Anthony Brown and group therAPy took over the stage Friday, July 28 at the Warner Theatre in Northwest in an album release concert that fused multimedia, hip-hop dancers and pristine vocals in a nonstop evening of praise, worship and joyous celebration.
The Baltimore native who, when he’s not touring or creating music that sounds a little like hip-hop, pop and of course, gospel, says he’s often amazed by the way God has used him and how people continue to react.
“I never really thought about becoming a gospel entertainer as much as I wanted to find ways to praise God and to help others who are still lost and feel all alone find their way to Him — to get to know Him,” said Brown, 35, who also serves as the worship leader at First Baptist Glenarden in Upper Marlboro.
“Church has always been central to my life and I don’t think we have to be limited to just the traditional hymns,” said Brown, whose third album, “A Long Way From Sunday,” clearly illustrates his tasteful eclecticism.
During the concert, he alternated between a narration of the typical challenges we face in life as shown on a big screen to songs that provided possible answers to those hurdles with songs that are already becoming fan favorites: “Trust in You,” Miracle Worker,” It Had to Be You” and “Thank You.”
And given the response of the theater’s packed audience which even included a few Grammy Award-winning legends in the gospel industry, Erica Campbell of the sister duo Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin, the two-year wait since his breakout sophomore album took the world by storm, “Everyday Jesus,” was worth the wait — and then some.
Brown said he hopes to provide a glimpse of what today’s diverse family of Christians looks like and the many forms of music they employ to praise God. His husky baritone voice blends in perfect harmony with the other rich voices of his group therAPy ensemble, bending notes, forming tantalizing chords and pushing the musical envelope in ways I have rarely heard since the days when groups like Take 6 and Manhattan Transfer dominated the horizon.
But for all of his success and awards, Brown, who kicked off his music career in 2012 with a self-titled album that peaked at No. 3 on the Gospel Albums chart and No. 130 on the “Billboard 200,” remains humble.
“I’m just the son of a preacher who has been blessed in so many ways and am thankful for those blessings, for my family, for my friends and for those who continue allowing me to join me in our celebration of the goodness of God,” he said.