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Fred Hammond
Real, Live Worship


by Andrew Greer, CCM Magazine

  Grammy, Stellar and Dove Award-winning gospel great Fred Hammond (Blessed) is bringing back the Festival of Praise Tour for the 4th time! The Festival of Praise Tour promises to be an evening of soul-stirring music which will feature Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, Take 6, James Fortune, and Charles Jenkins (Click Here).

  For more than 27 years, music listeners around the world have known Fred Hammond as a talented songwriter, bassist and vocalist. He is also known throughout the music industry as a gifted musical arranger and producer.

  But, his work with Face to Face Productions Corporation, the company for which he is both founder and CEO, has earned him the title the "Babyface" of gospel. Fred has sold over 7 million albums and his work as a producer has landed him in the #1 spot among gospel producers. Throughout his professional career, Hammond has maintained a reputation for excellence, racking up numerous awards and nominations including the Grammy, BET, N.A.A.C.P. Image, Stellar, Dove, and GMWA Excellence Awards.

  When Fred first came into gospel music fame through the super group Commissioned in 1985, the contemporary Christian music industry was still a decade or more away from its transition into a genre majorly defined by the commercial clout of modern worship music. Yet throughout his GRAMMY-applauded recording career, the versatile singer-songwriter, producer and arranger always kept the live experience of music on his mind - and the worship experience of gospel music in his heart.

  Having been personally impacted by the worship music recordings of artists like Michael W. Smith in the past, and being prompted by his label for a fresh Hammond-live recording in the present, the legendary gospel music man decided it was high-time to combine his affinity for excellence onstage with the humility perpetuated by music promoted specifically for moments of spiritual worship - personally and corporately. The result? Worship Journal Live.

  Straight from the mouth of the man who is behind it all, join in on this exclusive CCM Magazine conversation with Mr. Fred Hammond.

During your multi-faceted thirty-year recording career, you have been applauded as much for your behind-the-scenes skills as for your performance onstage.
How has your role as a producer influenced your role as a performer?

  I love being a producer. Back in the Commissioned days, we never had to struggle to fight to produce our own albums. Our first album came from a demo that the record company liked so much they let us produce it. So, that's been a gift from God - to help me understand the inner workings [of making an album]. I truly love it.

  It does help you as an artist, because you now know how to layer your foundation. Like a person building a house, it would be better for the architect or the builder to lay something like the sprinkler system because the builder knows where all of the pipes and gas lines are laid. Otherwise, you bring a secondary person out and they have to call the particular companies to flag the land and say, "Don't drill here. Don't dig there." But as a producer, I know where to dig and I love it!

Your discography has been blueprinted by the bass. Worship Journal Live was no exception. Your instrument frame-works the tracks, instigates the grooves and even motivates the melody at times. How has your history as a player shaped your music - from songwriting to recording?
 

  Playing bass is the foundation of how I think. It is just a part of that rhythm section, between the drums and the bass. They are the foundation and it sets the groove for how I sing, where the pocket is, where everybody fits.

In a recent Facebook Live video you suggested Worship Journal Live was more than a collection of good songs to listen to ... it is music to pray by.
What did you mean?

   You can put Worship Journal Live on in your quiet times and meditation times, and you can actually sing along with it. It's not meant to be just listened to - listen to Fred sing  it''s more to follow the heart and spirit of any given song. This album will minister to your everyday needs, pretty much the way Michael W. Smith's first worship album [did for me]. I would put those songs on and pray to it, and sing along with it in the car, or right before I would go on and minister.
  By the time I got to Above All, I was pretty much enthroned in the moment of worship and I could feel the presence of God. That's what I want to happen [for others] on this album.

You have mentioned that, even as an adult, you did not know a lot about "worship," though you knew how to program an order for a church service. What have you learned about the experience of worship through music since then?

  Back in 1992, 1993, and 1994 when I first started learning about worship, in the African-American churches we went to, concentrated on the problems and we sang ourselves through the problems - songs like, "I must tell Jesus all of my trials / I cannot bear these burdens alone."
 
When you worship, you don't tell Jesus about your problems because He knows about your problems already. You tell Jesus about your problems by just acknowledging who God is, exalting His name, and blessing His name. Then, all of a sudden, God is bigger than your problems.

From your perspective,
what is your definition of worship?

  [Worship is] an intimate moment with God. You're exposed, and you don't mind being exposed, every part of you - not just the good parts, but the not-so good parts. That's what [worship] is, just being in His presence.

The genesis of "Urban Praise & Worship" "is often attributed to you and your recordings. When you first began your solo career did you realize you were inspiring a new sub-genre of gospel music?

  I didn't start out [recording in my style] to say, "Watch what happens." I just figured this would be my style like Michael Jackson or Prince had a style. Different people have different styles.

  Because the urban church, the black church, the inner city church weren't doing Praise and Worship, I figured I would do a style of music that glorified God but I would just put a different beat to it. Where an acoustic guitar would be on somebody else's song, I'd put an organ. The drumbeats would have a little more hip-hop flavor with sample-driven things underneath. I put some soul into it - that's all I did - so other people could say, "Wow, I didn't know we could do that."

~ from ccmmagazine.com ~

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Fred Hammond
(Spirit of David)


Former Commissioned member Fred Hammond leads the Radical For Christ choir on this 1997 gospel classic. The Spirit Of David is a powerful sixteen track set based in Psalms, including the timeless "No Weapon," plus "Prodigal Son," "When The Spirit Of The Lord," "Shout Unto God," and others.

Fred Hammond
(Worship Journal Live)


Gospel legend Fred Hammond returns to the stage for a soul-strengthening live worship concert. Worship Journal (Live)spotlights Hammond's powerful vocals and musical gifts on "Father Jesus Spirit," "I Sing Hallelujah," "God Is My Refuge," and others.

Fred Hammond
(I Will Trust)


Returning to a standard of praise & worship he helped to define, gospel legend Fred Hammond breaks new ground! Features "Festival of Praise"; "All the Way"; "His Perfect Love"; "I Believe"; "Take Me to the Water"; "Lord, Have Your Way"; "Try Jesus"; "I Will Trust"; "It's Only"; "It's Mine"; "You Bless Me Over and Over"; and
"I Owe It All."

Fred Hammond &
The United Tenors

(United Tenors: Hammond, Hollister, Roberson, Wilson)

Fred Hammond
(God, Love & Romance)

Fred Hammond
"Free To Worship"

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