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Donnie McClurkin Spills the Beans on the Yolanda Adams Gospel Tribute

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Donnie McClurkin performs onstage during BET Celebration of Gospel 2014 at Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Photo Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Singer and songwriter Donnie McClurkin stopped by the ESSENCE offices to talk about his favorite ESSENCE Festival moment as well as the upcoming ESSENCE Festival, where he'll host the Yolanda Adams Gospel Tribute. Standing at 6'1 and wearing a gray suit, McClurkin couldn't stop gushing about his love and appreciation for Adams and warned us about the excitement to come at this year's Gospel tribute.

ESSENCE: We have a franchise called “Relive The Moment” in which we ask artists to tell us about their favorite ESSENCE Festival moment. Do you a moment you want to relive?

Donnie McClurkin: Last year! Nobody’s ever honored me before and it was kind of surreal to hear other artists get up and do renditions of the songs I’ve done and to see the lavish presentation ESSENCE put out for me and Tramaine Hawkins. There had to be about 7,000 or 8,000 people crammed into the area, and it went on for about four or five hours and nobody left. That was key! It was like 'Oh my God! They do love me!' But it was surreal. The way that it happened and the class that it happened with really impacted me.

ESSENCE: This year you’re going to be a part of the Yolanda Adams tribute.

DM: I’m hosting.

ESSENCE: Are you excited? Nervous?

DM: I don’t know what word to use. It's more of an honor because nobody is a greater support of the Gospel music industry than I am. I am a support person. I want to push what’s happening in the music industry to make Gospel music greater than it was before. So by hosting, I get a chance to honor Yolanda. Yolanda and I have been friends for almost 30 years and I tried to date her once.

You can put that on the record [LAUGHS]. We are best friends. We’re great friends. Sooner or later I’m going to wear her down. Either her or Halle Berry, one of the two [LAUGHS]. But to host and honor Yolanda -- who is such a concentrated focus, hard worker -- is an honor. Everything she does, she does with everything that’s in her. I’m just very happy to take this time to honor her and join different artists to do so. It's going to be crazy and it's going to be holy. We’re going to cry. We’re going to praise God and we’re going to thank God for the gift of Yolanda Adams.

Don't miss Donnie McClurkin hosting this year's all star gospel tribute to longtime friend,Yolanda Adams. The live stream will kick off at 2pm (CST) Sunday, July 6 and feature performances from Erica Campbell, Kim Burrell, Michelle Williams, Jonathan McReynolds, Kierra Sheard and much more. You don't want to miss it!