Donnie McClurkin
In Brief Discussion

Donnie Talks About the Vastly Anticipated Live in London and More Album:

"The idea for [the song "That's What I Believe"] came to me as I sat in church one Sunday. I realized that I wasn't there just to do my Christian duty and go to church. I was very focused on a purpose and I needed to receive deliverance Live In London and More CD 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."

"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 ["Who Would've Thought"] in our church almost every Tuesday night. I wrote it from the perspective of a non-believer who would laugh at Christians, and at worshipping God, who one day discovers his own need for Christ, 'Who would've thought I'd be here on my knees myself one day?'"

"['We Fall Down'] is one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard, and it's the perfect summation of the Christian life. As saints, we are nothing more than sinners who fell down, but then got back up again by the power and forgiveness of God."

"I was in a taxi in New York, running late and racing to get to rehearsal. That song ['Just For Me'] just leapt into my mind. 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."

Donnie Talks About Being on Iyanla Vanzant's Project, (In The Meantime):

"[My participation on] Iyanla Vanzant['s project] was a mistake. Most Christians don't have tolerance for mistakes. And then they look at me, and say 'You supposed to be so anointed. How in the world could you not know? You did it for the money.' Mind you I haven't received a penny from it.

"When I did it, I did it based on my relationship with [Harmony Records head,] Raina Bundy. It had nothing to do with Oprah or anything else. I had never really seen [Iyanla] on Oprah. One thing I don't mind is letting people know when I mess up. Even in my sermons and concerts. I let folk know 'Y'all don't know the half of the mistakes I've made. Don't look at what you see in these 45 minutes.'

In The Meantime CDSo Raina called me and told me what they were doing. She told me Yolanda [Adams] and Nancey [Jackson] were on it —all my friends. So I said 'For you Raina, I'll do this.' Let me hear the song. Send me the book ["In the Meantime"]. I read the book. The book was good, because it dealt with dealing with the hurts of the past, and it contained nothing erroneous. And I wasn't looking for anything erroneous, because I didn't know [her]. I'm going on my relationship with Raina.

"So we went into the studio to do it. Nancey and I sat down with Iyanla before we started. I said 'Now let's get this straight', and Nancey is so sensitive in the Spirit. That girl is powerful! She was the senior in the situation, because she kept saying something didn't feel right. I'm straight forward, asking [Iyanla], 'Hey what's the deal? People saying you're new age.' Nancey's like 'I don't want to insult you I just need to know what you believe.' [Iyanla's response] 'Oh I believe in Jesus. I was born and raised in the Baptist church. I believe in Jesus. Jesus is the Lord. He's the savior.'"

GospelFlava.com: So do you feel that was just general confusion or deception?

"It was nothing but deception because she knew what we were talking about. But instead of her saying what she says in the other arenas, that 'I believe Jesus is one way', she said something else [to us]. She was Nancey Jacksonsaying all the right things, but by then Nancey and I BOTH started feeling antsy! Because it was like her answer didn't have the power, but we were already in the session. So we took the song, and I was like 'Uh-uh we can't sing this, we can't say that, we changing these words.' She was like 'That's right. Go 'head!' She is the most embracing woman. Now I have to say that. She is a wonderful person, as a person. People get the devil and people mixed up. She is a wonderful person, and if you were to meet her you would love her and probably talk for hours, but aside from that she deceived us royally.

After we did the CD, two weeks later. I was watching TBN and Jackie McCullough was on and she said something about Iyanla being a Yoruba priestess, and my heart sunk! Believe me, I started getting nauseous. I said 'Lord please don't let this be so.' And God's response was 'You never asked me.'"

GospelFlava.com: So was that the lesson?

"Yes! A lot of things we just do. You can get so used to being in God's will and just take it for granted and then just make a decision off the top of your head. And His thing is 'You never asked me, so there you go." And the next week and I saw a picture of them ordaining her. And I knew that the saints were going to go crazy."

