ESSENCE.com sat down with Hammond to discuss God, love and romance — which just happens to be the title of his latest album.
ESSENCE.com: What direction are you taking with “God, Love & Romance”?
FRED HAMMOND: It shows the romantic side of a man who loves God and loves being in a relationship. That is one thing Christians have been afraid to deal with, especially in music. Preachers deal with this topic from the pulpit, but when you talk about it in music, believers shy away from it. This is a way to start the discussion. At this time in my life, I feel led to share my heart to help other people and couples. I was in a marriage and we didn’t make it. So my hope is, through my music, I can help heal some relationships that may be headed in that direction.
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ESSENCE.com: Why is it that Christians seem to have a hard time with Gospel artists singing about love?
HAMMOND: It’s a crazy taboo that has to do with years of tradition. If they can say, “I love my baby” or “My honey is so good to me,” then there shouldn’t be a problem when you sing it. The enemy is attacking marriages! Fifty percent of first-time marriages in the church end in divorce. Sixty percent of second-time marriages in the church end in divorce. And seventy percent of third-time marriages follow the same pattern. We come to church and put on a good face, but when we get home, it’s another story. The reality is we are losing our families.
ESSENCE.com: Since your divorce, have you started dating again?
HAMMOND: I’ve been divorced for eight years now, so time heals all wounds. I thought I would marry again soon thereafter, but my pastors told me not jump into anything. There isn’t anyone in the picture right now, but I do look forward to getting married again. I embrace it and I know there is someone out there for me. You don’t choose perfect, you choose right.
ESSENCE.com: What’s your favorite song from this CD?
HAMMOND: I actually have two favorites. The project is a double disc — one side is called “Romance” and the other is called “God.” On the “romance” disc, my favorite song is “Face It All.” Whether you’ve been in a marriage for 25 years, 10 or 2, it’s about sticking it out through every trial and tribulation. On the “God” disc, my favorite song is “Amazing Love.” I am just so appreciative of God’s love. It’s higher than any mountain, wider than any ocean, and wider than the whole universe. His love is just that amazing!
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ESSENCE.com: At 51, what are you most proud of regarding your career?
HAMMOND: It feels good to be able to sustain this level of professionalism. It’s a blessing when your record label still views you as valuable and people still get excited when you show up. I still enjoy what I do. I am blessed on so many levels.
Gerald Jones is the creator of www.dagospeltruth.com. You can follow him on twitter @dagospeltruth