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VIA: Reuters

When it was time to record his next album, Marvin Sapp decided not to tamper with the live formula he used on his 2007 best-seller, “Thirsty.”

So on October 16 last year, he returned to the same site — Resurrection Life Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan — with the same collaborators — including writer/producer Aaron Lindsey and backing vocals director Myron Butler — to record the March 16 release “Here I Am.”

His label, Verity, got a jump on listener reaction to Sapp’s new songs by providing a live video stream of the performance/recording and a chat room on its Web site.

“Thousands of people watched the stream from everywhere in the world,” Verity senior director of marketing Cheryl Marks says. “It gave us a bird’s-eye view of what hit home.”

The song that especially hit home was “Best in Me,” which after only nine weeks is shaping up as another No. 1 for the singing pastor. Co-written by Sapp and Lindsey, the track is No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart.

It’s another uplifting anthem in the vein of Sapp’s “Thirsty” mega-hit, “Never Would Have Made It,” which ruled Hot Gospel Songs for 46 weeks and claimed the crown for the longest-running No. 1 on a Billboard airplay chart. The crossover R&B hit also propelled “Thirsty” to sales of 706,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

“Here I Am” revolves around messages of inspiration, praise and guidance delivered to emotional effect on “He Has His Hands on You,” “Fresh Wind” and the title track. Sapp takes his crossover appeal a step further by letting loose on the rock-infused “Praise You Forever.”

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