Donnie McClurkin is an American gospel singer and minister. He is one of the top selling Gospel music artists, selling over 10 million albums worldwide.
Born (Donald Andrew “Donnie” McClurkin, Jr.) November 9, 1959 in South Carolina and raised in Amityville, on Long Island, Donnie McClurkin saw his fair share of trauma as a child. At the age of eight, he lost a younger brother in a hit-and-run accident, leading his parents to send him to a relative’s house while they mourned. There, he became a victim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of his great uncle, and years after that by his great uncle’s son.
The combination of these two events led McClurkin to turn to the Lord at an early age, devoting himself to worship at the age of nine.
Two of his sisters dealt with substance abuse problems, and that’s when the young McClurkin found solace in his going to a church; and, also through an aunt of his who sang background vocals with gospel music musician, Andraé Crouch. By the time that he was a teenager, he had formed the McClurkin Singers, and later he formed another group, the New York Restoration Choir.
Donnie later formed the New York Restoration Choir, which recorded an album called I See a World, before he headed to Detroit to be an associate minister in 1989.
Donnie McClurkin occupies a territory that lies somewhere between the modern gospel of Kirk Franklin, the gospel soul of Andraé Crouch, and the contemporary traditionalism of Marvin Winans. McClurkin owes a significant personal and professional debt to Winans, as he served as an associate minister at Marvin’s Perfecting Church prior to establishing his own Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York, in 2001.
While serving as associate minister, McClurkin signed with Warner Alliance, which released his self-titled debut in 1996. Featuring the hit “Stand” along with “Speak to My Heart,” revived from the New York Restoration Choir record, Donnie McClurkin turned into a hit, winning a Grammy for Traditional Soul Gospel Album and earning Dove Award nominations; it would later be certified gold. This helped establish McClurkin as a star in his own right, leading to him contributing two songs to the 1998 animated film The Prince of Egypt, and he gained greater momentum with the 2000 release of Live in London and More…, which hit number one on the Billboard gospel chart on its way to platinum certification; it also gave him his only R&B crossover in the form of the single “We Fall Down.”
He has won three Grammy awards, ten Stellar awards, two BET awards, two Soul Train awards, one Dove award and one NAACP Image award.
McClurkin was ordained as a pastor by Marvin L. Winans in 2001. That same year, he established Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York, which started as a small bible study group. He remained there as a pastor as he continued to pursue careers on-stage, screen, and record.
His weekly radio program, The Donnie McClurkin Show, debuted in 2006, and went on to broadcast in over seventy-five markets. From 2010 to 2015, McClurkin appeared as a judge on five seasons of BET’s Sunday Best. His discography includes Again (2003), Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs (2004), We Are All One (Live in Detroit) (2008), Duets (2014), and The Journey (Live) (2016).
McClurkin released his autobiography Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor in 2001; and was the subject of the subsequent biographical documentary From Darkness to Light: The Donnie McClurkin Story in 2004. McClurkin had a cameo role in the film The Fighting Temptations, and starred alongside actors Boris Kodjoe and Idris Elba in the movie The Gospel in 2005.
He appeared in the 2005 film The Gospel and the live album We All Are One (Live in Detroit) before he settled into a steady pattern of preaching and performing for the next few years.
McClurkin resurfaced in 2014 on RCA Inspiration with the Duets album — it debuted at number four on the gospel chart — and in 2016 the same label issued The Journey (Live). Early 2019 saw McClurkin issue the single “Not Yet,” which was inspired by surviving a serious automobile accident. A few more singles appeared throughout the year in advance of his next album, A Different Song, which was released in November.
McClurkin, in 2002, told a Christian website that, due to the sexual abuse, he had struggled with homosexuality. “McClurkin believes he “turned” gay because of childhood molestation, but was able to reverse his orientation through will and prayer.” He also said that he had rejected that “lifestyle”: “I’ve been through this and have experienced God’s power to change my lifestyle. I am delivered and I know God can deliver others, too.”
His weekly television program Perfecting Your Faith began airing on The Word Network in 2009. McClurkin collaborated often with gospel singers Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams, including on the Hopeville tour, and received numerous awards for his music, including multiple Grammy, Stellar, Dove, and NAACP Image Awards.
Watch Donnie McClurkin Live Ministration At The Experience 13, 2018 #TE13