What began with Commissioned in 1984 has spread out to touch so many areas of today’s contemporary music both gospel and R&B, that at times it is hard to keep track.
The thread starts with the original group members, several of whom went on to solo careers or else settled into other Gospel niches.
Solo artist, producer, lyricist, bass player and now running his own FHammond Music label, Fred Hammond remains one of Gospel’s most recognizable names and respected artists, putting his hand to nearly every area of expertise.
Like Hammond, Keith Staten departed the group to follow his heart in his solo efforts on Fix It Records. On the heels of this stint, Staten took up as a premiere worship leader that led to his signing with Integrity Music, and his reign as praise and worship prince.
Continuing with his keyboard, production and songwriting skills after he left Commissioned in 1991, Michael Brooks was instrumental in developing the refined harmonic sounds of female group Witness. He also founded the Young Artists For Christ workshops, an entity that itself was a springboard and first platform for several artists. Married to former Witness lead singer Lisa Page. Brooks has been keeping busy with working with her on her solo career. Together they pastor the Restoration Fellowship International Church in Detroit, MI.
As one of the two original members still with Commissioned (the other being Karl Reed) Jones has nevertheless branched out into production, keyboards and vocals work, putting his touch on the debut album from Virtue in 1997, and also lending his hand to the 1996 album from South African group, Chosen, on Verity Records. He also worked with both Fred and Keith on their respective solo albums in the early 1990s.
Replacing Keith Staten and providing lead vocals for three albums with Commissioned, Marvin Sapp also went on to an award winning solo career. Defining himself as a ‘preacher who happens to sing’ Sapp is know for his fiery vocal style, and that’s the preaching part. Soulfully resonant in voice, he brings the house down when he takes the mic. Marvin Sapp tradgically lost his amazing wife, Dr. MaLinda Sapp, but has continued to preserve her legacy through his three children. He serves as Bishop of the Lighthouse Full Life Center Church, Father and Entrepernuer in Grand Rapids, MI.
Joining Commissioned for one album (Irreplaceable Love), Montrell Darrett then delivered a solo project with a heavy neo-soul influence for EMI Gospel, and has since ventured heavily into production and songwriting, contributing to projects from Londa Larmond, Sharon Riley and Faith Chorale, Lamar Campbell and Spirit of Praise and Virtue.
The final group member was Marcus Cole. While most are familiar with Cole from his appearance on the much heralded Commissioned Reunion album, his affiliation with the group dates back nearly a two decades.
Recently members of Commissioned got together and created Commissioned RSVP!
Black Music Month: Commissioned Has influenced Much Of Today’s Contemporary Gospel Sound was originally published on www.praisedc.com