Home Religion American Gospel Musician: The Life Changing Story of Donnie McClurkin

American Gospel Musician: The Life Changing Story of Donnie McClurkin

Donald Andrew “Donnie” McClurkin Jr is an American inspirational, multitalented gospel musician and a renowned minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is one of the top-selling Gospel music artists, selling over 10 million albums worldwide. Variety dubbed McClurkin as a “Reigning King of Urban Gospel”. Everybody wants to listen to this man of God in terms of his music and teachings. He discovered his music talent at a tender of nine when he found Jesus. All he loved to do after being saved was to go to and work at church.
  1. Family Background

He was born on 9th November 1959 to Donald Andy McClurkin Sr. and Frances McClurkin in Copiague, New York. Donnie attended Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High school. Donnie McClurkin grew up in a house full of children in the suburban town of Amityville, on New York’s Long Island. “In our household, there were so many kids,” he remembered in an interview with Soul Train. “There were like two sets: the older set and the younger set. My mom and dad had ten kids all together.” At eight his two-year-old brother was killed by a car hit as he followed McClurkin across the street in front of their home. However, he has four sisters; Olivia McClurkin, Cheri McClurkin, Andrea McClurkin, and Tanya McClurkin. The parent of Donnie McClurkin sent him to stay with their relative whiles mourning the death of their son. Staying with his uncle was the worst mistake because he sexually abused him and at age 13 his uncle’s son also raped him. He was traumatized afterward. After some time, he dated some men for some time because it was apparent his experience was changing his lifestyle. McClurkin in 2002 revealed that he battled with homosexuality owing to his experience of sexual abuse. 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.”  The abuse issue was dealt with by the help of two of his sisters too earlier. In 1991 he was diagnosed with leukemia. “I tell people to believe that God will save you,” he says, “ I had to turn around and practice the very thing that I preached. God miraculously healed Donnie of leukemia at 31. Later, McClurkin also had to activate the healing power of Jesus through prayer to remove a cyst that had developed in his throat after he had battled with it for three years. He continues to experience more miracles day by day such as a car accident when he was invited for a live performance in Kenya some years ago such as is this video;

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  1. Career

Donnie McClurkin initially joined the choir at Amityville Full Gospel Tabernacle. He also became a member of Benny Cummings and the Kings Temple Choir at 15. He formed a music group with his older sisters and four friends called McClurkin Singers and the New York Restoration Choir, which recorded some music from as early as 1975. McClurkin Singers and New York Restoration Choir as a young adult; ministered and sang at Perfecting Church in Detroit; released a first solo record, Donnie McClurkin, 1996; published testimonial memoir, Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor, 2001.

In 1983, Gospel Singers collaborated and performed with Trio-Boro Mass Choir which was led by Albert Jamison. Albert Jamison introduced Donnie to a gospel singer James Cleveland who mentored who became a mentor to McClurkin. Annually, McClurkin would make a path to Los Angeles, California to sing with his mentor, James Cleveland at Cornerstone Institutional Baptist Church. Donnie McClurkin sang in the chorus group of Broadway Production of Don’t Get Started from 1987-1989 at Longacre Theatre in New York City. Donnie was introduced to Andrae Crouch, an inspirational singer by his aunt. The aunt of Donnie was a background singer to Andrae Crouch. Andrae Crouch who later became an unnoticeable mentor to the aspiring singer.

In addition to playing the piano as a teenager for a local youth choir and ministry work. The proximity and good relationship Donnie McClurkin had with influential Reverend Winans who happens to be a member of America’s best-known gospel family singers played a facilitating role to Donnie getting recording contract which was in 1996 produced songs like “Stand,” as well as gospel classics like “Holy, Holy, Holy.” A critic from the Christian Music Review Headquarters website gave McClurkin a rave review, commenting, “This man can sing like few men I’ve ever heard…. He has a voice that’s hard to forget.” The album’s sales were very astronomical

After the release of his second album, Live in London and More… in 2000, McClurkin told Billboard ‘that “Some of the traditional gospel community is like a country club—they don’t want to let any ‘outsiders’ in, and they don’t want you associating with others who aren’t in the club. But I don’t believe that crossing over is wrong; it just gives artists like myself more latitude to interact with the secular folks. If anything, it’s in the secular arena where gospel music needs to be heard.”

 i) Studio Albums

1996          Donnie McClurkin

Released: October 29, 1996

Label: Warner Alliance


2003          Again

Released: March 4, 2003

Label: Verity Records


2014          Duets

Released: February 28, 2014

Label: RCA Inspirational


  1. ii) Live Albums

Live in London

Released: August 22, 2000

Label: Verity Records


Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Released: October 26, 2004

Label: Zomba Label Group


We All Are One (Live in Detroit)

Released: December 2, 2008

Label: Verity Records


The Journey (Live)

