Official Biography (courtesy of Micah Stampley)
As worship continues to spill over geographical borders and ignite a passion in people around the globe, Micah Stampley is excited about creating music that is the soundtrack for this generation of worshippers. He does so yet again on his new album, One Voice, a powerful collection of songs that are musically diverse yet lyrically focused.
“My vision for this particular album was to be a call to every culture, every nation, every race,” Micah relates. “Ministry should cater to people from all walks of life and my approach to this album was to be accommodating to those cultures. The message is a message of love. The number one thing that we should be striving for is the love of Christ, and that’s the heart of this recording. That is the message and the heartbeat of this album.”
One Voice is Micah's fifth CD, and a joint project of his independent label,
Interface Entertainment, and Mathew Knowles' Music World Gospel. Musically, Micah has incorporated a variety of influences and the songs are a vibrant tapestry full of bold textures and resonant hues. He’s never afraid to try something different with a melody and always finds inventive ways to frame his meaty lyrics. When it comes to defining his musical style, Micah is the first to admit, people don’t really know how to describe him, and he’s okay with that. “My music is just so different from my peers in the gospel community and it’s really been difficult for people to put a tag on what type of artist I am,” he says. “It’s been a struggle for a lot of people. They want to say ‘you are a praise and worship artist’ and others are saying ‘traditional gospel? Contemporary gospel? We don’t really know what Micah is, but we like it.’”
Even at an early age, Micah had a gift for music and for connecting with people. Born in Los Angeles, he was raised in Louisiana. By age seven, he was directing choirs. “God had gifted me at a very young age and they would pick me up and
put me on top of the offering table because the choir couldn’t see me,” he recalls with a smile. “I remember those days and the funny thing is these were all adults that I was teaching soprano, alto and tenor parts to. I was directing and teaching mass choirs and I’m hearing people sing wrong parts and I’m saying, ‘oh, it’s not the right note. This is the part’ and they are looking at me like ‘this little boy can’t be telling me that I’m singing the wrong note. I don’t know who he thinks he is!’
It was really funny because I had to grow up quicker because I was always dealing with adults. It was good.”
Though secular music wasn’t allowed in his home, young Micah couldn’t help but be exposed to the pop sounds of the day, riding on the school bus and elsewhere. So he soaked up the flavors of the day from Michael Jackson to Cyndi Lauper, and those began mingling with Shirley Caesar, Andraé Crouch and Michael W. Smith to provide an intriguing musical potpourri. “There are rock guitars that I’ve implemented in my music, into traditional gospel songs, so that’s what makes my music just so different,” Micah explains.
Though he was a preacher’s kid, growing up in a loving Christian home, it didn’t make Micah immune to the turmoil in his neighborhood. He saw a man die when he was just nine years old, and two of his brothers were murdered. “I witnessed my first murder in my front yard, a gentlemen died right in front of me. I watched him take his last breath with a bullet in his chest,” says Micah. Yet he managed to escape the death and destruction around him. “I refused to become a part of my environment. I didn’t know that this would happen for me, but what I did know is that I loved God. I really truly loved the Lord Jesus Christ and I just felt there was something more for me than what I was seeing and experiencing.”
Music proved to be Micah’s ticket out of tragedy. He won the Stellar Awards Star Search in 2004, and his musical gifts combined with his passion for serving God soon made it abundantly clear that his music ministry would be blessed. He began serving with Bishop T.D. Jakes and also began his recording career. Though he’s never had any formal vocal training, Micah has a bass-to-first soprano range that is astounding. “It’s just a sound that God has given me,” he says. “I think He fine tuned my vocal chords and gave me this high register. I can sing bass and/or soprano naturally. It’s pretty amazing and to be honest, I can’t explain it. It’s just something that happens whenever I feel the presence of God come over me. I sing at heights that I never thought any man would sing.”
