For a man who has declared that he may at any moment cease making music to concentrate fully on his passion for ministering, Donnie McClurkin can never stay away long from recording profoundly uplifting music for the soul. The evidence: his latest collection We All Are One (Live in Detroit) – his breathlessly anticipated first music recording in five years! Along for the momentous celebration are very special guests CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Mary Mary and Karen Clark-Sheard. Once again, Donnie, his singers and musicians share the joy of God’s bounty – live before an on-fire congregation where platinum-plus Pastor McClurkin’s vocal and testimonial gifts have always shined their brightest.
“I decided to record in Detroit after much prayer. I put a lot of thought into the cities we record,” Donnie shares. “My mentor Andrae Crouch made one of his best CDs live in London, so I did the same thing some 20 years afterwards (resulting in the platinum Live in London…and More CD which included Donnie’s now classic anthem “We Fall Down”). I recorded my CD Again in California because my first time ever being given a platform in someone else’s church was 1982 in Los Angeles at West Angeles Church of God and Christ. Recording in Detroit this time goes without saying because that’s home! I was there for 13 years and was a charter member at Perfecting Church which was founded by Marvin Winans. Even with Detroit’s tough transitions and hard situations, the church has always been the mainstay that holds everything together. By bringing this recording to Detroit and bringing the churches together there, we can aid in the healing of that city.”
The themes of the 12-song We All Are One are of unity and tolerance. Donnie explains, “Jesus said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand,’ yet we remain disconnected: Republicans and Democrats, Blacks, Whites, Yellows and Browns, Baptists and Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians… Where is the unity? Coming from a religious background, I was taught to judge harshly, but my thinking now is, ‘Let God do the judging so that I may learn how to love and understand the ways in which we are all connected.’ I believe that lesson of compassion and fellowship will ultimately be learned by the young ones coming behind me. For my song ‘We All Are One,’ I brought in Asaph Ward – one of the greatest producers in gospel music – and we came up with a ‘World Beat’ to unite the masses. At the end of the song, adult voices fade into children’s voices singing, ‘We all are one in The Lord,’ driving home the point that you have to come to Him as a child.”
We All Are One (Live in Detroit) is a boldly eclectic collection from McClurkin, moving from the powerfully opener “Trusting in You” and the lilting call and response vibe of “You Are My God and King” (featuring a playful battle of the choir sections on the “Reprise”) to the soul-soothing “Let the River Flow” and a duet with the ever-amazing Karen Clark-Sheard for “Wait on The Lord.”
Donnie enthuses, “On ‘I Choose to Be Dancing,’ we incorporated many different feels – hard rock with the guitars and strings for the culture sound, but we kept the rhythm section urban. And on my praise and worship ‘Halleujah Song’ – which God gave me on a Sunday when we were all up in church praying – the idea of praising God in a succession of different languages just came to me at the last second! We sing in Dutch, Spanish and the African language Yoruba. Oshe ba ba means ‘Thank you, Father.’ ”
Among the most profound songs on We All Are One is the piano and strings meditation “All We Ask,” on which Donnie weaves the testimonies of three different people, verse by verse, immortalizing them in song. Donnie explains, “The first verse is about a young man who came to me trying to find his place in life, the second verse is from my personal story, and the last verse is about my older sister Olivia, who was dying at the time that I wrote the song. She is now deceased. I wouldn’t let anyone else play the piano on it because I knew exactly how I wanted the music to be interpreted, but when my sister passed I did not have the strength to use my voice. So I turned ‘All We Ask’ into a feature for my background singers who have been with me faithfully since 1996 (in order of appearance: Duwane Starling; Donnie’s younger sister Andrea Mellini; Sherry Maghee and Nancey Jackson –Johnson).
An undeniable standout is “When You Love” which transcends the church to speak about love on an earthly plane. “That’s one of my favorites,” Donnie shares. “We must remember that God didn’t just make us spirit. He made us body, mind and spirit. The song is inspirational – derived from the gospel – but based solely on love…how to love, what to do when you love, how to act when you’re in love… It lifts men and women out of the lust that’s all over the radio and into commitment, romance, even respecting your elders – the whole gamut! I had to get the ladies CeCe and Yolanda, along with Erica and Tina of Mary Mary, to help me. It’s a beautiful song without any risqué, ambiguous or alternative messages. This is simply about the heart of God and how He wants us to learn to love purely.”
