Darlene McCoy, a well-known praise leader and urban inspirational artist, finally prepares for her premiere self-titled release that has all the indications of the promise and vitality of a new artist making her tremendous impact on the music world. The eponymous debut is an album that’s by song to song powerful, moving and beautiful.
Assorted producers worked on the project, yet the sum total of their work fits together in a collaborative seamless way. A who’s who of producers is credited including Dallas Austin, Tommy Sims, Fred “Uncle Freddie” Jerkins, J. Moss and Antonio Neal. And yet, it is apparent that McCoy’s powerful voice and vision shine through. For a vocalist who admits “music is her language,” the album speaks loudly and clearly about worship and praise to God amongst all people regardless of style, genre or culture.
“My definition of worship is a lifestyle,” said McCoy. “I’m a cosmopolitan person who has urban sensibilities and it is who I am and this IS my worship. When I write and sing, I want it to be from me, and this album reveals how I offer my praise and my adoration to God. It is no less or no more because it’s contemporarily styled.”
Giving listeners all of her, the self-titled release is a way to connect with people from all over. “I want them to see me and find their own way to give Him glory and praise. I went into the recording with the hopes of reaching those in my life – neighbors, friends, the person in the market … the every day people and give them what I know of God,” McCoy said.
The first single “If there Were No You,” was written and produced by hit maker J. Moss and in his special story-telling and relatable way, gave McCoy an all-encompassing song of the wholeness and completeness of God.
“They sent me a few songs to listen to,” explained McCoy. “I started listening to some of the early tracks but then I came across this particular song and I started writing and vibing off the track. When we spoke, J. let me know that the song was already written and once I heard it, I just begged him for the song. Finally he relented and the end result is all I could hope for.”
“I Adore You,” a classically structured love song that evokes thoughts of the most intimate of relationships while lyrically letting us know that He is the ultimate lover of our souls. An affectionate song that talks about the tensile strength of love for God and it is music at its best, which is peeled down to just the essentials: voice, melody and beautifully arranged instrumentation.
Written by fellow laborer in the Gospel, Antonio Neal, McCoy says the song and the writing process with Neal helped grow her artistically and really validated much of what her musical style has always been. Another song from Neal is the rhythmic “Fallen In Love.” With charming lyrics, it’s an acoustically smooth sounding song in the vein of great R&B hits.
Able to show range, McCoy lets loose a bit on the opening energetic rockin’“Good To Me,” with a hard driving guitar lick where her big voice manages to power through the track. “I can listen to any music and music is my language,” said McCoy.
“I really believe that our music should have no boundaries or limits because God is limitless and has no boundaries. In order for His Word will get to the world, we’ve got to start in music and in entertainment. That is how people will grab hold to it and that’s where people will find God … through the music.”
Another favorite is “U.N.I.T.Y.” that straightforwardly speaks to exactly what McCoy stands for – a universal connection to God through varied expressions of praise. Though inspired by the memorable news footage of Hurricane Katrina, McCoy applies what she saw to everyday life. Although the commonality for those people was devastation; our commonality now should be Jesus. How instead of fighting, through hope it can bring people together. “In working with Tommy Sims, who produced the song, he left it wide open for me to express myself and was really able to bring out what I was thinking,” she said.
“Finally,” is a personal favorite for McCoy and is a real platform to showcase her determined and able vocals. A song she says “tells her own testimony of her relationship with God.” “It’s my story because in the past I had settled for so many things and boxed myself … but when I got into relationship with God and got to know Him for myself, I finally had that security in who I am and who he ordained me to be.”
“DARLENE MCCOY” bears the hallmark of enduring praise, worship and relationship with Christ. From the rocking force of “Good To Me,” to the feel good “Simply Because,” and the declarative “I Believe” it is a universal album for every-day-worship for an every-day-relationship. McCoy creates a lasting impression as a singer who does more than cross genres but transcends the definitions of what praise and worship should sound like and she takes pride in the soulful and attuned artist that she is.