Murphy consented, and shortly thereafter, he was in the sanctuary of Valley Kingdom Ministries singing “Praise is What I Do,” a song he had written for his dad, Bishop William H. Murphy, Jr.’s, New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, whose choir was also called “The Shekinah Glory Singers”. “I arrived home the next day,” Murphy recalled, “and my phone was blowing up! ‘Shekinah Glory’s getting ready to do a recording and we want to record “Praise is What I Do.”’ I suggested other songs I thought were better, but they wanted ‘Praise is What I Do!’”
Released in August 2000, Shekinah Glory Ministry’s Praise is What I Do hit the top ten on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart. “That song kicked the door open for what is now known as the Praise & Worship genre,” Murphy said.
The following year, Murphy became worship minister at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. New Birth’s founder and pastor, the late Bishop Eddie L. Long, helped him record a live solo project at the church. Released independently, “All Day” caught the attention of Sony Music executives. They re-released All Day on Epic Records in 2005, and it peaked at #22 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart.
Since then, every one of Murphy’s solo albums has charted on Billboard, with 2013’s God Chaser (Verity / RCA Inspiration) hitting #3 on the gospel chart and #90 on Billboard’s Top 200. God Chaser even garnered the first of two Grammy nominations for Murphy. He shared his first Grammy Award nomination experience with his pastor, and The Founder of The Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr., along with his son, Paul Morton, Jr., and Bishop Murphy’s own spiritual daughter, Mrs. Tasha Cobbs Leonard.
“Tasha was the first, and the only person to join The dReam Center on opening day, 13 years ago,” Murphy said of the Atlanta, now megachurch, that he and his wife, Danielle, founded. “We planned this big opening service for January 15, 2006, and about 350 people packed the room. I did my best to preach and hoped that at least 50 people would join, but only one person joined that day. Her name was “Tasha Cobbs”.
Tasha Cobbs Leonard and her husband, Kenneth Leonard, are the main producers for Murphy’s new project, “Settle Here”. Recorded live at The dReam Center, it’s the first major production project The Leonards have taken on since releasing Tasha’s 2017 Heart. Passion. Pursuit., which features Murphy as the guest vocalist on “Forever at Your Feet.”
The assignment for Settle Here, Murphy explained, “is to build three types of bridges: denominational bridges, because the church is so fractured, someone has to build a musical bridge to bring Baptists and Pentecostals and Apostolics to a point of synergy. Cultural bridges, to bring white and black folks together, and generational bridges to provide songs teens love but folks in their ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s can also relate to.”
He points to the album’s opener, a cover of Christian rock artist Zach Williams’ “Chain Breaker,” as an example of a song that builds cultural and generational bridges.
As does Settle Here’s high-spirited closer, “Worship Forever.” It was written by Murphy’s brother, DeVaughn Murphy, who passed away in July 2015 at age 33. “Worship Forever” turned out to have the perfect vibe that “Settle Here” needed, to complete the amazing collection of songs.