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Marvin Sapp
Here I Am

You'd be hard pressed to find an artist that has achieved greater commercial success over the last three years than Marvin Sapp. His last release, Thirst, received critical acclaim and, fueled by the epic lead single "Never Would Have Made It", propelled the veteran to superstar status.

Eight Stellars, a BET Award, and over 1 million ringtones later, Sapp now celebrates his 20th anniversary in the industry with his latest release, Here I Am.

Recorded live in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sapp presents a twelve-track offering that has quickly become one of the year's most exciting releases.

CDSapp employs the dictum "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", as he revisits the same formula that brought success to the Thirst album. Aaron Lindsey returns as the album's producer and Myron Butler returns to direct and arrange background vocals (featuring Candy and Chelsea West, Aisha Cleaver, Jamil Freeman, Deonis Cook, and Michael Bethany). Even the Thirsty band returns, with familiar names such as Calvin Rodgers (drums), Rick Watford (guitar), Derrick Ray, Sr. (bass) and Lindsey (keys) in place. Additions include Parris Bowens and Buddy Strong on keys.

With all of the pieces in place, Sapp and his team create a new body of work that stands on its own as the next step his career.

The most notable difference this time out is the lyrical direction, as Here I Am places greater focus on empowering the believer than solely focusing on the vertical relationship. Sapp partners with several gifted songwriters to bring this vision to fruition.

Jason Nelson pens "Don't Count Me Out", a track that is a nod to Sapp's roots with Commissioned, based on its lyrics and harmonies. Sapp partners with Lindsey for the album's lead single "The Best In Me", which is already breaking records at radio.

Don't miss the powerful "Comfort Zone", penned by Ted Winn and Daniel Moore. In the same vein of empowerment is the Stan Jones-composed "He Has Hands On Me", which gives hope to those enduring life's challenges.

Sapp travels several musical directions on the album. "Praise You Forever" introduces a pop/rock feel while even sneaking a hint of auto-tune into the presentation.

Greater Anointing alumni Dana Sorey and Aaron Camper team with Lindsey to pen the dance-flavored "Keep Holding On".

Arguably the album's most infectious track is "Fresh Wind". Written by frequent Sapp collaborator Jonathan Dunn ("Come and Dine", "Trust In You", "Worshipper In Me", "Standing on the Rock") this new song brings Sapp into the world of "new school quartet" which easily appeals to Sunday morning church lover in you. Lyrically simplistic yet musically exciting, the phrase "fill the house" will be glued to you as it was to the album's live audience.

This highly anticipated release delivers big time as Marvin Sapp presents another musically exciting and lyrically empowering gem of an album. "Here I Am", Sapp's eighth solo effort, adds to an already rich catalogue for the twenty year veteran.

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Production: Aaron Lindsey
album release date: March 16th, 2010
Verity Records

— reviewed by Gerard Bonner

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