The Rose of Gospel

Dorinda Clark-Cole’s ministry in the gospel music arena is internationally known, but she is also a powerful minister of the gospel even when there are no notes to be heard. She is one of those rare artists whose music ministry, personal walk with God, words, and actions all align to sustain a gospel music career that has both power and longevity. In a phrase, interviewing Dorinda, “blessed my socks off!”

Dorinda and Renee’ at the 2005 Stellar Awards

To see Dorinda’s youthful beauty gracing her album covers, it’s hard to imagine that she is indeed one of the “legends” of the gospel world. The Clark Sisters were among the pioneers of what is now called “contemporary gospel” and Dorinda and her sisters (Karen Clark Sheard, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark and Jackie Clark Chisholm) are still going strong with solo projects.

Karen Clark-Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, & Jackie Clark-Chisholm – Taken at Dorinda’s CD Listening Party

Dorinda took a moment out of her very busy schedule to sit down with Detroit and discuss what has kept her ministry strong all of these years…

Renee’: What was your inspiration for this new project?

Dorinda Clark-Cole: Actually, I didn’t really think this project would be done the way it was, because God has really been ministering through me a lot through the Word, not necessarily in singing. But, God gives us inspiration in writing as well, and a lot of time inspiration comes when you’re preaching to others, but you’re really preaching to yourself. So the inspiration really kind of derived from that and me ministering the Word of God. One song in particular happens to be my testimony, “Nobody Did It But God,” because I was dealing with some situations, like we all go through from time to time. God allows us to go through things and then He shows up when we think He is gone. He comes right “smack dab” in the middle of our situation, shows up and brings us through it, and we look at it and say, “Nobody could have done it but God.” So, it’s the miracle God allows us to see after He has done what He’s done and taken us through the trials.

Renee’: Praise God! Is that your favorite song on the CD?

Dorinda Clark-Cole: I have quite a few favorite songs on here. “Everything He Promised” is one of the songs that was written and sung by one of the winners at my conference. This young man is a very talented composer, and up-and-coming songwriter, who is doing so very well. I admire him for his love for God, and he is a praise and worship leader. The song ministered so in the conference that we could not move on. People were trying to critique him but everybody had given him 10’s because the anointing came in and there ain’t nothing you can do about the anointing. It was just so powerful because he was so sincere at the delivery of his song. At one point in the song, it speaks about when friends walk away, ‘turn their backs and walk away and left you without words to say, but you’re still here.’ He’ll hear and God’s going to do everything that He promised. You know the bible says His word is so rich and dwells in us and His word is yea and Amen. He will do everything that he has promised us. Even in the future to come.

Renee’: Amen! What is the young man’s name?

Dorinda Clark-Cole: Kevin Gray. He’s out of Washington, D.C. As a matter of fact, he’s going to be at my conference as well. He does a seminar there.

Renee’: In your music ministry is there a certain group of people that you’re trying to reach?

Dorinda Clark-Cole: Not really. When I first started out in the singing ministry, away by myself without my sisters, I wanted God to give me something that was different from the ordinary – that is to reach everybody. Some people have a special genre of music that speaks to different people, but I want my music to reach from the youngest to the oldest, and I’m finding that it really is, and God has given me how to at least try to bait some of the people in. When you look at the young people that’s why you see me with the dancers, because it really kinda gets the young people involved and they look at me and say, ‘Wow, Wee. Look at this lady. She’s doing all of this,’ and it kinda draws them in. But then, of course, I have my cousin, J Moss, who actually wrote several songs on my last CD. He kind of pulled in a lot of young people as well. Then I’m also trying to reach the middle-aged and the older senior people, and I’m finding that my music is a blessing to so many people.

Renee’: Who has influenced you musically?

Dorinda Clark-Cole: We call them our peers in the Gospel music arena, or co-laborers in the ministry, those who work with us, because we share the same stage. Of course, one person in particular whom I have such great love for, is my sister, Karen, who is actually the first lady of our church. I’m a member of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ. I have to give a shout out to my pastor, Pastor J. Drew Sheard, who has really been a great inspiration in my ministerial gifts and my ministerial ministry, where God has really been dealing with me. He has mentored me in so many ways. I thought I had it going on! I found out that when I got up under leadership the way that God wanted me to be, and being obedient and submissive to leadership, then God showed me there has to be a shepherd to shepherd you. How many times do we as people in the music industry think we got it going on, but Jesus says you have to have a home base. You’ve got to be connected to a ministry. So Pastor Sheard is just someone that I thank God for. God has just put him there in my life to show me and to be able to correct me and scold me. You have to have those kinds of people in your life that will tell you, ‘no, you didn’t do that right.’ Those kinds of things are important.

