By: Shenelle Wallace

Marcus Aaron Pass has just arrived at his gig, his 4th show after three services for the day. He has his game face on and it’s about to go down. On stage that is. It’s a night of celebration for one of TRU Praise’s very own. Seeing TRU Praise perform is like seeing a live performance front row and center at the Grammys. They feel the music. They believe what they’re saying and you will believe it too. Their energy level is insane. Founded 6 years ago by lead singer Marcus Aaron Pass AKA “Big Uncle Tru”, the groups’ long awaited debut album is finally released. With more than 10 members, all hailing from the Tristate area, killer saxophonists, dynamic bass guitars, sultry keyboards, and more, all contribute to the group’s creative style.

Shenelle Wallace: Congratulations on your album reaching # 6 on iTunes the first day it was released.

Marcus Aaron Pass: Thank you, thank you! God is good.

Shenelle Wallace:  I know it’s been a long time coming. What took you guys so long?

Marcus Aaron Pass: Besides money which is very important, it took me a long time to get the ideas together and the people. The right people in the right places so the right things could happen. But once God worked it out everything just started flowing the way it needed to go.

Shenelle Wallace: TRU Praise has 13 members?

Marcus Aaron Pass: Just about, yes.

Shenelle Wallace: How did the group come together?

Marcus Aaron Pass: Well, with each member there’s a different story. The drummer is my little brother so he was with me originally. It used to be just me and him. I used to play the organ and sing, and he would be on the drums. As for the other members,  I would see people walking down the street with their guitar and I would ask them when they started playing, and tell them they should come out to the rehearsals. That’s how we pretty much came together. God just brought us all.

Shenelle Wallace: The album is entitled “Journey.” What is the TRU Praise journey all about?

Marcus Aaron Pass: Basically the journey through life. A lot of times in life people feel that the destination is the most important part. The finish line is all they care about. But you actually learn more from getting to the finish line before actually crossing it. Take running track for instance. It’s the endurance that gets you around all those laps. It really strengthens you and builds you up. Crossing the finish line is good, but it’s actually what you did on those laps that make a difference. So it’s about the journey.

Shenelle Wallace: The name “TRU Praise” stands for “Through Righteous Uplifting Praise.” We hear about praise and worship every Sunday but there are still those people who don’t know exactly what Praise really is. Can you break it down for us?

Marcus Aaron Pass: It’s what we all were created for. A lot of times we get it mixed up, but praise is not about us at all. Some people think that if they had a better worship leader they would be able to praise better, or if they went to another church, or had better musicians or sing certain songs. Praise has nothing to do with any of that. It’s simply giving thanks to God for everything that He is to you. Giving Him your all. God is always the same and the things that He does for you has nothing to do with anything else around you. So your praise should be as intense every single time. Praise is what God deserves.

Shenelle Wallace: You have a popular song “Glad that I’m Saved.” What was your life like before Christ?

Marcus Aaron Pass: Ahh man, we’re going to need more time! My life can be a movie! I was a crazy guy. I wasn’t a thug, beating people up or shooting them, but I had a problem with women. I asked God to please help me get my mind right and save my soul. He really turned my life around.

Shenelle Wallace: What was the turning point?

Marcus Aaron Pass: The turning point for me was when I saw myself as better than what I was. I got tired of hurting people. The relationship that I was in before I met my wife, I really, really broke her heart. I felt bad for the way that I treated her, and every other woman before her. I saw myself as an animal and I didn’t want to be that. The first thing was I wanted to be a better person, and then it was I want to be like Christ.

Shenelle Wallace: What is your life like now that you’re saved?

Marcus Aaron Pass: Now that I’m saved, my life is totally different in the sense that I know that God is always with me. Before I thought I had to do everything by myself. I realize now that my path is ordained and everything that I have to do He already gave me the strength to do it. I know that as long as I continue to trust in Him everything will work out.

Shenelle Wallace: Were you raised in the church at all?

Marcus Aaron Pass: Yes! I was. That’s the crazy part. My grandmother is the pastor of the church I go to. That’s my father’s mother. He left us, but my mother still brought us there, to church. The way I saw it was that she [my mother] raised us in the church of the man’s mother who left us. It was a weird situation. I went there, but I wasn’t [mentally] there. I went on Sundays but I wasn’t a church guy at all. It was a family thing. Just a thing to do.

Shenelle Wallace: How is it that you could be in church, in the presence of God and still not mentally be there?

Marcus Aaron Pass: Because it became a ritual. It became something I did every Sunday. I play the organ so that’s the only reason I was there. But after that, it was all over.

Shenelle Wallace: How do you feel about the state of Christianity and those who identify with being a Christian?

Marcus Aaron Pass: There are some true Christians, but there are some people caught up in the ritual, like how I was. They get caught up in going to church every day and they feel like as long as they go then they’re alright.

Shenelle Wallace: Do you think that we have missed the mark somehow?

Marcus Aaron Pass: A lot of us miss the mark. And it’s not just Christians’, people in general and society as a whole. We’re in a place now where we’re more concerned about the outside and not really the in. There’s all these reality T.V. shows that displays what everybody does from day to day, but it not getting inside the person and finding out what’s making them do these things. It’s not just Christianity. Sometimes the blame is on Christians but it’s a personal thing. A lot of people in the world right now are going through identity crisis. They don’t who they really are. They try to fit in everywhere instead of just realizing that what God has created you to be is what you need to be.

Shenelle Wallace: I noticed that TRU Praise is not the suit wearing tie wearing group everyone is pretty comfortable. Is that purposely done to make a statement?

Marcus Aaron Pass: If I did have a suit and a tie on I would be being something that I’m not. I’m a regular dude. Before I got saved I was rapping and singing R&B. When I got saved I was like what am I going to do now? I’ll use what I used to do, for God. I can’t be anything else. If I put on a suit and tie. I would be being something that I’m not. I probably wouldn’t sound as good.

Shenelle Wallace: You have a huge following and you’re independent. How were you able to promote the group and all that you do?

Marcus Aaron Pass: We did a lot of concerts. We’ve been together for six years, and we’ve done shows where we got there first, and they put us up last, took the microphone out of my hand and said one song is enough. When you work hard at something, the benefits will come later, but you have to be really committed to what you’re doing and never giving up. Just work and everything else will follow.

Shenelle Wallace: You’re newly married–

Marcus Aaron Pass: Yes.

Shenelle Wallace: Congratulations on that!

Marcus Aaron Pass: Thank You!

Shenelle Wallace: The Bible says He who finds a wife finds a good thing. How does a man recognize when he finds a good thing?

Marcus Aaron Pass: I recognized that I found a good thing because I knew what I wanted. If a man dosen’t know himself, then how can he know what he really needs? If you’re still trying to figure out who you are, you’re going to have a hard time figuring out who you want.

Shenelle Wallace: The Journey for TRU Praise has begun. What will I hear about TRU Praise 10 years from now?

Marcus Aaron Pass: You will probably hear that they won more Grammy’s and more Stella’s than any other gospel artist ever. They successfully crossed over and merged gospel with every other genre. You’ll hear that millions and billions of people changed their life around after hearing our music, and that TRU Praise had the most coolest and humble people you’ve ever met.

To Purchase TRU Praise’s album, click here.