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Wow the Praise Family wants to send a BIG BIRTHDAY SHOUT-OUT to the one and only Fred Hammond!!! Check out the bio:

Born Fred Hammond, on December 27, 1960, in Arlington, TX;

Life’s Work

Although he is still a young man, Fred Hammond already could be called the “Godfather of Contemporary Gospel.” Not only is he among the most popular creators and performers in the field–and a multi-instrumentalist–but he is one of the driving forces in a wave of innovative sounds in gospel music. This new category, which is called urban contemporary, braids multiple musical idioms–traditional gospel, hiphop, rhythm and blues, and jazz–into a sound that appeals to generations raised in a rap-saturated world. This fusion of gospel with mainstream styles has resulted in a dramatic upswing in sales and exposure for gospel music.

Through successive phases of his career, Hammond has always applied his musical gifts and nonstop creative energy to spreading the gospel word and feeling. A deeply religious man, Hammond composes when inspiration hits, which can occur at any time of the day or night. Hammond’s prodigious output indicates that inspiration is a frequent visitor.

As demonstrated by his sweep of eight 1998 Stellar Awards (gospel music’s equivalent of the Grammys), Hammond’s influence in gospel music is huge. Already the most sought-after producer in gospel, Hammond is continually expanding the scope of his activities. In addition to countless musical projects, Hammond is involved in videos, television, commercials, scriptwriting, and theater.

Inspired By the Winans

Hammond was born in Texas in 1960, but grew up in Detroit with his four siblings. His mother, Mildred Hammond, was herself a musician and was pivotal in steering Hammond in a musical direction. Mildred’s work as a choir director exposed Hammond to gospel sounds at churches all over the city. By the age of 12, he was singing in his mother’s choir. Hammond also soaked up a wide range of musical approaches–a combination of influences that proved central to his eventual take on gospel. As he told an interviewer in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, ”I grew up under Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, the Winans, Andrae Crouch, REO Speedwagon, and classical music. That music reflects all the music that’s in me.”

When Hammond was prepared for the next step in his musical development, he was drawn to the Winans. At the time of Hammond’s first exposure to them, the Winans were one of gospel music’s shining stars, a group that had created a new, more pop- and rhythm-based approach to the form. ”They played ”The Question Is” on the radio, and I knew [the Winans] had made it,”‘ Hammond related in a Gannett News Service article. ”I knew from that point on, that was something I could reach for.”

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY-Fred Hammond!!!!  was originally published on