McClurkin’s pure love for the Lord has grown through crippling adversity that ultimately fortified his faith ten-fold. Born November 9, 1959, in Amityville, New York, his childhood home was mired in domestic violence and drug abuse until an aunt who sang with the great Andrae’ Crouch introduced him to the musical icon who in turn introduced him to his future. Young Donnie played keyboards with his church youth choir before forming the McClurkin Singers with relatives and friends in 1979. Following a calling to preach, he never loosened his grasp on music. In 1989 Donnie started the NY Restoration Choir and recorded the album I See A World, which contained the classic “Speak to My Heart.”
Two near-simultaneous events changed McClurkin’s life forever. Just as he was appointed as an associate minister at Marvin Winans’ Perfecting Church in Detroit, he also learned that he’d been stricken with leukemia. While battling the disease, Donnie was signed to Warner Alliance Records as a solo artist where he recorded his pivotal self-titled album, marked by a smooth sophistication in the production that couched his soaring tenor for a series of soul-stirring numbers. Through BeBe Winans, media mogul Oprah Winfrey learned of Donnie’s music and struggle, invited him on her top-rated TV show , a golden opportunity that catapulted his CD to #4 on the gospel charts, recognition beyond the church world and gold + sales. Donnie soon after signed to Verity Records where his first CD, Live in London and More, would far surpass his solo debut thanks to secular radio embracing his gracefully reassuring “We Fall Down”. The song met with international acclaim, made the Top 40 of Billboard’s R&B chart and rocketed past platinum sales of over one million copies sold instantly making Donnie among gospel’s best selling artists.
He earned a trophy case full of Dove and Stellar Awards plus other honors including an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Gospel Artist. In 2001 Donnie graduated to establishing his own Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York, all the while continuing to release the magnificent musical works Again (2003) and the double-CD Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs (2005) each one garnering the coveted Grammy Award.
Today, McClurkin’s commitment to spreading God’s word far and wide is most evident in a last minute addition to the We All Are One album titled “Purple,” composed expressly for Donnie by Darren Atwater and performed by his truly inspiring Soulful Symphony in Baltimore, MD. “I’ve known Darren for years,” Donnie states. “I was doing a concert in Baltimore with him last year as a guest with his 40-piece orchestra. During rehearsal he introduced this new song of praise and the minute I heard it I went to hollerin’! I asked him what it was. He told me it was called ‘Purple’ and he’d written it just for me. I loved it so much that even though we were 90% finished with the album, I made room to add this song, which Darren produced himself. Darren Atwater is a genius as an arranger and conductor – manifesting real cultural exchange by bringing classical culture into the gospel environment. He also leads workshops that introduce young African Americans to acoustic instruments and the works of Chopin and Bach without a Pro Tools in sight! It gives them inspiration to maybe pick up a viola or a cello that they may never have experienced within their monoculture.”
Still, at the end of the day, Donnie McClurkin has been and always will be a, card carryin’ member of the Church of God and Christ (COGIC). Donnie bears witness to this fact via the unfiltered jubilance of his soul on the CD’s most exhilarating number, “The Great I Am.” “Holy Ghost revival songs are our specialty,” Donnie shouts! “I was just over here teaching some of the church members that stopped by how to ‘church dance’…and THAT is the song I played! There was a Bishop by the name of Gilbert Patterson who would always bring the old songs up at praise time. I wanted to write a song just like that, so I sat down to the piano, started playing an old-time gospel feel and this song just leapt out of me! When I got to the studio, the group was like, ‘This is so corny,” but I told `em, ‘Just sing what I tell you to sing!’ That night after Asaph got a hold of the music, and Trent Phillips and the band played it like second nature, the energy in the room just exploded!”
“I’ve always been in awe of God,” Pastor Donnie McClurkin concludes. “I didn’t want anything on my latest offering, We All Are One, to reflect suffering or ‘climbing up that mountain’ in the way to which traditional Black gospel is accustomed. I wanted to luxuriate in and celebrate in the greatness of God.”
Listen Weekdays 5a-6a and Saturday 10a-12n
The Yolanda Adams Morning Show
Yolanda Adams has accomplished what few singers before her have ever achieved: The ability to attract fans from all walks of life without ever straying from the intricate roots that nurtured her Grammy winning voice in the first place.
