The American gospel singer Marvin Sapp began singing at his local church when he was four years old, but when did he release his first song?
Martin Sapp did not have a “first song,” per say. He joined the group Commissioned in 1990 and released an album with the group the following year, in 1991. After leaving Commissioned, Sapp embarked on a solo career. His first release was a self-titled album in 1996.
Let’s explore the early life of Marvin Sapp and how he found success in the gospel genre.
Marvin Sapp’s Early Life
Marvin Sapp was born on January 28, 1967, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. He grew up in the same town and began singing in the gospel choir at church from the young age of four.
Sapp continued to pursue his love for music in his teenage years when he spent time singing with multiple gospel groups and ensembles.
Later in life, he attended Aenon Bible College in Indianapolis, Indiana. During his time at college, Sapp met gospel singer Fred Hammond, who saw talent in the young singer and was looking for someone to replace Keith Staten in his gospel group Commissioned.
In 1990, Sapp decided to drop out of college in order to get serious about his love for music, and take up the offer of joining the established gospel group Commissioned.
Marvin Sapp With Commissioned
After Marvin Sapp joined Commissioned, the group released the first album with Sapp in 1991. Coincidentally, the album—Number 7—reached number 7 on the Top Gospel Albums chart.
Sapp remained with the group until 1996. During his time as part of Commissioned, the group released three albums—Number 7, Matters of the Heart, and Irreplaceable Love, which all achieved notable success.
When Sapp left Commissioned he was replaced by Marcus R. Cole.
Going It Alone
After leaving Commissioned, Marvin Sapp sought to carve out a career as a solo artist. He released his first solo album—Marvin Sapp—in 1996. The album didn’t make the charts but the gospel singer continued to make music undeterred.
Sapp’s subsequent albums were much more commercially successful. In 2007, his album—Thirsty—reached number 1 on the U.S. Gospel chart, as well as number 4 on the U.S. R&B chart, and number 28 on the generalized U.S. albums chart.
Sapp saw even further mainstream success with his next album, Here I Am (2010), which reached number 2 on the U.S. albums chart.
Marvin Sapp continued to release albums every few years and there seems to be no end in sight for his busy music career.
The Dark Side Of Fame
With success comes fame, something which Marvin Sapp knows the struggles of all too well. Sapp began to notice that he was at the center of attention from a doctor named Teleka Patrick.
Teleka apparently moved across the country to be closer to Sapp. She joined his church, contacted his children and even went to his home address in a bid to be closer to him.
At a certain point, the obsessive attention became too much for Sapp, who filed a protective order against Teleka in September of 2013.
In the protective order, Sapp commented that he had received “over 400 pages of correspondence from her to which I have never responded.”
He added that the stalkerish activity from Teleka had gone on for at least a year prior to her moving from California to be closer to the gospel singer.
Things took a sinister turn when the doctor failed to turn up to work at the hospital on December 6, 2013. Relatives feared the worst when her car was found with a flat tire, and the keys missing.
Months later, in April of 2014, Teleka’s body was found in a pond close to where her car had been. The autopsy report showed signs of drowning. The exact circumstances of Teleka’s death is still a mystery, although there have been assertions that the doctor was suffering from mental illness.