Lime interview - Music
Semper - Azeez -Harris
Sunday Best is the popular cable Gospel show that is now entering its fourth year.
Hosted by Kirk Franklin a giant of Gospel music, the show has been a huge platform for emerging talents as they vie against each other for the coveted position of winning the competition.
Pastor Donnie McClurkin is a judge on the show and he is a huge artist in his own right having won amongst other awards, three Grammys. Getting time to talk with Donnie he has an air of no nonsense (which has earned him comparisons with Simon Cowell) but he remains a pure gentleman inquiring on my day before any questions were fired at him. Despite entering his third season he remains completely fired up for the show and of course Gospel music!
Why did you decide to come in as a judge?
I came into the series in the third year because my friend C C Winnans left in the third show and suggested I do it. Since getting involved it has been phenomenal. We have all known each other for over twenty years, singing together, touring together and so we are all really good friends so it makes things a lot easier.
What’s your opinion on the gospel movement here in the UK?
You see I am angry about that question because there are so many great artists, groups, choirs in the UK. It makes me angry that the UK Gospel industry has not galvanised, has not understood that America is not the only place where Gospel should be such a big movement-some of the biggest artists have come out of the UK.
Why hasn’t UK Gospel galvanised?
They think they need America to validate them! They have been convinced that all of the credibility all the strengths are in America instead of making the gospel movement strong here. All the people want to come to America, everybody wants our stamp of approval and everybody wants to do the big concerts over here. Black and white artists from Scotland are phenomenal artists but there is no real camaraderie: People must work and develop the scene in the UK first.
I think that has been an issue even among the secular artists where people seek America for validation.
Right that is true but even with the greatest groups like The Rolling Stones or an artist like Adele they only needed America for a greater visibility but they remain English artists, making English music- they have kept everything in its right perspective. In gospel it is the same thing- let it be known that this is British-Gospel is not an American music it is a global music for everybody!
What are some of the great moments you remember from doing the show?
We have so many with people singing astounding great vocals but the thing is this show is not like American Idol or X Factor it is about bringing talent but it is also about bringing an inspirational message, it is bringing a strength of a music form-gospel music that has been the foundation for so many music forms, jazz, rnb, hip-hop it is the foundation.
What are you doing independently because of course you have your own career as a gospel artist?
Well Sunday Best is taking a lot of my time and the show is growing so much –last year we had one million people watching, this year we have had over two million-it is the number one cable network show around the world. Right now however, I am now working on a cd and it will have people like Gladys Knight, Tremaine Hawkins singing on the cd so I cannot wait for that to be ready for release.
Lastly when do Gospel fans get the pleasure of seeing you over in the UK?
Well work is going on for a tour here called The King’s Men featuring Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp and me starting in September. There is a demand to bring it over to the UK and so we are contemplating bringing it over to the UK for you guys so make sure you show support and am sure we will do it.
Natty finding freedom