In The Stellar Spotlight With Award Winning Songwriter Derrick Starks
GOSPELflava took time to chat with Stellar nominated, BMI award winning songwriter, producer, music director and musician extraordinaire Derrick Starks on his way to this year’s Stellar Awards in Las Vegas.
GospelFlava: Derrick, how goes it?
Derrick Starks: I feel a Darryl Coley song in my spirit today, “God’s been so good to me that I just can’t tell it all. (Come on Gregory, sing with me.) He’s done so much for me that I just can’t tell it all. I can’t tell it all.” All of this is nothing short of AMAZING. God is a promise keeper and His word is true, that He can do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). I am honored and humbled to be in THIS place and space and I dare not take all of the credit, because this is a God thing.
GospelFlava: So the GEI Live project brings you front and center at this year’s Stellar Awards.
Derrick Starks: Yes, I am truly blessed to serve one of the greatest spiritual leaders in Christendom, the Bishop J. Drew Sheard. Greater Emmanuel is a one of a kind church with a great leader. I remember going to Bishop and telling him it was time for the choir to record again and how I felt when he entrusted the project to his son, J Drew and me. He allowed us the opportunity and freedom to do what we wanted. The recording itself was a night of GLORY. The presence of God was thick in the place, which was what we prayed and worked for. The choir did a fantastic job in meeting our expectations, so this is definitely a win for them. Now, trust me when I tell you, we didn’t set out to win awards, have hit radio singles, none of that. Our goal was to Glorify God in the music that we sing and help people in the process. God set his approval on it, so the rest was on him.
GospelFlava: The success of Hang On is just phenomenal!
Derrick Starks: I have to celebrate my sister, Kierra Sheard. Kierra took the song and ran with the vision. God opened doors and it just seemed that everywhere she went, people wanted to hear it and needed to hear it. Hang On In There is Bishop’s monniker motto. He is an encourager. So, it was a good thing that we had a song that served as a source of encouragement to people across the country. Radio embraced the song and we went to number 1 on the Billboard charts. Then the video came out and we are right at the threshold on amassing 5 million views. The testimonies continue to pour in every week on how this one song has touched and inspired people and thats what we wanted to do. I have to be honest. There were other songs on the disc that we thought were noteworthy. My wife, Gretchen penned a churchy tune and I was getting ready to give her space to spread her wings as a songwriter, and of course the Clark Sisters stretch out on Look To The Hills and we make another round on Never Alone and we can’t leave out Lady Karen Clark Sheard (the voice) wearing us down to nothing. With all that music, and then Hang On hit with such a vengence. Its still making the rounds on the charts. We are still in the top 50 on the digital downloads chart and the icing on the cake was Billboard Magazine’s naming us their Best New Artist. Nobody but a GOD can do a thing like this.
Gospelflava: Derrick, you’ve been busy in reviving the Family and Friends mantle.
Derrick Starks: I have. I don’t believe God deposited all of this in us for us to take it back to heaven when we leave here. God has commissioned us (yes, I’m from Detroit) and mandated us to teach our children and thier children the foundational principles that have guided us over the years. Ron Winans Family and Friends afforded me an opportunity to perfect my gifts and abilities and to learn the ins and outs of ministry within the industry. I want to do the same. Hart Ramsey came all the way from Alabama and poured directly into us. God showed up at the recording session. It was a precious memories moment as we remembered the legacy of Ron Winans and I am happy to add my name to continue what he started. We are going to Las Vegas this weekend to give radio and the press a little taste of what’s to come in Derrick Starks Family and Friends Choir. Our listening event is on Friday, March 23rd at the Bailiwick Restaurant inside the Orleans Hotel. Space is limited and there is a lot going on during Stellar weekend, but I am happy to say we are doing our part.
Gospelflava: Are you performing during the telecast?
Derrick Starks: I am not, but I am glad Kierra will lift her voice to the rafters and tell the people once more to Hang On In There!