Donnie On The Missing Sanctity of the Church:

"We take need to take our masks off, every one of us. The reason we have gotten to this point is because we have lied so long and misunderstood God so long. And we have used our bitterness and put it off as being Godly. We want an exclusive club, where only those like us exist. Everyone else —don't give them a chance. Let's put in on the devil. Let's put it on rebellion and their not wanting to be right and keep them at arms distance. And consequently we've lost entire generations by being so judgmental, by being so unforgiving and intolerant. And that is the pervading factor in the church. That is killing people."

GospelFlava.com: We are busy looking at symptoms rather than the reason or the cause. Is that because it is painful to look at the cause? If we look at the cause, we have to look at ourselves.

"That's what Jesus is about —healing illnesses, healing the soul. What we often don't understand though is that in order to heal it you have to open it up! You can't heal cancer from the outside. You have to open up and go through all of the blood, all of the smells, all of the damaged tissue and open up and even go through the good organs to get to the bad spot. Only a surgeon with compassion can go in there and do that."

Donnie Talks About The Moment of Fear He Had to Face in Dealing with Leukemia:

"Moment of fear? Not a moment —a season! I was fearful from the beginning! They prayed for me and there still was a prevailing nervousness. Number one fear: 'God don't let me be wrong about what I'm saying! Donnie McClurkinOh God Please! I'm about to, I just said something, and if it doesn't happen I'm not only going embarrassed, but I'm going to embarrass you! Laid up somewhere coughing.' And I was afraid. I use scriptures for everybody else, but it was so hard to use those scriptures for me. You want to know why? Because when you're giving out scriptures to other people you don't feel any pain. There are no symptoms. You're going on faith alone. While I'm feeling great, while I'm totally healthy I'm telling somebody who's racked with pain and knows that there is cancer or whatever's inside of them 'Hold on! What's wrong with you? Don't you believe Jesus? You see you need faith!' You see that's easy [to say]. But when you're feeling the bloating from your stomach swelling and filling up with blood, and your side is swollen and protruding, and your fever is up. And you're taking stuff and it's not going down. You're praying and it's not going anywhere. You're fasting, and you're praying and putting oil on yourself and using scriptures and you're still sick. You go to church, they lay hands on you and you're still sick. Nervousness —facts interfere with faith.

GospelFlava.com: And two months after the doctors verified you were healed, the symptoms prevailed? Why do you think that was?

"It's a matter of faith. The reason that continued on was because God wanted me to know 'Donnie don't look at the facts.' Yeah, it feels like it's still there all the symptoms show that everything is just the same. 'Donnie, don't look at the facts.' But I'm weak God. 'Walk like you are fine, walk like you have all the strength in the world. Walk like you are strong. When they go to dancing hold on to the pew, and dance like you're here with everybody else.' He just wanted me to know."

Donnie Talking About The McClurkin Project:

GospelFlava.com: Donnie, you say that this project took two years to finish, due to the busy nature of your schedule and the complexity that comes with trying to pull many people together that live in different locations. Your four sisters, and four longtime friends finally got it together on wax. (See album review)

"We've sung together off and on the last 20 years. We had childhood dreams and aspirations. We'd sit in rehearsal and talk all this junk about winning Grammy's!"

Donnie Speaks On The Challenge of Re-doing Walter Hawkins' Classic "Is There Any Way":

"Is there anyway? "You never mess with a classic. You never alter a classic. EvenThe McClurkin Project CD if you do you make sure it stays so close to the original. Walter writes classics. He's one of the most underrated songwriting geniuses in the world - not to mention vocalists. When I heard the [original] song; when I heard Brenda Roy sing it, immediately I said 'That's Tramaine's song! Man! I bet you Tramaine can sing that song!' So when I got the chance to experiment, we called Tramaine and sat her down at the piano. And immediately when she opened up her mouth, it was like "Oh my God!" And within two hours the song was done!

interview by Melanie Clark

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