For the past year Americans have heard Marvin Sappâ€™s clarion tenor sing about Christâ€™s ability to sustain believers. â€œNever Would Have Made Itâ€ is his biggest song and its power has transcended the gospel world and landed in the middle of urban markets. A performance at this yearâ€™s BET awards was the eveningâ€™s apex trumping the usual secular favorites for a song reflective of the countryâ€™s need for a lifesaver among economic instability and the race for a new president. Kirk Franklin made gospel cool by mixing it with urban culture. Franklinâ€™s success was not guaranteed by the infusion of hip-hop beats and dances but easier to explain. Sappâ€™s crossover success is an anomaly but it reveals a reverse history lesson; gospel music has returned soul to the radio. In the â€˜50s and â€˜60s it would take Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin to bring the gospel sensibility to popular music. By the â€˜90s hip-hop took over and soul singers became extinct. At this time Sapp was a member of the revered gospel group Commissioned. By â€™96 he went solo and began the path that has led to his seventh album Thirsty. Currently on the How Sweet The Sound tour in search of top-notch choirs around the country Pastor Sapp addresses the songâ€™s success, his holistic ministry and how he always knew God was real.
What do you think it is about â€œNever Would Have Made Itâ€ that makes so many people connect to it instead of other gospel songs?
I think the thing that makes â€œNever Would Have Made Itâ€ such a heart wrenching song is because weâ€™ve all had â€œNever Would Have Made Itâ€ moments. Weâ€™ve all found ourselves in places where we didnâ€™t know what we were going to do how we were going to get through it. But after we come through it and learn the lessons that God was really trying to teach us all of become stronger better wiser individuals. I think that is really the grabbing point if you will of the song.