Andrea McClurkin Mellini

Another talented sibling leaves the comfort of the musical background nest to spread her solo wings. Andrea McClurkin-Mellini, sister of "Stand" singer and gospel legend Donnie McClurkin, emerges from the shadows and into the individual artist spotlight. Having sung background for years and being a featured soloist on recordings such as the award-winning The McClurkin Project, Andrea poises herself for solo stardom.

Recently GOSPELflava.com had the opportunity to chat with Mellini about her new project, Higher.

"I'm excited!" was how she responded when asked how it feels to be a solo artist and stepping out of her brother's background. "I'm so Dillardexcited to see where it goes. This is a new adventure and I really want to see it unfold" she candidly admits. Mellini describes her 11-track inaugural project, on big brother Donnie's Camdon Music label, as a "moment by moment with the Lord." "I would say it's CCM mixed with contemporary gospel. But overall I call it kingdom music."

The debut single is the musically intoxicating "God Can." Written by Donnie, Mellini premiered the song last year on BET's hit show Bobby Jones Gospel, which served as an appetizer for the full project. Mellini herself is the primary songwriter on the CD, writing all but four of the tracks. She shares songwriting credits with Donnie, on the aforementioned "God Can" and Karen Wiggins who penned "No Love Like Yours."

The Amityville, New York native's project begins with an electrifying jolt of praise on "I Will Lift Up Your Name (Higher)." This energetic and effervescent tune is all about lauding the excellent name of Jesus, and it happens to be Mellini's favorite. This is followed by the worshipful "Song of Praise" and the brassy "No Love Like Yours." These three tunes showcase Mellini's assorted vocal stylings and signature of the McClurkin sound. "My brother (Donnie McClurkin) has poured into me immensely. He is one of my biggest influences. I am because he poured into me."

Andrea Although you'll always detect her older brother's influence, but you can also sniff out others. "CeCe Winans is also one of my favorites," she admits. "I want to approach the Lord like she does... sweet and real." As you listen, you can hear minute glimpses of CeCe-esqueness, especially on "Only for You" and "Are You Washed in the Blood?" In both, Mellini caresses the lyrics ever so gently while the music acts as the co-star, reminiscent of Winans. However Mellini's vocal ingenuity is all original. Mellini especially demonstrates that it on the phantasmal "Your Love." The song's stout and sturdy message resonates within the soul about the interminable love of God and why we should be so grateful for His loving-kindness.

Conversely, on "Always On time" you can detect hints of the always-ripened McClurkin harmonies. The bonus track, "Love We Love You" transports you straight towards the Caribbean Isles. You get completely lost in the island aura all about why we should continually extend our sincere praises to the most high God. Also included is the enchanting "First Noel," which was first released in Christmas 2013.

Mellini offered an opinion on her first foray as a solo artist: "I think the project is perfect… for a first project." Chuckling and admitting that although Donnie was "quite the task master," she feels the release was truly years in the making. As to how she expects her project to perform, she humbly states, "I want the Lord to take the music where He wants it to go. That's it."

Fused with unexampled vocal styling, sincere extolment, and acclamatory worship, Mellini brings brand worthiness not only to the McClurkin name, but to God's holy Name in the process of her musical offering.

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Production: Donnie McClurkin
album release date: June, 2014
Camdon Music

interview by John Burton Jr.

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