Mark Bishop, Southern Gospel Music's Great Singer - Story Teller
Mark Bishop is one of Southern Gospel music’s finest singers and songwriters and one of my favorites. On this page you will find information about Mark Bishop and his music, lyrics to his songs, and tips for songwriters.
You will also find insight into the music from some of his finest CDs including the Dove Award nominated,"Everyday", Can I Pray for You", my personal favorite (it's a tough call!), "The Song in My Heart" and, "Faith, Family, And Friends"
You will also find lyrics to his latest project, "Abundant Sunshine".
Mark Bishop, His Life and Music
Mark Bishop has been sharing his music for over twenty years. Mark’s musical beginnings are traced back to his childhood in rural Kentucky. “We would sit on the porch – this was back before you had 400 channels on TV – so we didn’t go in the house in the evening when dad came home from work and watch TV."
"We would come out and play in the yard and then sit on the porch. Mom would fix some blackberry cobbler from the blackberries that we picked and some ice cream, and we would sit there and harmonize and sing songs. When we thought that we were good enough we would sing in church”.
The Early Years
Mark Bishop originally sang with his brother, Kenny Bishop, and his mother. But it wasn’t until he had found salvation that he started to sing in church. “I didn’t open my mouth to sing until I was about 17 years old”, Mark reflected. “My brother had sung in choirs and in chorus in high school and I would call him ‘sissy’ and make fun of him and everything for singing in the choir – it wasn’t my thing back then.”
Salvation and Writing
Shortly after Mark gave his life to the Lord he began to sing with his family in their home church. It was at this time that his passion for writing Southern Gospel music came into bloom. “Almost immediately, when I got interested in singing, I got interested in song writing. I think that that is the thing that I am most passionate about."
“The first song that I ever wrote was when I was courting my wife”, Mark said. He and some of his Bluegrass playing friends “set up outside of my wife’s family’s porch…the banjo, upright bass…we looked like The Darlings from the Andy Griffith Show.”
The Bishops Years
As the Bishop family’s musical abilities became well known, they were asked to play in various churches throughout the region. It was at this time that Mark’s mother gave up singing with the group. That left Mark, his father Kenneth, and brother Kenny. Together they became known as The Bishops.
During their years together, The Bishops produced twenty-five recordings. The Bishops are credited with twenty-seven Top 40 Southern Gospel songs, including twelve Top 5 songs and three Number 1 songs.
Top Ten songs written by Mark Bishop include: “Reach The World”, “When Jesus Is All That I Have”, “For Every Cross There is a Crown”, “Great Things”, “You Can’t Ask Too Much of My God” which was named Song of the Year by the Southern Gospel Music Songwriters Association in 1997.
“ ‘Great Things’ was actually one of dad’s favorite songs to perform and sing”, Mark said. “ I had written that song thinking that a more progressive Bluegrass group (might sing it)- I kept hearing Bluegrass harmonies on the song. If you would hear the demo I did of that song it sounds like it would come off better acoustic with more of a traditional mountain type harmony.”
“When we got in the studio our harmony was still mountain type but we updated the music. I still sing that song quite a bit and I still think it has a message that is just as relevant today.”
Son of a Carpenter
One of Mark Bishop’s songs that I play on the Morning Show at He’s Alive Radio was never released as a single yet was one of the most requested songs I’ve ever played. The song is, “Son of a Carpenter” from his “The Song in My Heart” project. “That is one of my favorite songs to perform live”, comments Mark.
“It tells a vivid story of how the Son of God came to earth and walked among men and women just like you and I and so many people that we know. People with their daily worries and concerns and cares. They were seeing the miracles take place before their eyes and they couldn’t explain them any better than we could have if we had been there or if they were happening in front of us today.”
“So I just took that perspective. I picked out one person and said ‘okay, what if one person was privy to seeing al of the miracles that took place’ and then I made him a character that you wouldn’t expect. But that is not revealed until the end of the song.”
It’s a great song that stopped me in my tracks the first time that I heard it. It is from the CD entitled, "The Song in My Heart"
Mark Bishop – The Song Writer
Mark Bishop is one of Southern Gospel music’s most prolific songwriters. Mark’s writing has progressed from his humble beginning of writing a love song for his wife-to- be, to penning several Number 1 songs. He has become one of music’s great storytellers.
When I asked Mark about his progression into writing story based lyrics he replied, “These were the songs that, as a song writer, I was always interested in. It was always the kind of music that I enjoyed. But when I was writing for the group (the Bishops), it wasn’t enough for a song to appeal to me. It had to pass through a couple of other filters.”
“I had to keep in mind, ‘Okay, dad has to like this song, and Kenny has to like this song.’ Dad liked things more traditional and Kenny liked things a little more progressive. So to find something that appealed to both of them, a lot of times was a hard thing to do.”
“Now as a soloist, I’ve finally gotten to the place where I don’t have to write to please somebody else’s ear. If it appeals to me, than I can go ahead and record it.”
This page is not finished....more to come!
Link To Mark Bishop's, "Abundant Sunshine" Lyrics
Link to Mark Bishop's, "Everyday" lyrics
Link to Mark Bishop's, "Song In My Heart" Lyrics
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