An early impetus for Bruce Parham’s career in gospel music came from his grandmother, who instructed her grandson in no uncertain terms to “Open up your mouth and sing!” Sing he did, before church congregations and annual gatherings at the Mt. Sinai Holy Church of America convention.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Pastor Arthur and Almeda Parham, Bruce began singing at age two. By age 20, “Philadelphia’s Son of Promise” was winning gospel music singing competitions.
While appearing at the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) in St. Louis, Missouri, Parham caught the attention of music executives who signed him to a recording contract. In 1990, he appeared as a vocalist on the GMWA National Youth Mass Choir album (Sweet Rain Records) and the annual GMWA Mass Choir release (Savoy Records).
Parham’s debut solo album, recorded with his Praise Factor ensemble, was appropriately titled Sing Bruce. The album, captured live at Bethany Baptist Church in Somerdale, New Jersey, appeared on Lionel Darty’s Sweet Rain imprint in 1993. Two years later, Parham could be heard soloing on Savoy albums by Bishop Jeff Banks and the Revival Temple Community Choir of Newark, New Jersey, and by Rev. Timothy Wright and the London Fellowship Choir, recorded live in London, England.
Parham and Praise Factor’s first album for Savoy was 1996’s This One’s for You. The following year, Parham benefited from the support of the Las Vegas Trinity Mass Choir on his Savoy album We Will Give You Praise, recorded live at the Greater St. Paul Church of God in Christ in Las Vegas. Also in 1997, Parham was present for Pastor John P. Kee’s Victory in Praise Music & Arts Seminar, where he contributed lead vocals on Fight Every Battle, which appeared on the resulting 1998 Verity album Any Day. Indeed, Parham has been, and continues to be, a frequent guest vocalist on recordings by gospel artists and church choirs.
In 2005, Parham released a solo effort, Hide Me, for Steven Ford’s indie label. Three years later, Emily and Troy Sneed’s Emtro Records released Parham’s Dwell Together, which produced the single Call Jesus and the equally popular He Won’t Fail. Parham’s most recent album, Your Presence, arrived in June 2018 on the We Here Now label.
Around age 20, just as his professional singing career was revving up, Parham entered the religious ministry. He founded Wilmington, Delaware’s Oasis of Refreshing Ministries in 1998 and remains its pastor today. In November 2001, he helped found Fresh Fragrance Covenant Fellowship, a multicultural charismatic denomination that oversees his church and others. At the July 2006 Fresh Fragrance Holy Convocation, Parham was elevated to bishop and now serves as the denomination’s presiding prelate.In July 2006, Bishop Parham was consecrated to the Sacred Holy Order of Bishop by his spiritual father, Bishop Wilbert Baltimore at the Holy Convocation of the Fresh Fragrance.In July 2006, Bishop Parham was consecrated to the Sacred Holy Order of Bishop by his spiritual father, Bishop Wilbert Baltimore at the Holy Convocation of the Fresh Fragrance.