Released: August 19, 2016

Label: RCA Records


iii) Compilations

The Collection

Released: May 29, 2001

Label: Savoy


The Essential Donnie

Released: September 25, 2007

Label: Verity Records


Playlist: The Very Best of Donnie McClurkin

Released: September 15, 2009

Label: Verity/Legacy Recordings


Donnie McClurkin: Double Play

Released: 2010

Label: Verity Records


  1. iv) Singles

1996          “Stand”

“Speak To My Heart”

Album:      Donnie McClurkin


2000          “We Fall Down”

Album:      Live in London and More…


2003          “The Prayer” (featuring Yolanda Adams)

Album:      Again


2005          “I Call You Faithful”  —

Album:      Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

“Ooh Child” (featuring Kirk Franklin)


2006               “Church Medley”

Album:           Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs


2009              “Wait on the Lord” (featuring Karen Clark Sheard)

Album:          We All Are One (Live in Detroit)


2013              “I Am Amazed” (featuring Erica Campbell & Preashea Hilliard)

Album:          Duets


2014              “We Are Victorious” (featuring Tye Tribbett)

Album:          Duets

2014:            “Stand”

“I Need You”

Album:           The Journey


  1. v) Filmography

1998: The Prince of Egypt (wrote and sang “I Am” & “Humanity”)

2003: The Fighting Temptations

2004: Apollo at 70: A Hot Night in Harlem

2004: The Donnie McClurkin Story: From Darkness to Light

2005: The Gospel


  1. vi) Television

2002: 17th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards – co-host

2004: 19th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards – co-host

2005: 20th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards – co-host

2006: 21st Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards – co-host

2006: An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Stevie Wonder (documentary)

2009: 24th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards – co-host

2010–15: BET’s Sunday Best – judge

2010: 25th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards – host


  1. Awards

Three Grammy Awards,

Ten Stellar Awards,

Two BET Awards,

Two Soul Train Awards,

One Dove Award

One NAACP Image Awards

Gospel Music Excellence Awards

Male Vocalist,

Traditional Soul Gospel Album

Song of the Year, etc.


  1. Ministry

Donnie McClurkin met with Reverend Marvin L. Winans, African American Head Pastor of the Perfecting Church in 1983 when he attended a gospel music seminar. Reverend Marvin L. Winans then invited Donnie McClurkin to join the Perfecting Church. Donnie however, accepted to join the Perfecting Church in 1989 where he was made an associate minister in Detroit, Michigan. Donnie served the church for more than 10 years. After McClurkin was ordained in May 2001 and he opened a new branch of the Perfecting church on Long Island, Freeport, New York where he began pastoring and now a senior pastor there.

Donnie McClurkin struggled with homosexuality due to his past experience from his older relative, but the Lord delivered him through intense prayer and faith in him.

Stirring up new criticism for his belief that homosexuality can be suppressed through prayer, McClurkin told Meyering, “I’m going to stir up a bee’s nest of controversy. I already have a few people in the gay community that has started to take up arms. But I don’t care…. If they want to fight, fine, let’s fight. Let’s fight but know that I’m fighting to win. I don’t care about their propaganda and their agenda. The bottom line, there’s a whole slew of [people] out there that want to be delivered.”

Due to the fact that Donnie wanted his gospel music to reach a lot of people by way of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ he included language medley in Japanese, Spanish, and Dutch in most of his live performances.

He is quoted as saying, “As much as I love music and singing, I really love doing radio and the direct feedback I get from my listeners all over the country. I never thought I would be having this much fun doing radio and I could touch and impact so many beautiful people.”

On cable Television Donnie started series called the Perfecting Youth Faith in 2009. Other TV programmes he was part include Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, The View, Girlfriends and The Parkers. He played a Single Man or a Church Pastor in a movie entitled The Gospel and The Fighting Temptations.

As McClurkin told Marjorie Ford of Dallas-Fort Worth radio station WFAA, “This is my job. The only reason He’s given me this platform is so that I can use it to evangelize the world and let them know about Jesus. And then, step in the background, fade in the shadows, and let all the glory go to God.”


  1. Marriage/Relationship

Matthew McClurkin was born to Donnie McClurkin and Kim in 2002 out of wedlock.

He also has adopted a daughter called Michelle. She was adopted at the age of 9.

When Donnie McClurkin was 56 years old in 2016, it was reported that McClurkin was engaged with CCM singer-songwriter Nicole C. Mullen.

Nicole C. Mullen had known McClurkin for the past 15 years. Nicole C Mullen and David Mullen had divorced in 2014. David Mullen is a music producer and songwriter. David and Nicole Mullen had three children; one daughter and two sons.

Donnie McClurkin and Nicole Mullen finally got married.

Nicole was born on January 3, 1967, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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