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As part of contemporary gospel phenomenon the Clark Sisters, Detroit-based Dorinda Clark-Cole helped hone the inimitable Clark sound, an intricate harmonic blend that would go on to influence scores of performers in the R&B, pop, and hip-hop realms. Born Dorinda Grace Clark in 1957, the singer first took to the church stage when she was five and, like sisters Jacky Clark-Chisholm, Elbertina "Twinkie" Clark, and Karen Clark-Sheard, she learned the tools of the music trade under the tutelage of her mother, church music matriarch Mattie Moss Clark. A stern, demanding instructor, Moss Clark had high expectations for her daughters, going beyond the typical "raised singing in the choir" approach of other black vocalists. In time, all the Sunday specials, tough rehearsal schedules, and late-night practice sessions Moss Clark imposed on her offspring paid off, serving as a springboard for the launch of the Clark Sisters as a bona fide quartet sensation in the early '70s.
Clark-Cole, in particular, earned the reputation of being the "jazzy one" of the group -- a potent mezzo-soprano with a distinctive command of escalating runs, scats, and riffs. Clark-Cole's surefire rasp was featured front and center during the apex of the Clark Sisters' run in the '80s, when she took the lead of the funkafied "Overdose of the Holy Ghost," a B-side to the foursome's career-defining single, "You Brought the Sunshine." The songbird stuck it out with the group after sister Twinkie left to pursue a solo career in the early '90s, but then refocused her energies on other ventures as the group's star dwindled in the middle of the decade. Clark-Cole took a more active role preaching and ministering at the Clarks' longtime denomination, the Church of God in Christ, where she also held various administrative and music-related titles both regionally and nationally.
Following in the footsteps of Twinkie and younger sister Karen, Clark-Cole stepped out as a solo artist in 2002 with the release of her self-titled debut on Gospo Centric, a disc that yielded the hits "I'm Coming Out" and the showstopping "I'm Still Here." She issued the live follow-up, The Rose of Gospel, in 2005, and the all-studio Take It Back appeared in 2008. While the singer earned acclaim and a number of awards for this solo material -- most notably two Stellar Awards and a Soul Train Lady of Soul statuette for her first disc -- it took a 2006 reunion with the Clark Sisters, the smash comeback album Live: One Last Time, for Clark-Cole to score her first two Grammy Awards.
Dorinda Clark-Cole (born Dorinda Grace Clark; October 19, 1957) is a two-time Grammy Award-winning American evangelist and gospel singer. She is best known as a member of The Clark Sisters and as a daughter of pioneering choral director Mattie Moss Clark.The Clark Lounge
ContentsBiography1.1 Early life1.2 Recording career1.3 Personal and Religious life1.4 Other Career Ventures & Accomplishments
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, to the late Elbert and Dr. Mattie Moss-Clark, Clark-Cole began singing at an early age with her sisters Karen, Twinkie, Jacky, and Denise. The sisters sang in their father's church and usually performed songs written and composed by their mother. Clark-Cole, who is referred to as the "jazzy sister" of the group, helped develop what is known as "The Clark Sound", which often features high and fast melismas, riffs, runs, scats, and soulful growls. Dorinda attributes her fiery, convicting singing style to her mother, who saw the gift of singing and preaching in her at an early age. Back in the 1960s and 70’s, when other children their age were playing outside, Dorinda and her sisters had to work on their now famous familial harmonies. She says, “We made a lot of sacrifices. My mom was a stickler for making sure we rehearsed before we went out to perform. She saw the gifts and talents within us and started shaping and molding us. She taught us discipline along with how to use our gifts.” Dorinda sang lead on "Overdose Of The Holy Ghost", as well as on "My Reedemer Liveth", the B-side to The Clark Sisters' biggest single "You Brought the Sunshine"
Clark-Cole's self-titled solo debut Dorinda Clark-Cole, released in June 2002 on Gospo Centric Records/Zomba Label Group, won two Stellar Awards and a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award (Best Female Gospel Artist). The album featured the hit single "I'm Coming Out". Her second album, released under the same label, The Rose of Gospel, was released in August 2005. The album debuted in Billboard’s Top 5 and garnered a Grammy Nomination for the Best Traditional Soul Gospel album & won 2007 and 2009 Stellar Award for the “Best Female Artist of The Year”. The live portions of both albums were produced by Asaph Ward, famous for his work with Kim Burrell, who counts Dorinda as well as the Clark Sisters as a direct vocal influence.
After being pushed back from a prematurely stated date in fall 2007, Dorinda Clark-Cole's third solo CD also released on Gospo Centric Records/ Zomba Label Group, Take It Back was released on April 15, 2008. Producers Alex "Asaph" Ward, PAJAM, and Rodney Jerkins contributed to the project. Dorinda released a six song (EP) album entitled In The Face Of Change on September 21. It included hit songs such as "Change" written by her son Jay Cole and "BAMM" which was a “Verizon Select”. Released on her own ministry label, "Harvestime Ministries", the album was never heard of until she announced it the day of its release. A video on YouTube has a preview of all of the new songs on the record. Her latest release, another solo project entitled "I Survived" with the hits "Back to You", and "He Brought Me", was released in August 2011 under a new label, Light Records. The project also consists of a duet titled, "Thank You" with her sister Twinkie Clark.
