"Fred Hammond is a phenomenon," says Danyel Smith, former editor of Billboard magazine, to NPR's Renee Montagne. The singer and bassist's "I Feel Good" has stuck around on Billboard's Gospel Songs chart for more than 30 weeks. Over the summer, Morning Edition will feature songs that are popular among different audiences and genres.
"He makes modern, urban-contemporary gospel music, and he has hit a nail on the head," Smith says. "In the gospel industry right now, there is a concerted effort to not lose young people — to create music that speaks to them and enables them to maybe nod their head to the beat as much as they're clapping their hands and raising their hands to the Lord."
She says that the secret to Hammond's success is his music's immediacy.
"It's very invitational, this record — it sounds familiar to me," says Smith. "It sounds like, 'Hey, just because we're talking about faith, it doesn't mean we all have to start speaking in some other language that we don't speak in every day to each other.' "