Local pastor and national gospel music artist Marvin Sapp won the top honor Saturday at the 26th annual gospel music Stellar Award ceremonies in Nashville.

Sapp, 43, won the title of Artist of the Year, an award he dedicated to his late wife, MaLinda.

“This was the first time in 18 years I’ve gone to an awards show without her,” Sapp said during a post-show phone interview from backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. “It was a challenge, and it was difficult – but we held it together.”

MaLinda, with whom Marvin co-pastored Lighthouse Full Life Center Church on Burton Street SE, died in September of colon cancer.

After receiving the award, Sapp performed “Never Would Have Made It,” the uplifting ballad that MaLinda insisted be placed on his 2007 album “Thirsty.” The song turned out to be Marvin’s signature hit and won a Stellar two years ago.

Sapp won three other awards Saturday (from his seven nominations), including traditional male vocalist, CD of the year and traditional CD of the year — both for his most recent album, “Here I Am.”

The album also is nominated for a Grammy Award. Grammy winners will be announced Feb. 13.

Sapp said the feeling was similar to that of 2009 when he won seven Stellars.

“It’s great to be honored by your peers, and you do your best to give honor and glory to God,” he said. “But it’s bittersweet with my wife not here with me.”

Sapp’s three children did not attend Saturday’s ceremonies, choosing instead to go with their father to the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles next month.

Sapp also received a “Trailblazers of Gospel Music” award for his role in the ensemble Commissioned, in which he sang before becoming a solo artist.

article courtesy of

Most Popular Posts