great material on there that I think so many people are going to be blessed by. But “Carried Me” is like one of my favorites. It’s like one of my favorites to sing too.
Tell us about the collaborations.
This new record we got a few. Actually, just like one real collaboration. That’s with Erica Campbell, and, you know this young rapper on the record [Izze Williams] “You and Me Together,” which was written by myself, Rodney Jerkins and Aaron Lindsey. We came together and we did something really, really amazing as it pertains to keeping it funky and churchy all at the same time. Then there was another song on the record that was produced and written by R. Kelly. The song is called “Listen.” And the message of that song is just an amazing message, which it challenges us really to look at our circumstances, pay attention to the challenges that we face. And when we look and pay attention to the challenges that we face, if we really pay attention we’ll see that God is really trying to speak to us through our situations. We may not hear his voice audibly, but we do hear his voice if we pay attention to what we face. So, you know I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great people. I got Kirk Franklin on there. He produced an amazing song on there called “Kind God.” So I mean this record I believe is a wonderful collage of different textures and different moments, but I didn’t leave my base.
How is life as a single father?
Life as a single father, it was challenging because that was not the plan for my life. My plan was to be with a woman that I had planned on spending the rest of my life with and raising our children together and then after they became young adults just going off into the sunset and it just being us two. But now I’m an empty nester, and all of my kids are gone. And I’m trying to figure life out now because I really have the opportunity now to be able to find Marvin and find out what I like again! So it’s been a challenge, but it’s not a challenge that I’m not up for. It’s a challenge that I’m excited about embracing and preferably moving forward in.
What’s your secret to spending time with loved ones?
My secret to spending time with loved ones is understanding that it’s not about the quantity of time, but it’s about the quality of time. Quality means everything to me. I could spend five minutes with you and if it’s five minutes where I’m enjoying and we’re laughing and we’re smiling and we’re having a good time, it’s great. Then I could spend an hour with you and it may be miserable and I’ll be like “I can’t do this!” Because my life is so busy, I value moments. Moments mean a lot to me. I don’t believe in wasted moments. I just believe that every moment is a learning process so I might spend some moments with you that you may think is wasted but the reality is I was learning some lessons while I was sitting here talking to you and maybe one of those lessons is I don’t need to spend as much time with you as I had been. My thing is quality time, because I don’t have a whole lot of quantity.
What do you do to unplug?
I have the strangest hobby and I got introduced to this hobby four years ago. When I want to unplug, I go to the shooting range, believe it or not. I go to the shooting range every Monday. I’ll go shoot 100 to 200 rounds from one of my many tools that I have at the crib. But that’s my passion. I enjoy going to the gun range. It’s a wonderful release for me. And then I collect ink pens. I collect fine writing instruments and things of that nature. I’m not your normal African American brother. I go out and do the thing that I really enjoy. Some people golf, which I do that, some people play basketball, which I do that, some people play football, I don’t do that no more I’m too old for that, but I do enjoy going to the gun range and having fun there.
Who are you listening to right now?
I’m an old-school guy, man. I listen to people like Peabo Bryson. Today I was listening to the old Winans, you know back in the days. My son just recently introduced me to this young man [Daniel Caesar]. He has a song called “Blessed” and it’s a wonderful ballad. And it’s a love song where he says, “yes I’m a mess but I’m blessed to be stuck with you.” And I’m like man, it’s kind of been on repeat on my cellphone. And you know I said one day this is going to be a great song to sing at a wedding.