Its been some time since we have conducted an interview here on T.U.M.S., But maybe Terrill felt like doing some more to keep y’all interested. With that said comes our conversation with Gospel great Donnie McClurkin! Off the heels of his latest release, “We Are All One”, Donnie touches on the making of the record, who he is listening to in the gospel music industry & much more! We are very honored!!
TERRILL: Good morning Pastor McClurkin, how are you doing? Welcome to the Urban Music Scene!
DONNIE: God bless you Terrill. I’m doing fine, how are you?
TERRILL: Good man, I’m just doing it man. Thank you so much. Talk to us about your new recording “We Are All One,” the new live recording…
DONNIE: Well, it’s a recording that just came out of the need for me to relay to the people…..of the need for us to praise our differences. And understand that each person is individual in the sight of God and he loves us all the same and that there are no schisms or divisions that really should bind us. But we should begin to walk in unity, to fellowship and that’s what I wanted to relay.
TERRILL: I understand that you have a mix of some nice live recordings as well as some studio tracks?
DONNIE: Yes, yes.
TERRILL: You had brought together, special guests Mary Mary, CeCe Winans, & Yolanda Adams (to name a few) on board. Before I go any further, there’s a song called “Wait On The Lord,” with gospel songbird Karen Clark Sheard…
DONNIE: Oh yes, that’s the driving song on the CD.
TERRILL: “Wait on the Lord.” (To see video, please click here.)
DONNIE: “Wait on the Lord.” Yes.
TERRILL: Perfect timing for the economic times, Huh?
DONNIE: I don’t know if it was purposeful, but it fell right into place. You know..Karen Clark Sheard….Karen drives the song so that it stays in you for the rest of your life. That girl can just sing. And when I wrote the song, she came in at the last minute because I had somebody else that was going to sing that day, they got billed three days before. I called Karen and Karen said, ‘oh no I’ll do it’ and came into rehearsal – and it is what you heard.
TERRILL: Oh wow. I tell you what, it’s such an amazing track. Not so much if you hear it from a recording somewhere; but also when you two perform live. When you do it live it’s more captivating.
DONNIE: Well because then you can actually see, uh feel the tangible anointing of God and how it really is from our individual experiences.
DONNIE: With Karen and I singing, it’s not so much like it’s from the single of the CD. It is our life’s experience. God can give you a testimony about how she almost died going through a procedure in the hospital, in a coma for about a month. And how everybody began to pray and wait for God to heal her. So we’re singing from experiences that we’ve been through. So that makes it much more dynamic.
TERRILL: Going back to you know – about how much the song, rides parallel to the difficult times that we’re in. It definitely has to be one of the top choices for uplifting gospel songs for the year.
DONNIE: That’s how God does, you know it wasn’t purposeful. I didn’t purposely write a song to deal with the relevant, you know, issues. It’s just God. He interrupts your plans and say, “I want them to hear this and I want them to trust me.”
TERRILL: Great song!
DONNIE: “…I want to know I’m not going to leave them. If they just wait on me. I’m not going to leave them. Tell them to wait on me. Tell them I’m going to show up in my own timing.”
TERRILL: I receive that Pastor. I receive that. And then of course going down to one of your other tracks. In terms of collaborations for duets – CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, and Mary Mary. What was it like to record with these four beautiful ladies on “When You Love?”
DONNIE: Well, it’s a lovely thing. It’s a wonderful thing. All of them are like sisters to me. In this era of gospel music, the majority of gospel artists are so close and so real. That it is the first time in the history of gospel music that we’re each other’s fan and we’re each other’s family. And literally, we know each other’s kids. I’ve known CeCe’s kids since they were about born. Yolanda’s daughter Taylor, you know the whole nine yards. And Ericka and Tina’s kids and we’re family. So when it comes to work, it’s not really a job. ‘Can we do it.’ ‘Oh you need some help? okay’, That’s the way it was. I called and said Yolanda I got a piece of a song, “oh go on and send it to me,’ and Yolanda said ‘I’ll do it no problem.”
TERRILL: And that’s the kind of relationships that makes great music. You know, when you can count on one another to come in to play a part, be a part and to become such a very spiritually anointing calling and well received for – its good to hear that that all came about for that particular track. So the album in general, there are other songs you would put out there for gospel lovers to look out for?
