"If I did the same type of album over and over again, people would get tired of me," the legendary singer says.
Fred Hammond’s musical catalog is considered to be the soundtrack of life for many Christians and music lovers. With undeniable hits like “No Weapon,” “Running Back To You,” and “Blessed” his music is certain to live on for decades to come. ESSENCE.com recently sat down with Hammond to discuss his new album, I Will Trust, relationships, and what many are calling his comeback.
Many are calling this your comeback album? Would you call it that too?
Well everything I do is by design. I don’t like to be put in a box especially when it comes to how I present music. And in Gospel we’re limited to this little box. We’re R&B, pop, classical, country, hip-hop and rock, but we can only spread out so far, especially in the urban Gospel genre. So I do something different in between and when it’s time I hit again and everyone is excited. If I did the same type of album over and over again, people would get tired of me. Like when I did the “God, Love and Romance” album, a lot of people felt like I was committing career suicide. But there were so many married couples and singles that really appreciated that project. It turned out to be a big seller because when God tells you to do something, you do it, and He’ll bless it!
You had major surgery where they replaced both of your knees. How did you handle that situation?
I really hate going to doctors. It has just been in the last 5 or 6 years that I’ve been going regularly for checkups. Life struggles were enough and I just didn’t want to hear a bad medical report. And something else that was always in my head was my day had the exact same knee surgery and 5 days later he died from a blood clot. So I was good on having the surgery. But the pain got so bad at one point, that I couldn’t take it anymore. It was extremely painful having them both done at the same time, but now I’m so glad I did.
Do you ever worry about running out of musical ideas or lyrics?
That is not something I worry about. God is endless and there is always something to do or say. What I do fear is continuing to be effective. I think one day that could happen. I try to keep my hand on the pulse of what is going on. But I also ask God to tell me when it’s time to step aside and I can be like Uncle Charlie or Frankie Beverly. But actually, Charlie Wilson is still doing it because his music is still relevant!
You are coming up on your 30-year anniversary in the business. Do you still get excited releasing a new CD?
The better word is I’m most appreciative these days. I started in music when I was 19 years old playing bass for The Winans on tour. I am so appreciative for this body of work that I put out. I think I captured what I was supposed to. I can still hear artists like Jason Nelson and Tye Tribbett, whose work I love, and it just makes me realize how blessed I am to still be doing this almost 30 years later. And I’m a realist. I never think my music is the best or that people are going to automatically love it because it’s “Fred Hammond.” I surround myself with younger people, positive people and I’m the type of artist that doesn’t have to hog it all. I bring in writers and musicians and give other’s a chance. I want to stay effective and relevant.
Are you in love right now?
I’m working on it. I believe in love and marriage. When God said it’s not good for man to be alone, he was talking about me! Sometimes I think at this age, I’m good being single. Relationships are A LOT of work and energy, but I still embrace it. So as of now, things are moving in a good direction.
Will there ever be another Commissioned album?
We are actually getting back together soon to see if we can work something out. All the guys are excited about the possibility, so we shall see!
I Will Trust is available on iTunes