Marvin Sapp Debuts at No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums: 'It's a Blessing'
Plus, debuts for The Showers, Tina Campbell, Matt Redman & Matt Maher.
Veteran gospel singer-songwriter Marvin Sapp roars in at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart (dated Oct. 21), with his 11th studio album, Close. In its first week (ending Oct. 5), it earned 5,000 equivalent album units, mostly from traditional album sales.
Sapp, senior pastor at Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, achieves his fifth Top Gospel Albums No. 1, among 12 top 10s. (He solo-penned or co-wrote all 10 tracks on the new set.)
"It is a blessing that, after 27 years as an artist, God continues to give me songs that resonate with people," Sapp tells Billboard. "I am fortunate to have amazing producers and co-writers that helped bring the heart of this album to life. I am grateful that the response has been so overwhelmingly positive. These songs embody my experiences, and if my experiences, as difficult as they may be, help others who are going through their own personal challenges, I truly count it all as joy."
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Meanwhile, the Close title track enters the top 10 on Hot Gospel Songs (which blends streaming, sales and radio airplay data), as it vaults 14-10, becoming the Sapp's 10th top 10 on the tally. It jumps by 65 percent to 1,000 downloads sold and bounds 13-5 on Gospel Digital Song Sales. On Gospel Airplay, "Close" increases 6 percent in plays and bumps 15-12.
Sapp first hit Top Gospel Albums over 20 years ago (on the survey dated May 31, 1997) when Grace and Mercy debuted, on its way to a No. 11 peak. He first led with Thirsty (2007), followed by Here I Am (2010), I Win (2012) and You Shall Live (2015).
Sapp holds the record for the longest-leading No. 1 in Hot Gospel Songs history: "Never Would Have Made It" ruled for 46 weeks in 2007-08.
Also on Top Gospel Albums, family group The Showers, made up of seven siblings (from a family of 10 brothers and sisters), arrive on Top Gospel Albums for the first time with The Journey. It debuts at No. 3, earning 2,000 equivalent album units in its launch week.
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Tina Campbell's It's Still Personal enters Top Gospel Albums at No. 4 (2,000 units), marking her second appearance. Her debut solo set (apart from Mary Mary), It's Personal, started atop the June 6, 2015- dated chart and reigned for two weeks.
Over on Top Christian Albums, two titles start in the top five, led by singer-songwriter Matt Redman, who notches his fifth top 10 (a sum that includes three No. 1s), as Glory Song arrives at No. 2 (6,000 units). Lead single "Gracefully Broken," featuring gospel music stalwart Tasha Cobbs Leonard, jumps to a new peak on Hot Christian Songs (49-38).
Finally, Matt Maher's Echoes begins at No. 5 on Top Christian Albums (3,000 units). The set is the Newfoundland, Canada-based Maher's fifth top 10 and first since Echoes, Saints and Sinners reached a personal-best No. 2 in 2015.