As a guest on a podcast talk show a few years ago, I didn’t see anything unusual about the recording process. I did notice several colorful framed album covers for a band known as HOTEL along the hallway. As the interview closed, I learned HOTEL lead singer Marc Phillips rose to regional acclaim in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but the reality of the rock star life began to takes its toll. The lights that once shined so bright grew dimmer with every disappointment and every broken promise. When the group disbanded in the early ’80s, the future was unclear, but the pain and disappointments of a lost dream were nothing compared to the challenge that lay ahead.
When Phillips was told he had stage 4 throat cancer, his world came to a halt. With a family to support and no way to make a living, what was the point in fighting? During his battle with cancer, he remembers strangers coming to his back door in pairs, offering to anoint his head with oil and pray over him for his healing. Although he did not know these individuals, he always welcomed them. To this day, he cannot remember their faces or their names, but their presence was no less impactful. We could call them everyday heroes, but to Phillips, they were angels sent directly from God to encourage him through some of his darkest moments.
Today Phillips’s gift of music shines in his band Groove Daddy. His autobiography Pouring It Out on Me shares the story about his life, his career, and his journey through cancer. With his 1979 hit song “You’ll Love Again” in mind, I asked him a few questions about what the phrase means 37 years later.
How do you impact the lives of others?
God has gifted me to be a musician, and I think music speaks to the soul like no other art form. Music can cause people to reflect, to call up memories of long ago, to laugh, to dance, to feel sad, or to even to fall in love. It strikes at the heart of every person. It truly is a universal language. I lead worship for children at Double Oak Community Church in Mt Laurel, and I also lead worship for adults at a church called GracePoint in Pelham. I think that being a musician and being a worship leader are two completely different roles. Both are incredible gifts from God, and I love having the ability to do each one.
I am also currently working at Kings Home, where I have started a music program for the kids who live there. This has been one of the most incredibly rewarding things I have ever done. At Kings Home I have been able to see how music and God come together in a way that I never would have expected. It has been awesome!
Tell us about your experience through cancer and how that led you on a path to make a difference in the lives of others.
I am now a throat cancer survivor of 11 years. My view of life is very different than it used to be. I see life as being very fragile and short. No one is promised tomorrow, and I believe that everyday is a gift. All I know is that I have been left on this earth to tell my story to everyone, every chance I get. I really do love to go around to different places and share my testimony to everyone I can. It is a very real God story of healing and faith, and I believe my story can be an encouragement to those who might be struggling with hardships that this life can deal you.
What advice would you give others about how to think about love first?
We live in dark times. The world is changing, and in my opinion not for the better. It is full of hate, terror, anger, war, and self-centeredness. I myself am far from being perfect and far from where I would like to be as a person. But all I can do is try and love people where they are and try not to judge because you never know what someone else might be going through. Everybody has the ability to love and care for others, but it is a choice. So make that choice, and as the old song says, “Let your little light shine!”
To learn more about Phillips, visit marcphillipsmusic.com.