That amazing vocal gift shines on One Voice. Micah brings each track on the CD vibrantly to life—from the thumping, joyful world-beat of “Hosanna,” to the emotional ballad, “Overcome and Worthy,” to “Shout,” a celebratory, praise and worship song that calls believers to action because of their victory in Jesus Christ, which is a song that will resound in congregations around the globe. In writing songs for his new album, Micah didn’t have to go far to work with his favorite collaborator. His wife, Heidi, co-wrote much of the album, including the potent title track, “One Voice.” “I wrote the music and Heidi wrote all of the lyrics for
that song. She began to write the lyrics of that song: ‘different colors, many expressions, but when we worship, we sing to an audience of one, we are salt and light, the world must see us unified,” Micah says reciting the lyric. “It was just amazing to hear. She’s such a poet.”
Micah says the song provided the perfect title track to the album. “That song is a call to every nation, to every tongue, to every creed, to every culture, to every race to stop fighting,” he says. “Let’s get together. We are serving one God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s all be unified, and that’s the message of that song.” The album opener, “Heaven on Earth,” is a vibrant anthem that is connecting powerfully with people. “Desperate People” is a moving ballad that resonates with the body of Christ, it speaks of people seeking a deeper relationship with God. “Overcome & Worthy” is among Micah’s favorite songs. “The first time I heard it was at our local church in Houston,” he says. “I fell in love with the song, it was so powerful and so amazing.”
“Call of Love” was written by Heidi. One evening Micah and Heidi had loaded up their car with blankets and thermos full of hot chicken soup to distribute among the homeless in Houston. “We went under the bridge downtown and began distributing hot soup and the blankets,” recalls Micah. “I remember one gentleman shook my hand. He was freezing. He was shivering he said, ‘I thought that He had forsaken me, but I now believe that God really does love me.’ I cried and cried and cried. Heidi and I were literally crying driving home and singing the song that Heidi had written early last year . It was uncontrollable and I said, ‘this is what true ministry is.’ So ‘Call of Love’ speaks of that type of work— ‘for the broken and the shamed, let my heart burn like a flame, let me be the conduit of perfect love.’”
Micah continues to participate on the worship team at his home church in Houston when he’s in town, between recording and touring. He and his wife, Heidi, have been married 13 years and have five children. In a rather unusual blessing, Micah has been adopted. “Aside from all of this, I have a whole other life. I’m also a Prince,” he says. “I was legally adopted by a King in Ghana, Africa. I met his Royal Majesty in 2005. I was singing at a conference in Los Angeles and he was a keynote speaker at a luncheon, and when I finished singing, right before he got up to speak, he was crying.”
The two men struck up a friendship that developed into something stronger, and Micah takes great pride in his adopted nation. “Eighty percent of our kingdom is still undeveloped, exactly how God created it,” he says. “We are in the process of building it up—infrastructure, roads, things like that. It’s a very, very beautiful place. Ghana is one of the largest exporters of cocoa. Ghana distributes cocoa all over the world. Our mangos are the size of footballs. It is very organic, very plush. I have huge plans for my kingdom and for my people and I’m very excited.”
Micah and Heidi started Operation I Believe, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, launched in 2006 with platforms that include humanitarian and outreach initiatives. “Our vision is to go beyond the arts as our sole mean of ministry,” says Micah. “We want to deal with people as well as issues. We want to address the root causes of homelessness, and at the same time build shelters to feed, clothe and nurture people’s bodies as well as their spirits; to offer healing, hope, and rehabilitation. The music is key to the ministry, and it’s where we have invested the greatest part of our lives. But great songs about Jesus will not fill the stomach of someone who hasn’t eaten in days. Our dream is that my music will become part of a much bigger and multi-faceted ministry.
Micah Stampley has a global vision for spreading the gospel and showing the love of Jesus Christ to a hurting world. Music is the universal language and on One Voice, he issues an invitation to sing along. It’s an offer that’s too good to miss.