Interviewing Larry and David Whitfield of The Whitfield Music Group was definitely a tribute to the memory of their brother, “The Maestro” Thomas Whitfield (1954-1992). The interview was both enjoyable and informative, and the CD entitled “This Time” is a must-have because it is anointed. The Whitfield Music Group is about Ministry.
Detroit Gospel.com caught up with the Whitfield brothers and the group before one of their rehearsals. The group has a lot to say through their music and here’s what they had to say to Detroit Gospel.com and God’s people…
DG.com:What was it like being Thomas Whitfield’s brother?
David:For me it was exciting.
David went on to tell us that his excitement came from seeing how the music industry worked and its level of influence over people. David spent a lot of time with Thomas when he was first getting started in gospel music. Being around Thomas was a tremendous learning experience for David. David expressed how exciting it was to see success come to Thomas and how it made him realize that he too wanted to become a minister of music when he grew up.
Larry: Pretty much the same.
Larry agreed with David on what it was like growing up with Thomas. However, Larry added that he was Thomas’s baby brother, and being the youngest, people often confused him as being Thomas’ son because he resembled him so much. Larry also shared how he traveled with Thomas “back in the day” when Thomas was the musician for Prayer Tabernacle under Rev. Craig. But, what excited Larry the most about Thomas was listening to him sing, because for Larry, Thomas’ singing was so unorthodoxed. Larry said that when he was little he tried to pattern himself after Thomas. He smiles as he recalls singing in the bathroom, making the same facial expressions.
DG.com:How did the project, “This Time” come about?
Larry: Years of challenges, years of longsuffering, years of praying, and years of singing with the group which started in 1994.
Larry expresses how everyone in the group has gone through something and how the Lord brought them out. So, as Larry puts it, “Coming together years later to put together this album – ‘This Time’ is the proper name.”
David:The songs on this project pretty much outline what we’ve been through.
David gives us an example as he explains that “Just A Little Talk With Jesus” was a song birthed out of the recognition that we can’t do anything in and of ourselves. “It was when we surrendered ourselves to God – God birthed this project through Larry.” David went on to say that for a long time Larry wouldn’t write music and when he did, the music reflected more of Thomas Whitfield. But, inside the ministry of Thomas Whitfield was Larry Whitfield, so when they submitted to God what their music was to be, “God put it together like two hands in a glove.” David expressed that for a long time he didn’t think he would be doing business in the music industry, but he realizes it was, “God’s purpose by design.” So this project comes out of God’s people experiencing God. “‘This Time’ we will do God’s will because nothing we do is in and of ourselves”.
DG.com:What would you say your Testimony is in regards to this project?
Larry:I was part of a ministry in leadership, but had not committed totally to God, so God shut me down for two years.
Larry shares with us how during this process he prayed for God to restore him and pull him out of the mess that only God could pull him out of. He prayed to the Lord, “If you get me out this time [thus the title of the CD was born], I’ll pray and spend more time with you.” This time restoration happened after 6 years of being ministered to at Mt. Zion New Covenant Baptist church, under the leadership of Bishop Charles L. Middleton. “God fed me, then restored me.” Larry also adds that God gave him favor and started opening doors. Larry started out being part of the praise & worship team sitting under his spiritual father in praise & worship, Howard Webb. Currently Larry is the Minister of Music at his church.
David: The greatest experience for me was watching the Lord bring my brother through his situation.
David adds that not stepping in, and allowing the Lord to work in his brother’s life was powerful. “It was what moved me into my ministry.” David noted how powerful it is to be moved through seeing God bless someone else. The Whitfield Music Group is in the business of building ministry and not about contracts or money, so for David to see different levels of testimonies with the same God, walked him to another level.
David: Watching God’s glory take place in Thomas’ life had an influence on me.
David spoke on how seeing healing and deliverance take place through Thomas Whitfield’s music compelled him to be a part of the music business. The impact Thomas Whitfield had on the music industry was the strongest influence on David to do what he now does.
Larry:My influence will always be Thomas Whitfield. The way he carried himself and the way he sang was a great influence on me. He was like no other.
Larry also mentioned how he and Thomas used to listen to Louise McCord, Eulagene Hurley, Richard Rockmore and DJ Rogers, all pioneers of gospel music. Larry’s personal favorite (other than his brother Thomas Whitfield) is Pastor Marvin Winans who he calls “Mr. Gravy” because when he adds to a song, “it’s gravy” (he smiles). Fred Hammond and Byron Cage, whom he has known since their very early days in gospel music, are also among Larry’s influences. But, by far, Thomas has had the biggest influence on Larry’s singing.