I have to give a “shout out” to my Pastor, but Karen, who is such a sweetheart, is whom I admire for her gift and her talent. I’m not just saying that because she’s my sister. But when you see a person and see how God has blessed them musically, I just thank God for her. Vickie Winans is another one of my sisters who God has gifted as well, and Vanessa Bell-Armstrong. These are people that we’ve actually grown up together in the ministry. The list goes on and on and on. One person in particular that I really look up to is Shirley Caesar. You know how when you’re growing up as a kid you try to mimic a person you always loved? Well, Shirley Caesar was mine. Stevie Wonder was Twinkie’s. Aretha Franklin was Karen’s. And of course, my mother Mattie Moss Clarke, who mentored me, coached me, and gave me all the things that I needed for this time and this season in my life.

Renee’: To What do you attribute your longevity in this music ministry? I’m telling you. You look so young, so beautiful.

Dorinda Clark-Cole: Bless you!

Renee’: I know it’s God, but are there any other things that you can tell us about eating or sleeping right.

Dorinda Clark-Cole: Of course, first of all, before you called I had my quiet time with God. You have to do that everyday because you know the Bible says we must worship him in spirit and in truth and to have a relationship with Him you must have it in order to keep and stay where you are. God can give you life and longevity and that’s what He has given me. After that, of course, I try to run a mile a day. “A mile a day keeps the doctor away,” and it really helps health wise and in singing, to keep my endurance, while I’m ministering the word of God. Not only that, but with singing it helps with breathing as well. I used to teach voice at my Mom’s school. So that is one of the tips that I used to give out to my students, in addition to giving them breathing exercises. These exercises are some of the things that I do before I sing, I take really deep breaths to get the windpipes going. Those are the kinds of things that keep Dorinda going. And of course Ryan Baker, I got to give it to him, my choreographer, he keeps me going and works me out and kind of gets me going.

Renee’: Youthfulcised!

Dorinda Clark-Cole: Those are some of the things that keep Dorinda, that keep me going, and then I take vitamins too. That’s one of the things that I talk about to those trying to get started in the music ministry and industry. Vitamins will keep you from catching a lot of colds and they keep your resistance up. I used to catch a lot of colds and I didn’t realize that it was because I was not taking vitamins. So that was one of the things that really kind of keeps me up and I take my little vitality packs. I take them wherever I go and I take my vitamins every day. It’s so important!

Renee’: Girl, you’re just blessing me!

Dorinda Clark-Cole: People don’t understand when you’re dealing in ministry our work time is basically at night. We’re in church and we’re doing things constantly for ministry so nighttime is when we are actually working. When you get up in the morning you’re really tired, so take the vitamins during the day, and try to take them the same time, it keeps your body going. So that’s so important.

Renee’: What is it that you want people to know about Dorinda before we close this interview?

Dorinda Clark-Cole: Well, I want to say I really thank God for what God is doing today by way of Detroit Allowing me to remain visible for the fans and people trying to read about me. Keeping me visible before the people. Thanks of course to PR, Brother Jeff [Cross] will let them know what’s happening with the Rose of Gospel. I must say I am grateful to God for what He is doing and I just want to give a little tip out to those who are in the ministry of music and those in the ministry. It is important to stay faithful to God and look where God is taking His people. He is allowing us to prosper in ways that we never ever thought we would prosper. The Bible says if you stay faithful over a few things he’ll make you ruler over many. He’s putting us in a place to rule, and I say it all the time that we will not continue to be renters, but we’ll be owners. God is putting us into this field of ownership, that he is allowing us to own condos, to own townhouses, and to own land for the longevity of our lives, our children, and our children’s children. You know when you die you won’t want to just leave it for somebody, but you’ll leave it for your children and invest in their lives, because that is why God is increasing and expanding us to be able to spill it over to our seed. And I just want to say stay faithful to God and give all that you can and you will reap the benefits. He will give you everything that He has promised. Stay faithful and know that the best is yet to come. Where you are is not where you’re going to be. God has so much in store for you. Not only in store, but in the store. Because in the store are some things that we are looking for that we need to better our lives. God doesn’t want us to stay where we are, but he wants us to look forward for greater things.

Renee’: Amen!

Dorinda Clark-Cole: I just want to thank you for your time and putting “The Rose of Gospel” in the eyes of the people.

Renee’: Yes, that’s something I missed—Where did “The Rose of Gospel” come from?

Dorinda Clark-Cole: [It comes from] the personal touch that I give roses out as I minister in song. It’s just a personal touch from me to the person that I hand the rose, just to encourage them. They may be going through. I can’t feel what they’re going through, but I want to minister to them one-on-one and that rose lets them know that they can make it. That God will do everything that He has promised. Yes.

Renee’: And I receive that, Amen!

Renee’, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Brenda Underwood – Taken at Dorinda’s CD Listening Party

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“Live From Houston: The Rose of Gospel ” CD TRACKS:

  1. Great Is the Lord
  2. So Many Times
  3. Nobody But God
  4. Nobody But God (Reprise)
  5. Everything He Promised
  6. Work to Do
  7. For the Rest of My Life
  8. Say Yes
  9. I’ve Got a Reason
  10. Worked Out for My Good
  11. I’m Out and Over
  12. Word Becomes Flesh (Spoken Word) [*]