God is raising up an army of worshipers to lead this generation into battle. One of those God-appointed worship leaders is Martha Munizzi. An energetic and praise-filled woman of God, Munizzi has captured the hearts of gospel music lovers with songs like “Say The Name”, “Glorious”, “Because Of Who You Are” and “Jesus Is The Best Thing (That’s Ever Happened To Me)”. A protégé of praise and worship icon Israel Houghton, Martha Munizzi has become a household name in the Christian music industry. Singlehandedly, the GRAMMY and Soul Train Award Nominee and Dove and Stellar Award Winner has literally changed the face of the inspirational genre. With her dynamic and unapologetic style of praise and worship, she touches the very heart of the believer. Not only has she changed lives through her ministry, but she has savored the success of it as well becoming the best-selling independent artist in the history of gospel music, selling over 500,000 units. Not one to rest on her laurels, fans of her music can expect even more with her upcoming 6th release dropping in 2011, Make It Loud.
Gospel music is in Martha Munizzi’s blood. Beginning at the age of 8, her parents, who were traveling evangelists, took her and her sisters on the road. As she and her sisters got older, the family settled in Orlando, Florida and eventually as teens, Martha and her two sisters got a taste of singing on their own traveling across the state of Florida, performing at churches, conferences and Christian events. It was during this time when she met her husband, Dan Munizzi, who also played bass and keyboards for their music group.
Dan Munizzi was also raised with music “in his blood.” The son of two gifted musicians and singers in their own right, Dan grew up in the church, where he began playing the acoustic guitar at the age of 9, and quickly moved to the bass guitar and piano. Dan has always had an active role musically in every church that he has served in, and through the years has had the opportunity to share the stage with many of Gospel Music’s most well known Artists.
Dan and Martha met in 1984, and were married 3 years later and began their music ministry together. In 2002 she and Dan recorded Martha’s first CD entitled, Say The Name, with Dan as Executive Producer. The project introduced the cross-cultural praise and worship leader to a plethora of new fans and earned her the first of many Dove Award Nominations for Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year as well as her first GRAMMY Award Nomination for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album.
Shortly after Martha’s newfound success, Dan felt it was time to retire from his career as a Home Builder in Central Florida, and pursue music ministry full time. Being new to the music industry, Dan became a fast learner of the business and decided to take on the role of manager to his wife. It was a great fit for him and it wasn’t long before they began to see things happen very quickly.
Martha’s second release, The Best Is Yet To Come, truly put her on the “gospel musical map” and debuted on the Billboard Gospel Chart at #2 and the Billboard Christian Albums Chart at #6 in 2003. The CD, recorded live at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, TX, netted a slew of amazing tunes including “Glorious”, “I Know The Plans”, “Sing” and “God Is Here. The hugely popular hit “Because Of Who You Are”, gave Munizzi two more Dove Award Nominations for Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song of the Year and Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and an Oasis Award for International Female Artist of the Year. The success of The Best Is Yet To Come bestowed upon Martha a Stellar Award for Best New Artist of the Year and a Stellar Award Nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year. The accolades were evidence of the popularity and diversity of her music ministry and the acceptance of her unique style of praise in the gospel community. Martha Munizzi also became the first non-African American artist to walk away with a Stellar Award.
She followed up the release with her Christmas CD, When He Came in 2004, a musical collection of festive holiday tunes. The project caught the attention of the Stellar Awards again and the CD won for Special Event CD of the Year. Her next release, No Limits Live, was the first project released in conjunction with worship giant Integrity Music with general market distribution through Sony-BMG, enlarging her territory even further.
Debuting at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart in March 2006, nomination after nomination followed including three CCM Magazine Reader Choice Award Nominations (Female Artist of the Year, Praise & Worship CD of the Year and Worship Artist of the Year), two Stellar Award Nominations (Artist of the Year and Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year) and two Dove Award Nominations (Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year and Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year). In addition, she received a Christian Music Award for Female Artist of the Year for No Limits Live.
Change The World Live, a clarion call for Christians to take their rightful positions in the Kingdom, dropped in 2008 and included songs like “Invincible God”, “Dance” and the CD’s title tune. Martha’s twin sister Mary Alessi, Israel Houghton, and Micah Stampley were featured on the CD. Hitting #4 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart and #3 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums Chart, the project gave the artist her 8th & 9th Dove Award Nominations, this time for Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year, which she won, and for Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year for “Favor of God”.
Having performed with the best and brightest in Christendom, Munizzi has ministered with Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, CeCe Winans and Bishop T.D. Jakes. She’s been seen on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the Daystar Television Network. She was also tapped to perform on BET’s Celebration of Gospel and appeared in the movie, The Gospel. An artist picked to perform on the coveted “Sisters In The Spirit” Tour, Munizzi joined Yolanda Adams, Kelly Price, Juanita Bynum, RiZen and Sheila E. on the sold-out tour.
In 2009, God impressed upon Martha and Dan’s heart to begin the “EPIC Worship” movement, “EPIC” standing for Experience A Passionate Intimate Connection with God. Bringing together worship leaders from Florida including her twin Mary and William McDowell, the goal was to lift up the name of Jesus in an impromptu time of intimacy. They met periodically at different churches to sing and in no time, the movement grew exponentially. Artists and ministers such as Mark Chironna, Michael Gungor and Nicole Binion joined in. Martha says, “EPIC is a community of people looking for connection with each other and with God. But the bottom line is that we want God’s presence; it’s all about worship.”
With her husband Dan at the helm, Martha is prepping for her upcoming release, Make It Loud, an extension of EPIC Worship. Recorded live in Kissimmee, Florida, the project is certain to eclipse any other record that the praise and worship artist has done. With songwriting by Munizzi, Gungor, Jonathan Stockstill and even Munizzi’s daughter, Danielle, the artist sees God’s hand all throughout the record. “God brought together the right people and the right time for this project,” says Dan Munizzi. Not only is the project a snapshot of an incredible night of worship, but Martha and Dan see this project as a platform to expose many other up-and-coming worship leaders as well as new songs for the body of Christ. She’s currently preparing a mentoring program for worship leaders and wants to pass on the “torch of worship” to those coming behind her. Continuing to break down the generational and cultural walls that separate the body of Christ, Martha and Dan are two people on a mission to proclaim the awesomeness of God through the vehicle of worship.
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