Dorinda was featured on the title track of Kirk Franklin's Hero album.
In early spring of 2009, Dorinda received the honor of performing Nothing but the Truth for the Sojourner Truth unveiling on Capitol Hill for 1st Lady Michelle Obama and other officials. Dorinda's solo career continues to progress with the newly established deal with Light Records.
As a member of the world renowned Clark Sisters, Dr. Cole won three Grammys in 2008. Live - One Last Time won the Best Traditional Gospel Album. Its album track "Blessed & Highly Favored" won the Best Gospel Performance as well as the individual Best Gospel Song. With the group she appeared nationally on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, ABC's "The View", Bobby Jones Gospel, Lift Every Voice, Gospel Superfest, TBN’s Praise the Lord, The Stellar Awards and The Lady of Soul Awards.
Personal and Religious life
Clark-Cole has been evangelizing and juggling hundreds of speaking engagements annually for over twenty years, along with her singing career and being a wife and mother. She is married to Elder Gregory Cole and together they have 2 children, Nikkia Cole-Beach and Gregory Jr. (Jay Cole). In March 2011, Nikkia and husband Deon Beach Sr., gave birth to a son Deon Beach Jr. making this Dorinda's first grandchild whom she often publicly rejoices about. She ministers nationally as well as internationally in countries such as England, Japan, Germany, France, Korea and South Africa. She made history in South Africa, having been the first woman to minister in the pulpit to over 4,000 people.
In addition to being a recording artist and evangelist, Clark-Cole is a staple in the Church of God in Christ of which she is a licensed National Evangelist, assistant state mother for the Michigan North Central Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ and Assistant Elect Lady of the COGIC's International Evangelism Department. She was an administrator and instructor at the Clark Conservatory of Music in Detroit (founded by Mattie Moss Clark in 1979) and is an administrator of ministry at the Greater Emmanuel Institutional COGIC, pastored by her brother-in-law, Bishop J. Drew Sheard.
Clark-Cole makes it known that she hasn’t always been at such a joyous place in her life by testifying about a very trying time in her life when she once contemplated suicide. She recounts, “At that time my mother was not with me to help me get through that rough time. We were always dependent on our mom because she was always there… I didn’t understand why it was happening to me…It was very devastating. And it caused me to go into a state of depression…I just couldn’t take it anymore and I got into my car and I began to drive to the river. I was about to drive my car off the bridge. And while I was right there…the enemy was speaking to me, so I had a war going on. I began to drive and accelerate up to 80 miles per hour. God spoke to me just as plain as day and said, ‘Dorinda, are you going to let everything that has been invested in you go down the drain?’ And when I heard God’s voice, I began to take my foot off the accelerator and the car started coasting right to the bridge. And the Lord whispered to me and said, ‘Peace be unto you.’ And that’s when I grabbed the steering wheel and I said, Lord I thank you. I began to weep and cry. So if it had not been for God keeping me right then I would have been doomed and consumed. I want it to reach those who are strung out on drugs. I want them to be able to hand it over to other drug abusers and say listen to it and have it bless their lives.”
Other Career Ventures & Accomplishments
She is the new host of TCT Network’s Dorinda Show, co-host of TCT’s Celebrate on the Road, former Stellar Awards host, guest judge on Verizon's "How Sweet The Sound" national televised competition, the former spokes model for Donna Vinci Clothing and her “Rose Collection” is now distributed by Terra Mina Fashions. She has since partnered with MR. SONG, an immaculate fashion designer of Detroit, in creating The Bloom Collection, a couture collection of hat adorning accessories. She is National Radio Host of Serving Up Soul with Dorinda Clark Cole which currently syndicates to 50 affiliated radio stations. She is also the Founder and CEO of Lifeline Productions Inc., which holds an annual Singers & Musicians Conference. Through this conference it is her goal to educate a new generation of ministers of the importance of “keeping ministry in the music” by offering various activities including daily workshops and evening worship services featuring from artists whose ministries have gone beyond ministering in song. In September 2004 she received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Mt. Carmel Theological Seminary of Fresno, CA. It was rumored that in 2011, Clark-Cole would be playing Kia Radisson in The Marriage Lover, but it never happened.
Dorinda says that if she did not have a career in music that she would be "dancing on Broadway," and her dream would be "to sing with Bette Midler, Cher and Celine Dion". She is currently represented by Keith Douglas, CEO of RKD Music Management in Los Angeles, California.Terron Austin. "Dorinda Clark Cole (Biography)". TheClarkSisters.com. "Dorinda's Third: Dorinda Clark-Cole readies 'Yesterday' album". Cross Rhythms. Yesterday on CD Universe "The Clark Sisters News". Retrieved 2008-02-19. Stan North. "Kirk Franklin: Hero (album review)". GospelFlava.com. Clark, Melanie (June 2002). "Insider with Dorinda Clark Cole". Gospelflava.com.