The cornerstone of her amazing career so far 1999′s platinum-plus, award winning Elektra Records debut, Mountain High_Valley Low(Yolanda once described it as her coming-out album’) established her as an undisputed gospel siren one of the key figures of the genre’s bold renaissance. Yolanda’s impressive musical range and undeniable charisma helped liberate gospel music’s more formal, traditional image. She’s also displayed the kind of vocal immediacy and vulnerability possessed by few pop singers. Her show stopping October 2001 performance of the classic song “Imagine,” on TNT’s Come Together: A Night For John Lennon as well as her performances on Oprah, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The View and countless others, sealed her reputation as gospel’s most transcendent ambassador.
Honored with an incredible array of awards within the last 2 years alone, including 2000′s Grammy award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, five Stellar Awards, two Soul Train Lady Of Soul Awards, and five NAACP Image Awards, Yolanda followed up with last year’s holiday gift to to her fans, Christmas With Yolanda Adams, and 2001′s acclaimed live album, The Experience. Now, after intense collaboration with some of the most revered producers working today, Yolanda steps back into the arena with her first collection of new material in three years _ the incredible 12-song masterpiece _Believe.
“I always get asked the same question,” says Yolanda, who takes an appreciative but modest attitude in regard to her ever-widening audience. “‘Will you get tired of gospel?’ ‘Is there a temptation to do something else?’ My answer has always been the same. No way. I’m a gospel artist. There’s no confusion about that. I like to sings songs that in the end touches everybody. There’s a humanity to these songs that gets in your blood.”
Believe runs deep with that humanity. Emboldened by another lineup of great producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, (who also produced her multi-format smash hit “Open My Heart” which spent most of 2000 at #1 on Billboard’s gospel and Contemporary Christian charts), Shep Crawford, Kevin Bond, Mike City, Warryn Campbell and Buster & Shavoni – Yolanda raises the musical bar on this one, strengthening her own formidable song writing skills to meet the challenges she places on herself. “I like to work with great people because it makes me work harder,” she says.
Yolanda points out that working with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis was a long awaited reunion. The superstar duo helms three songs on the new disc “I’m Gonna Be Ready,” “Never Give Up,” and the album’s in-your-face closer, “I’m Thankful.” The angelic, inspiring “Never Give Up” shines as one of Yolanda’s most tender ballads, singing heartfelt lines such as: /Keep the dream alive don’t ever let it die./ “It was a joy to write. Getting together with Jimmy and Terry was like having a reunion with your big brothers,” she says. “They have such great spirit and heart. I believe we’ll be collaborating for the rest of my career. When we get together, it’s so natural, it’s like OK, I have this title – I have this verse – what do you have?’”
On Believe, Yolanda switches musical gears from song to song with an amazing ability to complement each producer’s unique style. She talks about some of the diverse ingredients on Believe. “There’s Mike City (“A Song Of Faith,” “Unconditional”) who is very good with taking risks, he’s a young cat who you know is going to bring some real progressive ideas,” she says. “And then you have someone like Shep Crawford (“I Gotta Believe,” “Fo’ Sho”) who lets you get in there and really express yourself.” The latter song features a duet with gospel legend and recently signed Elektra artist Karen Clarke Sheard of the Clarke Sisters. “I have been a fan of hers since I was 11 years old,” says Yolanda. “I was so thrilled that she could contribute something to this record. It’s so wonderful when you have the opportunity to actually show your appreciation to one of your influences.” Yolanda’s incredible rise has been about honoring those influences, but also never being afraid to – as she puts it – “spread my wings.”
Her road to the top of the musical mountain’ has been filled with the kind of conviction that now causes a new generation of singers to cite her as an influence. A former schoolteacher and avid church singer, the Houston Texas native – and the eldest of six siblings – diligently pursued a singing career.
She caught the eye of prolific composer/producer Thomas Whitfield, who helmed her first-ever record with the prophetic title, Just As I Am, in 1987. It wasn’t too long before the young singer was drawing comparisons to Aretha Franklin. Subsequent albums (on gospel labels Verity and Tribute), including 1991′s Through The Storm, netted Yolanda several Stellar Awards, and 1995′s R&B flavored, award winning More Than A Melody would establish her as a force to be reckoned with gospel or otherwise. The latter disc garnered Yolanda her first Soul Train Lady Of Soul Award, as well as her first Grammy nomination.
