The last two years have been a whirlwind for Richmond, Virginia policeman, Mervin Mayo, who became a viral sensation when his impromptu church rehearsal of a Marvin Sapp song garnered over a million Facebook views in 2020. The surprise fete also earned him coverage on CNN’s Headline News channel and a record deal with Tyscot Records. Earlier this year, he dropped “The Best Friend” which has already amassed a million digital streams, and now he’s heralding an original holiday song, “Christmas Time is Here” (Mervin Mayo / God’s Glory / Tyscot).
On the romantic ballad, Mayo celebrates both the sacred and secular aspects of the holiday season. His robust tenor bounces off an uplifting suite of strings, piano, and a soft backing choir. Producer Jeremy James (who’s worked with a variety of artists ranging from The Clark Sisters to Mali Music) combines the perfect balance of urban condiments with the bells and whistles that usually accompany yuletide tracks. It’s a welcome addition to the urban canon of seasonal melodies such as Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” and The Jackson 5’s “Give Love on Christmas Day.”
Music has always been a solace for Mayo who was raised by a single mother in Richmond’s tough Creighton Court housing projects where killings were regular happenings. His father was a heroin addict who was in and out of jail most of his life. “When I look back, I grew up in the wild wild West, but I didn’t know it was,” he says. A now-retired police officer, Curtis Simmons, became a role model to Mayo as a teenager and inspired him to become a policeman, a gig he’s held since 2005. “I said if I ever become a police officer, I want to do for others what he did for me,” he says.
Throughout his life, Mayo has sung for fun. He grew up singing in church. As an adult he sang with the regional R&B group, CHARM (Cool, Handsome, Attractive, Romantic, Men), and then later with the gospel group, CHANGED. In 2020, he was at his church singing Marvin Sapp’s “The Best in Me” and someone posted it on Facebook. In days, the video had gone viral, and the post eventually garnered a million views. A Tyscot Records exec spotted him and signed him up.
Now, Mayo has a larger platform to share his music and to also spread the word that there are more good police than bad. “People want to think police are trigger-happy,” he says. “The last thing a police officer wants to do is shoot somebody because if you shoot somebody your career is done forever. That’s not what the average policeman wants. They just want to make it home.”
– From a media release
Libra Nicole Boyd, PhD is a musician, award-winning author, gospel music aficionado, and the founder and editor of Gospel Music Fever™. Her commitment to journalistic integrity includes bringing you reliable gospel music content that uplifts and advances the art form. Libra is presently working on several scholarly projects about gospel music in the media as well as gospel music in social movements.