But back then, the chart-topping singer said, it never occurred to him that he could make a living from gospel music.
“I didn’t even know there was an industry for it,” Wilson said with a laugh.
Today, he headlines a Gospel Extravaganza at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta. The St. Patrick’s Day concert also features IV Christ, Stellar-award nominee Claude Deuce Harris, Trey McLaughlin and the Sounds of Zamar, and Jennifer Johnson.
Wilson will perform songs from his new project, So Proud, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart in February. The title single, So Proud, was produced by Grammy-, Dove- and Stellar-award winning producer Aaron Lindsey, one of several collaborators on Wilson’s sophomore project.
Other tracks on the 12-song release were produced or co-written by award-winning producers Stan Jones and P.J. Morton.
“I call them songs from my heart about how my heart relates to God,” said Wilson, who will share portions of his testimony at today’s event. “I hope we’re able to make some connections and speak some encouragement and truth.”
The title track speaks to the unique worth of each person, Wilson said. “I believe God gave it to me as a reminder of our value,” he said. “You’ve got to know God has given you something of value in this life. ... I don’t know if you can call it a gospel song, but it’s certainly about people who believe in the gospel.”
So Proud follows Wilson’s 2010 debut, Just Love, which stayed at the top of the Christian Music Trade Association’s Inspirational Al-bums chart for 52 weeks. It also held steady in the Top 20 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for more than 90 weeks, longer than any other CD on Billboard’s Top 50 list in 2010.
The response to his work has been humbling, Wilson said.
“My prayer is that I’m able to continue to create great music as my career progresses,” he said. “We’re still getting the word out and want to let the people of Augusta know what we’re doing.
Wilson said he hopes that, over the years, he’s able to write a body of songs that positively impact the body of Christ.
“The thing about gospel music is it’s a slow burn. You want to be sure you’re in it for the long haul,” he said. “This isn’t the type of thing you retire from.”