GOSPELflava.com: By now, you are very associated with the rose, you are known for throwing dozens of roses to the crowds as you are on stage, and now itís reached the point that it appears all over your CD cover, and is even incorporated into the title of your album. What is the significance of this flower to you?
Dorinda Clark-Cole: God gave me the idea to come up with something that you can have a personal touch with the fans; the people that come to hear you. So many times, we, as artists, are on stage and do not have that personal touch with our fans offstage.
So I said that I have to do something for the people. With the Clark Sisters being around for a long time, what can I do to let them know that I appreciate them? Not only that, but it (the rose) is kind of like an encouragement to lift us through hard times. Everyone has a struggle or an issue in their life that they are dealing with. It is always important to encourage. Thatís why I came up with the idea of having roses. Everyone knows before I come on, that I am going to bring a bouquet of roses and I set it on the stage. That is especially for my fans.
GOSPELflava.com: Sometimes artists like to venture out and work with other producers, others like to stay in their groove. Why did you choose to work with Alex Ward again on this album?
Dorinda Clark-Cole: I really had no intentions on doing a completely live CD. I was going to do what I did on the last CD, which was some live and some studio tracks. I went into this recording blindly, not knowing that all of the songs were going to be good that night. Alex is someone that I am comfortable with. Itís kind of like how Anita Baker feels with her producer (Michael Powell), and how she stuck with him as time went on. You are comfortable with the producer and they know you. They know what you like and they use the right chords. Alex is just a phenomenal person. You can sit there and talk to him, and get great ideas from him. He is a phenomenal person.
And I gotta say that he really hit it off this time. On the first album, with "Iím Still Here", I was over at my sister Karenís house. This is when she was recovering from her sickness. Alex was over there with the two of us and her husband. I said, 'Alex, I want you to come over here and hear this song.' So I played the song on the piano. Then I said, 'I need you to give me the chord progression that I need.' He sat on the piano, and came up with what you hear on the album. He just took my Ďkindergarten chordsí and brought it to where it is. The same thing happened with "Nobody But God" and "Say Yes" on the new album. We got "Say Yes" over the phone. I just sung it to him, and he picked it up over the phone.
Itís always good to be able to have someone like that. Heíll drop whatever he is doing and listen to you because of the creativity that is flowing. Thatís what I do with Alex. Thatís why weíre so close. My cousin J. Moss is the same way, as we did the same thing with
GOSPELflava.com: You also hooked up with a powerful, but relatively unknown talent, Minister Kevin L. Gray to record "Everything He Promised". How did that come about?
Dorinda Clark-Cole: Kevin is a phenomenal talent. He came to my Musicianís Conference which I have every year. He came one particular year, and I didnít know who he was, and he signed up for my New Artist Showcase. The girl that kind of listens to all of the music that comes through said, 'Dorinda, I want you to really listen to him. This guy is so talented. This song is going to blow you away.' All of judges were there. J. Moss, Karen and some record producers were there. He got on stage and began to play and sing the song. He started and we had to drop our pencils and papers. We looked at this guy because it drew us into what he was doing. He got up from his piano and began to sing. What you felt the night of the recording, is what we felt at the showcase. Out of 14 participants that were on that showcase, he was the one that won for best solo. I took him and said, 'Kevin, I want you to be on my CD.' He said, 'What!' That is one of the amenities when you hook up with Sister Dorinda Clark Cole. Thatís how it happened. We also did the song at the NBA All Star Gospel concert in Denver earlier this year. It was powerful that night. The rest is history.
GOSPELflava.com: Can you tell us more about your Singers and Songwritersí Conference?
Dorinda Clark-Cole: This is really a conference where we have singers and musicians from everywhere. Whatever musical talent you have, come bring it. We have day sessions. Our sessions are run particularly different. We donít change the people, we change the teachers. That means we have one setting and the teachers change instead of the people moving from class to class. So everyone gets all of that in one setting. We have night sessions where we spotlight the new talent to see what we have coming in. Then thereís the church service. We have speakers who may be artists, but they come to speak, not sing. Who can really tell us about singing and playing, but singers and musicians? God had me pull in the artists that can minister.
It has been phenomenal every year. You name them, weíve had them here. Kim Burrell came and just ripped us to pieces. Marvin Sapp and Marvin Winans were there. Donnie preached one year. Twinkie and Karen preached one year. This is our 7th year, which is the year of completion. GLORY!!! God is just confirming that He is completing what he started. We have had such a great response all across the country.
GOSPELflava.com: Why did you incorporate the 'Spoken Word' as a bonus track on the CD?
Dorinda Clark-Cole: I am an evangelist, and I do a lot of speaking and ministering at conferences. Thomas Nelson, the publishing company, came up with the idea of 'The Word Made Flesh'. It is the New International Version of the Bible being made alive by audio. I just happened to be one of the ones appointed to read out of the NIV Bible. Just hearing the Word makes you identify and feel as if you were there in the Bible days. Thatís what I love about it. The people that really want to hear the Word will hear it. This has helped a lot of people already. I am glad to be a part of it and to put it on my album. Vickie Mack [Gospo Centric head] said that it would be wonderful.
GOSPELflava.com: You are an evangelist, preacher and are COGIC to the bones. You have also been very successful with including your dancers in your ministry.
Dorinda Clark-Cole: Young people are really getting involved in that. Whatever way that we can reach the young people, I believe that we should use that tool to draw them. Believe it or not, Iíve gotten more young people involved in my ministry with "Iím Coming Out". The dancing is like a drawing tool for the youth. When I came out with my first CD, I said thatís the first thing I want to do. I want to incorporate dance and I did, thanks to my choreographer, Ryan Baker. I am supposed to rehearse with them soon because they have some new stuff that they would like to teach me. So GET READY!! GET READY! GET READY! Ryan keeps me going. Thatís what keeps me hanging out with the young people and getting them interested in Gospel music.
You would be surprised with how many people are into Gospel music. Dancing really captivates audiences especially when we are outdoors because people donít see Gospel on that level. So when they see it, they are like, 'Oh wow! Yaíll do this.' So it really it puts a spark into what I do. So as long as I can keep doing it, Iím going to do it.
GOSPELflava.com: What is your favorite song on the album?
Dorinda Clark-Cole: All of them are my favorite!! I was doing a listening party here in Detroit and I kept saying, 'This is one of my favorites.' I guess I can say that "So Many Times", my churchy track, is one of favorites. My other favorite is "Nobody Did It But God". That song is from first-hand experience. I was in some situations where I knew that only God brought me out. On the last CD, "Iím Still Here" was inspired by when I was on the verge of suicide, and God stopped me. Through other hard trials and the death of loved ones, it is a blessing to still have your right mind; also to know that God still works miracles.
The other one is "Everything He Promised". "Iím Out and Over" is Part II of "Iím Coming Out". God allowed me to write that one. I thank God for the writing ability and to be able to be in the music field. Writers sometimes go through a spur of writing and then sometimes you canít feel nothing at all. So I just thank God for the ability to keep the songs going.
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