Welcome to TGJ Replay!
Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ features, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s newest reflective segment to act as a written quest to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday. Unlike its retrospective predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase entire albums (anderas) from a library of pop and Urban pop music hits.
Now, as fans continue to enjoy ‘Living It’ – the fifth full length studio album from the legendary Dorinda Clark-Cole (released February 17th), we take it back to 2002 when the gospel diva first put her heels on the beaten path to solo success.
It all awaits below:
By 2001, Dorinda Clark Cole‘s name – though highly revered in and out of the gospel music industry – was solely known as one-fourth of the dynamic gospel girl group The Clark Sisters. The familial foursome, originally a quintet, had lent over three decades worth of gospel classics like ‘Name It, Claim It’, ‘Is My Living In Vain’, and, of course, their signature hit ‘You Brought the Sunshine’. But, after older sister/Clark lead singer Twinkie Clark departed in the late 80s, early 90s to carve a solo path up gospel charts, the latter half of the 90s saw her younger sister – Karen Clark Sheard – follow suit with the award winning ‘Finally Karen.’
Their moves prompted an outcry from the group’s fans for Clark-Cole to enter the race with a collection of her own solo material. It made sense as she not only boasts ownership of one of the music industry’s most distinctive voices with its melisma-laced, raspy grit and growl, the jazzy gospel songstress also oozes a performance energy that was truthfully all her own – even amongst her equally talented sisters.
Finally answering the call, Cole would beckon gospel songwriter/producer extraordinaire Asaph Ward and talented songwriting/producing cousin J. Moss to helm the project’s sonic direction while she also lent a few penstrokes to the album’s lyrical content. Their collective musical movement would be titled ‘Dorinda Clark Cole.’
She proclaimed that she was coming out with her “hands up,” but it may have been more apt to profess that she was coming out “swinging.”
With cuts like the R&B slow jam-esque ‘No Not One,’ the high spirited ‘If It Had Not Been For the Lord,’ the ever so churchy ‘You Can’t Hurry God,’ and full speed to the hip-hop inspired ‘It’s Not Me’ and ‘You Need Him,’ the album packed a serious punch that showcased Cole’s uncanny ability to appeal to the best of every sub-genre of the gospel world – traditional, contemporary, and futuristic. Much like the preceding solo offerings of her sisters, the project was lined with a melting pot of sounds that could easily lend themselves to groove in and/or outside of the church.
Also, like the offerings of her sisters (but much unlike some of her nearest gospel competitors), she carried the tunes in a convincing manner that never bordered on forced or inauthentic. This obviously resonated with fans for, not long after its June 2002 debut, the album shot right up to the top 5 on gospel charts.
A clear cut favorite from the set was the soul-stirring ‘I’m Still Here’ – a musical testimony to Cole’s thwarted suicide attempt. It, alongside the album’s Clark Sister-featured ‘Show Me the Way,’ and more, helped lead Dorinda to the forefront of the gospel music industry – nabbing two Stellar Awards and a Lady of Soul award along the way. In fact, the album set off a winning spree that would see the songstress win ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’ at the coveted gospel award shows for each of her first three albums.
Fast forward to today and Dorinda is still clearly the force in the industry to reckon with. Easily snatching the crown as the genre’s hardest working woman, she can be found on her own ‘Word’ network television show, radio show, and now promoting her newest release ‘Living It’ (in stores now) and regular role on Oxygen’s newest reality series ‘Preachers of Detroit.’
But, as the wheels keep spinning for the Grammy winning gospel legend, we can’t help but look back to ode where it all started – 2002’s ‘Dorinda Clark Cole.’ For, it not only launched the diva into the genre’s stratosphere, but also catalyzed the ‘Rose of Gospel’s, as she’s affectionately known, solo movement to gift the gospel music industry some of its most prized musical possessions over the past decade.
Now, while we press play on our jam ‘No Not One (ft. J. Moss),’ you tell us: