Donald Andrew McClurkin, Jr. (born November 9, 1959) is an American gospel music singer and minister. He has won three Grammy awards, ten Stellar awards, two BET awards, two Soul Train awards, one Dove award and one NAACP Image award for his work.
McClurkin was born Copiague, New York and raised in Chester, South Carolina. When he was eight years old, his two-year-old brother was hit and killed by a speeding driver and the night of the funeral, McClurkin’s uncle raped him. Domestic violence and drug abuse took hold in the family. At the age of thirteen, McClurkin was again raped, this time by his cousin, his uncle’s son. McClurkin found comfort through an aunt who sang background vocals with gospel music musician Andraé Crouch. On 2 April 2011 during his first show in Harare, Zimbabwe, Donnie also made reference to his childhood abuse and how such adversity has shaped him as a Christian.
After staying close to Christ throughout his boyhood, he began to play piano and sing with his church youth choir. He formed the McClurkin Singers by the time he was a teenager, and later formed another group, the New York Restoration Choir.
He was hired as an associate minister at Marvin Winans’ Perfecting Faith Church in 1989. The Winans are a well-established family of singers who have dominated the modern gospel genre and also crossed over into soul and pop. McClurkin served as an assistant to Winans for over a decade.
In 1991, a sharp pain and swelling, followed by internal bleeding, led, he says, to a diagnosis of leukemia. The doctor suggested immediate treatment, but McClurkin, who was then 31, decided take his own advice. “I tell people to believe that God will save you,” he says, “[and] I had to turn around and practice the very thing that I preached.”
He was ordained and sent out by Winans in 2001 to establish Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, Long Island, where he is now Senior Pastor.
In 2004, he sang at the Republican National Convention. The appearance generated criticism for the event organizers and McClurkin for his statements on homosexuality. He claims to have struggled with homosexuality during his youth for several years, but states that he is now “delivered” from the condition. McClurkin wrote that homosexuality is a spiritual issue and that one can be delivered from it but by God; “The abnormal use of my sexuality continued until I came to realize that I was broken and that homosexuality was not God’s intention [...] for my masculinity. He then describes himself as going through a process by which he became “saved and sanctified.” McClurkin has stated that homosexuality is a curse. McClurkin also speaks openly about sexual issues since becoming the biological father of a child with a woman to whom he was not married. He uses these life experiences in his concerts and speaking engagements.
McClurkin’s listing as a headlining performer for Senator Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign stirred controversy because of his views on homosexuality. As a result McClurkin was removed from the performance roster but he still performed at one of the concerts.
A friendship with a Warner Alliance executive resulted in his signing to the label for his 1996 self-titled LP, with producers Mark Kibble of Take 6, Cedric and Victor Caldwell plus Andraé Crouch. The disc, which featured the perennially popular “Stand,” went gold shortly after being publicly lauded by Oprah Winfrey. At the 48th annual Grammy Awards, he won in the category Traditional Soul Gospel Album, for “Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs”. McClurkin is best known for his hit songs “Stand” and “We Fall Down” which were played in heavy rotation on both Gospel and Urban radio. His three solo albums have topped the Billboard charts.
Dovetailing off the success of his near double-platinum selling live album, McClurkin released “We All Are One: Live In Detroit” in 2009 which also topped Billboard charts across various musical genres. He performed tracks on his last live album in Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Dutch.
Radio and television
Tom Versen and Tony Sisti of T&T Creative http://www.tandtcreative.com signed Grammy winner Donnie McClurkin to a radio syndication deal with advertising giant Dial-Global and syndicator Gary Bernstein. T&T Creative provided a mobile recording studio in Pastor Donnie’s church that he can also take on the road. 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 people.”
In 2009 he also broadcast his own television show titled “Perfecting Your Faith” on cable television. His television appearances include Good Morning America, CBS Saturday’s Early Show, and the View. He has also been featured in movies like “The Gospel”, “The Fighting Temptations” and television shows “Girlfriends” and “The Parkers.”