The Influence of Commissioned
What began with Commissioned in 1984 has spread out to
touch so many areas of today's contemporary music both gospel and R&B, that
at times it is hard to keep track (see links to previous Commissioned features).See Commissioned Discography
The thread starts with the original group members, several of whom went on to solo careers or else settled into other Gospel niches.
Solo artist, producer, lyricist, bass player and now running his own FHammond Music label, Fred Hammond remains one of Gospel’s most recognizable names and respected artists, putting his hand to nearly every area of expertise.
His golden production touch has been heard on albums beginning with Derrick Brinkley in 1986, through to Transformation Crusade's two rap projects, to Angelo & Veronica, Marvin Sapp, DeLeon Richards, Tammy Trent, Ben Tankard, Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale, CeCe Winans, Della Reese, Darwin Hobbs, Keith Staten and the Mighty Clouds of Joy.
When he departed from Commissioned to record with Radical For Christ, a new era in urban praise and worship was born.
RFC itself has been the start of several promising careers, including Ernest Lee, Joann Rosario, Kim Rutherford and Danielle Stephens.
Like Hammond, Keith Staten departed the group to
follow his heart in his solo efforts on Fix It Records. On the
heels of this stint, Staten took up as a premiere worship leader that
led to his signing with Integrity Music, and his reign as praise and
worship prince. Staten soon delivered focused projects under the In The
House banner, often collaborating with Hammond and his RFC crew on them.
Continuing with his keyboard, production and songwriting skills after he left Commissioned in 1991, Michael Brooks was instrumental in developing the refined harmonic sounds of female group Witness. He also founded the Young Artists For Christ workshops, an entity that itself was a springboard and first platform for several artists. As a producer, he immersed himself in working with artists such as Lexi, LA Mass Choir, Totally Committed, Greater Emmanuel Mass Choir and Rite Choice. He also produced Keith Staten’s first solo project, From The Heart, and introduced his group Nation, who put out a couple albums on CGI Records. Now married to former Witness lead singer Lisa Page, Brooks has been keeping busy with working with her on her solo career, the latest project being her debut on AIR Gospel in late summer, 2001.
As one of the two original members still with Commissioned (the other being Karl Reid), Mitchell Jones has nevertheless branched out into production, keyboards and vocals work, putting his touch on the debut album from Virtue in 1997, and also lending his hand to the 1996 album from South African group, Chosen, on Verity Records. He also worked with both Fred and Keith on their respective solo albums in the early 1990s.
Replacing Keith Staten and providing lead vocals for three albums with Commissioned, Marvin Sapp also went on to a solo career, putting out three solo projects with Word Records. His first album self-titled, saw him work again with Fred Hammond, who produced the album. Since then, he has seen much success in collaborating with producer Percy Bady. Defining himself as a ‘preacher who happens to sing’ Sapp is know for his fiery vocal style, and that’s the preaching part. Soulfully resonant in voice, he brings the house down when he takes the mic. Sapp has also appeared on several other projects, including with Bishop T.D. Jakes on his Sacred Love Songs album and also with Greater Grace Temple Choir, North Carolina Mass Choir, Queens Community Choir and on the Heaven’s Sent artist compilation, all released in the mid 1990’s.
Joining Commissioned for one album (Irreplaceable Love), Montrell Darrett then delivered a solo project with a heavy neo-soul influence for EMI Gospel, and has since ventured heavily into production and songwriting, contributing to projects from Londa Larmond, Sharon Riley and Faith Chorale, Lamar Campbell and Spirit of Praise and Virtue.
Dawkins and Dawkins
Most first heard of this duo of brothers in the context of the two Commissioned projects that they were involved. The gifted singers and instrumentalists went on to issue two urban projects under the wing of Fred Hammond. Now they stand on their own, one of urban Gospel’s most respected duos.
As one of those who contributed to the Commissioned sound by way of his distinctive tenor backing vocals, Stewart has put out two solo projects, and is currently at work on a third. His albums have brought contributions from several of his Commissioned buddies, including Jones, Hammond and Reid.
Angelo & Veronica
Angelo Petrucci credits Commissioned for being the catalyst who turned him around to Jesus Christ, and in his several projects with his wife Veronica, has turned to the group and its members for collaborations. Fred Hammond produced on the Give Your Life album, with RFC backing up. Mitchell Jones added vocals to the Not Enough project. Angelo covered “Running Back To You” on his 1999 album, Change.
In a list so very long, a who’s who of, includeing several R&B groups, credit Commissioned as their inspiration. One could easily argue that Boyz II Men, 112, Brandy, Michael Speaks (before he went Gospel), Woody Rock, Dru Hill and Whitney Houston among many others each owe something to the Detroit supergroup. The shoutouts on the album credits says enough.
— by GospelFlava.com Staff —
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