Yolanda also began to establish herself as one of the genre’s most sought after live attractions. Her incredible performances would soon become legendary throughout the entire music industry. Her 1996 album Yolanda Live In Washington furthered her reputation as a one-of-a-kind performer, and landed her yet another Stellar Award and another Grammy nomination. But it was the ground breaking Elektra debut, Mountain High Valley Low that would change Yolanda’s life forever.
A veritable testament to Yolanda’s tremendous faith, it was also a nod to her incredible musical savvy. Enlisting producers such as Keith Thomas and the above-mentioned Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Yolanda saw the move to Elektra as a chance to expand her reach without “watering down” her message. Only her seventh album, it captured the amazing potential of Yolanda without sacrificing her commitment to God. Said one rave review: “Much of the album recalls Stevie Wonder or Bob Marley, where spirituality is at the center but it doesn’t limit the musical expression.”
The album spawned a host of sold out tours, such as her Sisters In The Spirit Tour (with gospel superstars Shirley Caesar, Mary Mary and Angela Christie), from which her live CD, The Experience, was born. There was no doubt that Yolanda’s inventive, unforgettable performances were attracting new and old fans alike.
Despite all the accolades Yolanda’s crowning achievement was the birth of her baby girl, Taylor Ayanna. Says Yolanda about that ‘experience’: “You really don’t know what love is until you have a child. No matter how tired I am after a show or how distracted I might be after a long recording session – all I have to do is see her little smile and I know everything is right in the world.”
With the completion of her greatly anticipated album, Believe, she is again excited by the prospects of sharing her new music with the world. “I’ve grown as a songwriter and a performer and I’m eager to spread those creative wings again,” she says. Aware that the country may be hungering even more for a spiritual message these days, Yolanda’s album title hints at what the new disc can offer in the way of spiritual redemption. “Music has always been a potent force. I’m proud that this album addresses the spectrum of life. It deals with struggles and relationships and sadness and joy. Our music – gospel music – has always been a comfort to those who are looking for some kind of encouragement in their lives.”
Yolanda Adams Can Be Heard Weekdays From 6a-10a
Darlene McCoy has a multifaceted personality that in a modest attempt, can be described as sincere, indomitable, warm-hearted, comical, effervescent, and most of all infectious! This multi-talented vocalist, wife and mother of three took center stage in the music world with her debut album in May of 2007 simply and appropriately titled “Darlene McCoy” with
Producer Music Mogul Dallas Austin at the helm. She is currently at work on her sophomore release collaborating with some of music’s top producers. Her accomplishments include:
• Top 25 on Urban AC Billboard Charts • Two Time 2008 Dove Nominee Award “Best Urban Album and Best Urban Single” • Hit Single “Fallen In Love” Featured in
Tyler Perry Motion Picture Soundtrack “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”
• Television appearances:
- BET… Bobby Jones “Lift Every Voice”
- TV ONE Gospel of Music w/ Jeff Majors
- FOX 5 TV… “Good Day Atlanta.”
- Gospel Music Channel “Gospel Dream”
[Celebrity Vocal Coach]
-WATC TV 57…. “Atlanta Alive
• Music Video “Amazing” aired on Soul of VH1, BET and BETJ. “Amazing” Video reached number two spot on Gospel Music Channel.
CEO/Visionary of JENIMAC – a non-profit organization offering mentorship for teenage girls, 13-19 and young women 20-25, with a goal to help develop these young women into respectable and responsible women of character and integrity through, empowering workshops that offer life coping skills, which will poise them for successful lives.
Visionary and host of 4th WATCH – a prophetic non-denominational worship service, every 3rd Saturday morning from 3:00 – 6:00AM.
She is the current host of the Midday Show from 10a-3p on Atlanta’s inspiration station, Praise 102.5, the #1 gospel station in the country.
Darlene McCoy……REAL, RELEVANT AND RELATABLE
‘Excuse me ma’am, but could you tell me what time it is?’ It was the sound of this casual request for the time in a small college radio station that catapulted the more than two-decade successful career in broadcasting for KD Bowe.
A veteran in the industry, KD Bowe’s highly motivating personality and inspiring radio show has captured the hearts of both the young and the seasoned all across America. With the majority of his career in network radio and syndication, KD has found a way to speak the language of the listener in cities both small and large. He delivers personal insight and on-air guests that bring real answers to the issues that affect us both publicly and personally.