DG.com:What do you consider The Whitfield Music Group’s ministry?
Larry: We minister to the lost and encourage the people of God.
“As Christians we need encouragement,” but Larry makes it clear that the main ministry of the Whitfield Music Group is to the lost; the people who may not have a personal relationship with the Lord.
Stephanie Mickens, one of the original Whitfield Music Group members, spoke on behalf of the group on what it is like singing with the Whitfield brothers. “Being in a group based on ministry and foundation in Jesus Christ takes commitment.” Stephanie says she has seen people come and go because it’s hard being committed, but ministering to the lost is what she believes God has given to Larry and David. The group is committed and blessed to be a part of the ministry of the Whitfield Music Group.
Larry: We’re living in the last days. We took this saying for granted as children, but we can see the signs are so prevalent now.
Larry adds that there is an urgency to share Christ with the lost so anyone who is a believer and has a music or preaching ministry should be getting the word out. Larry wants to encourage up-and-coming artists to seek God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness. He truly believes that if gospel artists use their gifts and talents for God’s pleasure, all desires will be added. In closing, Larry acknowledges the gifts, talents, and commitment of the group members and music director Demetrius “Krayon” Nabors as a gift from God.
Editor’s note: Detroit Gospel.com is blessed to receive a lot of CD’s for review and although we may not be able to feature every artist, we do take the time to listen to each and every one of them. When we listened to “This Time,” the powerful anointing on this project blew us away. Our belief in the sincerity of the ministry behind this project was confirmed when we had the opportunity to meet and hear from David and Larry first-hand. It was even further confirmed when I had an opportunity to sit up under The Whitfield Music Group’s ministry at a recent musical. While the singing (SAANNGGing) was phenomenal, the ministry evident was even more phenomenal. I witnessed a saint transformed as the group moved aside and allowed the Spirit of the Lord to move. The Whitfield Music Group is the real deal and Detroit Gospel.com prays all the blessings of God on their ministry and their music.
For more information on The Whitfield Music Group check out their website at whitfieldmg.org.
The Whitfield Music Group MEMBERS (taken from CD jacket): Vocalists: “Ms. Freddie” Kelly, Casey Willis-Abner, Cassandra Wallace, Stacie Whitfield, Stephanie Mickens, Marquida Mobley, David Whitfield, Levertis Truitt, Sean Williams, Stephen Moseley, Melissa Whitfield, Larry Whitfield WMG Band: Demetrius “Krayon” Nabors, keyboards, organ & programming; Damon Womack, bass; Conru Carpenter, drums, programming on “Intimacy” Guest Appearances: Myron Bell, drums on “This Time”; Stephen Moseley, drums
The Whitfield Music Group BIOGRAPHY (taken from CD jacket):
In the minds of two very talented young men, Larry Whitfied and David Whitfield, the inception of the Whitfield Music roup was formed in 1994. The death of their borther “The Maestro” Thomas Whitfield devastated the Family, and world of Gospel music, but not God’s plan. The Lord then made manifest in the Brothers a continuing vision of reaching the ears of many who are lost, to share the Gospel through song. A MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD!
The singing aggregation, comprised of various soloists, musicians, singers, etc., that they had known for some years, possessing the versatility and potential to sing the contemporary and traditional style music that differentiated The Whitfield Music Group from many others. Larry Whitfield, and their Musical Director, Demetrius “Krayon” Nabors, spent many hours writing and arranging music, and they sought for singers and musicians that could easily adapt to the task, without simplifying the musical changes. Our goal was to sing for the Lord, and Minister to his people without limitations.
THE MINISTRY – We are endeavored to sing for the Lord knowing that, when the Lord is invited, He makes His presence known and available to the sick, the broken hearted, discouraged, suicidal, drug addicted, whatever the case may be. Over the years many alter calls have been made. Many people have accepted the Lord as their personal savior; they’ve been healed, delivered, set free, and encouraged!
For more information on The Whitfield Music Group you can go to their website: www.whitfieldmg.org.
Editor’s Review on CDBaby.com: “This Time” is a phenomenal project in every sense of the word. The production, the songwriting, the vocals, the music…everything is first class all the way. It’s rare that I find an album where every track is strong, but “This Time” truly stands out (with my favorite cut being the title track, “This Time”). If you enjoy good music, gospel or otherwise, then you’re in for a real treat because “This Time” is nothing short of GREAT music.