DONNIE: I did a track called “The Great I Am.” And It was nothing but a juberant, Church of God in Christ, tambourine raised feeling track. You could see people dancing in the aisles when you hear it. And that’s one of my favorites because it brings out the church in me, the old man church in me. The production of Aesap Ford, a brother named Aesap Ford. He produced the ‘snot’ out of that song. He produced that, so it was unbelievable. I mean literaly by the end of this song you’d be dancing.
TERRILL: That’s all right! That’s why I can’t wait to hear it and it’s coming my way. And to record the tracks at the Straight Gate International Church in Detroit?
DONNIE: That’s it.
TERRILL: Talk to us about the church.
DONNIE: That’s Bishop Andrew and Vivica Merritt. They are some of the most humble and loving people that I’ve met. They got a church there and it houses about 4,500 people and it was jammed pack. But the doors were so opento us and to let us come in there and he stayed for the whole entire thing.
TERRILL: Oh wow.
DONNIE: Just great leaders in Detroit and a landmark ministry in Detroit.
TERRILL: And I’m sure the recording resonated all that feeling, all that flow.
TERRILL: You have a very exciting release coming!
DONNIE: It’s absolutely energetic.
TERRILL: Right, that’s what I’m talking about. All of your music is energetic as well, as well as educational, if you will for the word of God. As opposed to being a motivational singer too. And you know we can’t stop pretty much short of all the accolades that already may have came your way. Speaking of that term and terms of gospel music … The music that you create Pastor that is – the music that is out today from the old school to the new school, what is it about new school gospel today that you feel is great? How do you look at gospel now and where do you see gospel going into the next couple of years or so?
DONNIE: I think what the, what the new school offers is wonderful because the talent is so far advanced. It is so acute, they’re singing better than we’ve ever sung. And they’re writing songs with flare, that are reminiscent of secular but so strong in the message. We got young boys like 21:03, you got KiKi Sheard, Karen’s daughter and the list goes on and on. The new talent that’s coming up is absolutely on fire. You got Crystal Aikin out of Sunday’s Best. And they are adding such life to stuff and I love that about them. Kirk Franklin, he’s not even considered youth anymore, but he’s still a father of this young hip hop following. Tonex, everything that is adding on to the growth of gospel music. And I see it, I was looking at kids 12 and 14 years old and 15 and 16 years old. I go to church in Missouri. I feel that the longevity of gospel music, I feel that its coming up behind us. “21:03” are going be old men and the kids that are coming up behind them are going to be greater than them and that – that scares me and it gives me great hope.
TERRILL: That’s inspiring to hear from you. Out of the groups mentioned or even some that you probably haven’t, is there anyone out today that’s really grabbing your attention at this moment?
DONNIE: I would say KiKi Sheard, which I have. The only CD I listen to over and over again. And she’s just 21 years old.
TERRILL: Wow. Man that CD is blazing!
TERRILL: Yes. And speaking of … going back again to your new album right now – Are you planning to do any tours or special productions coming up to promote it or to do any live performances?
DONNIE: Yes, we have. We’re setting up a date on TBN to do a whole CD on TBN and send it out across the globe. We’re setting up with the record company and Feed the Children and a couple of other entities, a 40-city tour.
TERRILL: Great, great.
DONNIE: Due by the end of this year (2009).
TERRILL: Great, great. Man you know what, we’re so excited for you Pastor and we’re so thankful of you for taking the time out to spend with us. We wish you the best. Is there anything that you’d like to share with The Urban Music Scene listeners out there?
DONNIE: Now, I just want to thank you and every one of the listeners for the support that you all have been giving me through the greatest and even the most controversial things I’ve gone through. The support that you all have given me has sustained me and given me the breath and the break to be able to get myself back together and to stand strong and not let down the gospel of Jesus Christ and I really want to thank you all for that.
TERRILL: You’re more than welcome. We thank you for staying consistent and being such a blessing in the gospel market, in the gospel field and also being a motivational speaker at that. And we would like to know down the line – If it’s possible to do a part two of an interview maybe six months to a year down the road?
DONNIE: Oh sure, sure. I’d be more than happy to.
TERRILL: Sir thank you so much for your time and I’m not going to take you away from that. God bless you and we’ll talk soon.
DONNIE: Thank you so much, I appreciate that.
TERRILL: You got it sir, take care.
DONNIE: Bye, bye.
Visit Donnie McClurkin’s website by clicking here!