Born: January 25, 1959
Styles: Black Gospel, Contemporary Gospel, Urban
Donnie McClurkin is a gospel vocalist with the soul of Andraé Crouch and the contemporary flair of Kirk Franklin. Born into a home filled with domestic violence and drug abuse, McClurkin was saved by an aunt who sang background vocals with Crouch himself. After staying close to Crouch throughout his boyhood, he began to play piano and sing with his church youth choir. He formed the McClurkin Singers by the time he was a teenager, and later formed another group, the New York Restoration Choir.
Hired as an associate minister at Marvin Winans' Perfecting Church in 1989, with his vocals during a seminar, McClurkin endured a bout with leukemia that year. A friendship with a Warner Alliance executive resulted in his signing to the label for his 1996 self-titled LP, with producers Mark Kibble (of Take 6), Cedric and Victor Maxwell plus Andraé Crouch. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide
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Donnie McClurkin is a Gospel superstar whose voice is recognized around the world. His voice has already transcended the Sunday morning pulpit to the top of record charts where his music has remained steadfast while reaching gold and platinum status.
While on an airplane, God gave him the words for the song “Stand,” and, he says, in 20 minutes the words flowed inside his head. “How do you deal with the shame of your past…you stand,” he continues repeating the words.
McClurkin has been able to overcome and excel to the point that fans, celebrities and a cross section of music lovers recognize his talent as “special.”
In 1983, while working with the choir, McClurkin met the Reverend Marvin L. Winans. Impressed by McClurkin’s performance a gospel workshop seminar, Winans invited McClurkin to Detroit to help start a ministry. Six years later, in 1989, McClurkin moved to Detroit, became an associate minister at Perfecting Church and began touring and singing at different churches across the country.
At age 31, Donnie was diagnosed with leukemia. But at 36, with church, music and an unyielding faith, Reverend McClurkin hit gold with his debut album and changed his life.
McClurkin is head pastor at Perfecting Faith Church, a nondenominational Pentecostal church in Freeport, New York with a 1,000-plus congregation. He is home for the services every Sunday unless traveling overseas.
This Grammy award winning artist may sing for presidents, but he’s known for “being real.” And whether in his local church pulpit or on a stage before thousands, he preaches a forthright, often-provocative message about his troubled past, and his faith in God. Music, he says, is his sermon.