GOSPELflava.com: When did you decide that it was time to work on a solo album?
Darlene McCoy: It was around 2002. I had been singing and doing a lot of things in church and my husband had a conversation about it. He said, "Honey, you should really work on a record." I actually thought that it was going to be this small-scale local project. It's once we decided to do it that we wrote the vision and shared it with our friends. One of those friends, Dallas Austin, wanted to be a part of it. He did help and things just started growing from there. It went from Dallas Austin to all of the other producers that you hear on the record.
GOSPELflava.com: Tell us how pivotal your husband is to your career.
Darlene McCoy: He is actually the visionary for me as an artist. He is the one that has kept the integrity of what God showed us in the first place. He is one of the executive producers of the record; the whole direction came from him. He is the one that suggested that I write songs for the album. I've written a lot on this record and I had never written songs before. "Be With You" was the first one that I had ever written. He saw the complete process through and made sure that everyone else saw the same thing.
GOSPELflava.com: You have an interlude titled "For the Sisters". Other than the obvious, why did you include it on the album?
Darlene McCoy: First of all, I have a company called "Jenny Mac" which is a company/ ministry geared towards women. We are starting out with teenage girls. It's a network for women. We are creating dialogue for the generations from young girls to teens, from teens to women, and from women to grandmothers. We want to get teenagers to communicate with their mothers and grandmothers.
That's what Jenny Mac is and "For The Sisters" was designed just to display that. It's just gives you the idea that I am out here for the sisters. We do some much against each other and we need to work together and allow everyone to flourish in their strengths. This would allow us to be the mentors that we should be for our younger sisters.
GOSPELflava.com: "Falling In Love" was your first single and it generated some buzz by being on the "Diary Of a Mad Black Woman" soundtrack. How did that song open up doors for you?
Darlene McCoy: Dallas Austin put it on the soundtrack. It also appeared on WOW Gospel 2006, which certified platinum. So millions of people heard the song and that opened a lot of doors for me. We are looking to doing even more.
GOSPELflava.com: You were able to work with two phenomenal producers/writers in Dallas Austin and Antonio Neal. How was that experience?
Darlene McCoy: With Dallas, he didn't feel comfortable writing with me, lyric wise. He's more creative and knew what I was talking about so he wanted me to take the lead and share what was on my heart. He trusted me with the tracks that he wrote. He said, "Here, just take some tracks that you like and write. Let's see what we come up with." I got into the studio and started writing as much as I could. Ken Pennell [EMI Gospel head] introduced me to Antonio Neal and I asked him to come and help me because "I don't know what I am doing." Antonio validated my songwriting abilities when he said, "You have a gift yourself. I don't know what you need me for."
We ended up writing quite a few songs and even now, we are doing some vocal production together on another artist's project. It's just been a great journey because not everyone is willing to walk with you, help you and teach you. Dallas, Antonio and Tommy Sims were very patient with me. By the time I got into the studio with Fred Jerkins, he wanted me to write.You know, I'm a girl that loves to worship God, and I love singing to Him all the time. This particular song felt like an evening drive with the sunroof open. If I was still in corporate America and had to drive home in traffic, this is one of the songs that I would sing on the way home. "In spite of my day. In spite of what I've been through. I only want to be in your presence."
GOSPELflava.com: How did the song, "Be With You" come together?
Darlene McCoy: You know, I'm a girl that loves to worship God, and I love singing to Him all the time. This particular song felt like an evening drive with the sunroof open. If I was still in corporate America and had to drive home in traffic, this is one of the songs that I would sing on the way home. "In spite of my day. In spite of what I've been through. I only want to be in your presence."
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