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When it was time to record his next Verity album, Marvin Sapp decided not to tamper with the live formula he used on his 2007 best seller, “Thirsty.” So on Oct. 16 last year, he returned to the same site-Resurrection Life Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.-with the same talent-including writer/producer Aaron Lindsey and backing vocals director Myron Butler-to record the March 16 release “Here I Am.”

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.”

That song 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 song 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.” That song 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.

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