KD Bowe is also owner of KDB Productions, a voice-over services production company that provides signature voice to TV, radio stations and the Internet. He has been the signature voice for hundreds of brands like Bishop T.D. Jakes, Paul Morton, The Word Network, Lego, Spalding, Sony, Coca Cola, and many others.
KD Bowe is also the in-stadium announcer for the Atlanta Falcons.
CoCo Brother LIVE
Cory Condrey, better known as CoCo Brother, is more than your average radio personality. He is a powerful voice crying out from the wilderness and into the streets. Born in Germany, it seems that he was destined to make an impact of international proportion from the beginning. CoCo Brother first came to Atlanta, GA after graduating from high school in Nashville, Tennessee, marking the start of his career in radio.
In 1995, CoCo started interning with Hot 97.5 (now Hot 107.9). From delivering pizza to loading trucks, he had a variety of odd jobs, working tirelessly at night and interning during the day. His hard-work and diligence paid off and he was finally hired at Hot. Even with all of his potential, his time there was short-lived and in 1997 he was fired. After losing his job, he became homeless. The spirit in CoCo Brother would not allow him to quit and after being homeless for a year, he landed a position with V-103 as their Promotions Coordinator.
CoCo wanted to be on the air, but was told that he could not be an On-Air Personality. It has been said that whenever one door closes, another opens. The next door flew open. Still hungry to reach the people, he took a job in a smaller market with Foxy 107 and Mike Roberts in Macon, GA. Within months in that market, CoCo’s personality and drive made the show #1.
In January of 2000, CoCo left Georgia for a position in Washington D.C. on 93.9 WKYS. He was in direct competition with Big Tigger, the former host of BET’s Rap City. For two and a half years, he dominated the airwaves with the same passion, high-energy, and creativity that made him a success in the past.
CoCo Brother came full circle on September 11, 2001 when he returned to Hot 107.9, Atlanta, in the 6-10 pm time slot. This time things would be much different. It didn’t take long before CoCo Brother and the Home Team made their presence known. When the first book came out, the show was #1 with 12-17 year olds. It also made history for Hot, ranking #1 with 18 – 34 year olds for the first time. CoCo was responsible for breaking some of the hottest records as well as capturing exclusive interviews with artists such as 50 Cent, David Banner, Ludacris, and T.I. His influence reached beyond the city limits and included:
Hosting Vibe’s TV show and BET’s Talent Search
Appearances on BET and MTV
Hosting video show on UPN
Hosting Michael Vick’s Shoe Release for 3 consecutive years
Appearances in Vibe, Source, Creative Loafing, and Rolling Out Magazine, Essence, JET, Hope Today and Monarch
New Host of BET’s “Lift Every Voice”(2008)
Yet, even after years of success, he was not content and began to hear God telling him to shift into a different arena. In March of 2005, CoCo Brother announced that he would be leaving the 6–10 pm slot. When he left, the show was on top. After 6 weeks off the air, he emerged with a new fire and a new sound called The Spirit of Hip Hop (SOHH). The show kicked off from 7 – 10 am and soon made history in its ratings when it moved up to 6 – 10 am. The constant demand for the show led it to its current slot of 6 – 12pm on Sundays mornings. The ratings continue to soar. With that success, the SOHH expanded to 5a-6a Monday-Friday in addition to the weekends, and now syndicated all across the country reaching millions every week in virtually every major market, including Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Washington DC, Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia, with more markets coming on board each day. Since March 2008, the demand has continued to grow with the show being aired on WPZE (Praise 97.5 FM – Atlanta, Ga.) Monday – Friday from 7pm – 10pm with a new name entitled “The Spirit w/ Coco Brother”.
CoCo Brother’s life is a testimony of what God will do in willing vessels. Never despise small beginnings. After being denied in Market 12, he went to Market 147; eventually rising to Market 7 and to the top. He operates in excellence and he just won’t quit. He is an example of someone who sometimes against all odds constantly raises the bar and sets the tone in everything he does. From homelessness to hosting and leading the official and defining movement for change in hip hop and now gospel, only time will tell what is in store for Cory “Coco Brother” Condrey. Indeed, after hearing his powerful testimony on the radio weekly, on CNN, and on CNN International, it’s very clear that Coco will be one of those anointed leaders insuring that a new day has arrived and a generation is about to be changed. Furthermore, with the blessing of being on the radio on the largest inspirationally-based network in the world targeting our youth, CoCo is making the world turn the volume up generating record setting ratings, but still and most importantly saving souls along the way.