Donnie McClurkin never intended to be one of the major gospel stories
of the last decade. But, for someone whose Verity Records debut
Live in London and More is only his second solo album, the
award-winning artist has certainly been making the rounds. He's
performed at the White House for two presidents. He's appeared at
countless conferences and crusades. He's taking gospel music to
a wider audience daily, from his involvement in the massive Prince
of Egypt soundtrack project to his performance on Oprah Winfrey.
"I'm not going to take credit for what God has done,"
McClurkin says. "Any successes I've had, any of the people
He's put it in my pathit's all been for His purposes. There
are so many avenues through which we can serve Him. And wherever
I am, as long as I know I'm in His purpose and plan, it will be
right where He wants me to be."
McClurkin, who serves as associate minister of the 2000-member
Perfecting Church in Detroit, Mich., was born and raised in Amityville,
N.Y. His world had been characterized by violence, alcoholism, and
Finding a safe haven in his church, Gospel Tabernacle Assemblies
of God, he made a commitment to Christ at age 9. When he was 11,
he met gospel legend Andraé Crouch at a church concert. The
venerable artist became his role model, mentor and friend. "He
had been a hero long before I ever met him," McClurkin says.
"He took me under his wing and became a teacher and role model
to me. He was the influence in my life, spiritually and musically."
A resident of Detroit, Mich., since 1987, McClurkin went on to
form the New York Restoration Choir, recording with them in 1989.
A song from their album I Feel Well, "Speak to My Heart,"
inspired a small but strong following in the gospel community. "Each
album after that had a big song on it that continued to build our
reputation." He adds, chuckling, "God just got behind
it, just like He got behind that rock David threw at Goliath! It's
all been nothing else but Him."
got nothing to do with me," McClurkin says. "I'm
just standing back amazed at what God's doing."
McClurkin's singing and choir directing has taken him to the White
House, performing for Presidents Bush and Clinton, and led to a
career-propelling appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
"Now who is going to tell me every bit of all that has happened
to me is anything but the hand of God at work? It's got nothing
to do with me," McClurkin says. "I'm just standing back
amazed at what God's doing."
His stature is sure to grow with the release of the anticipated
Live in London and More, recorded before a packed house at
the historic Fairfield Hall in Croyden, England.
The album kicks off with the funky "That's What I Believe,"
based on an idea that came to him sitting in church one Sunday.
"I realized that I wasn't there just to do my Christian duty
and go to church," McClurkin says. "I was very focused
on a purpose and I needed to receive deliverance from the Lord that
night. God promised deliverance to those who come to Him, and I
was determined I was going to get what I'd come for."
the rousing "Who Would've Thought," McClurkin duets with
his friend Marvin Winans, senior pastor of Perfecting Church, where
McClurkin serves as assistant pastor. "Marvin Winans is my
pastor and my best friend in the whole world, but this is the first
time we've ever recorded together. We sing this song in our church
almost every Tuesday night. I wrote it from the perspective of a
non-believer who would laugh at Christians, and at worshiping God,
who one day discovers his own need for Christ, Who would've thought
I'd be here on my knees myself one day."
The gentle, heart-touching "Just For Me" came to McClurkin
as he sat in a New York taxi, racing to get to rehearsal. "That
song just leapt into my mind," he says. "I began thinking
about just what does the cross really mean? For me, the cross represents
the love Christ had when He died to set me free from sin. It's a
whole lot more than an ornament around your neck. Thirty minutes
later, when I got to my rehearsal, the song was completely finished."
Even as his career continues to skyrocket, McClurkin holds as tightly
to the Gospel message as the day he committed his life to Christ
at age 9. "I want to introduce Jesus Christ to the world, not
as a religious leader, but as an intimate Friend who wants to radically
change our lives," he explains. "Entertainment is not
my goal, but that God be pleased and someone who hears experiences
Jesus in a greater way."Pick up the latest issue of Release Magazine at your local store or check out their website for more artist interviews.Used with permission, Release Magazine