EXCLUSIVE: ‘Rose of Gospel’ Dorinda Clark Cole Talks Singing, Reality TV and Missy Elliott

The beautifully gifted Dorinda Clark Cole, who is also known as “the rose of Gospel,” has been ministering to the masses since she was a little girl under the tutelage of her legendary mother, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark.

Nowadays, singing is just a fraction of all the things Cole has going on. Not only has she just released her brand new solo album Living It, she is also a sought-after preacher, clothing designer, radio and TV host and now a reality TV star.

ESSENCE.COM recently sat down with Cole to talk about the meaning behind her new album, the legendary Clark Sisters and joining the cast of The Preachers of Detroit.

Living It is your fifth solo album. What makes this particular album so special for you?
I know every artist say this when they put a new album out, but I really feel this is my best masterpiece. Each album just continues to get better and better. This project means so much to me at this stage in my life because it has truly been a faith journey. We have to go through things for God to bring us out, so we’ll have a testimony to share with the world. I went through a lot during the recording of this CD. I almost lost my house twice! When my house was going into foreclosure, I didn’t know how God was going to fix the situation, but I had to believe he had a plan. Even when the appraisers were taking pictures of my house, I told God we can’t both be embarrassed, so you have to come through! And that’s exactly what he did! I have a whole new definition of faith and the power of God. So this album means the world to me. I would be doing a disservice to the world if I perpetrated like I never go through any problems. 

With the state of the music industry the way it is, have you ever thought about just preaching?
I couldn’t walk away from music if I tried. There was a time in my life when the enemy was literally nudging me to kill myself and I committed to God that I would never go back there. There have been many times in ministry that I wanted to give up, but imagine what I would have missed out on had I given up.

You are part of the legendary group The Clark Sisters. Does it ever shock you to hear that you and your sisters have influenced so many artists?
Honestly, we didn’t believe all these big stars really listened to us. We are just church girls. We didn’t believe they actually knew our music. It wasn’t until we won the Grammy award for our album One Last Time that it started to sink in. We didn’t even realize Missy Elliot was a real Clark Sisters fan. She showed us all our records and started singing all of our songs! It was an honor for us to work with her. She told us she would cherish that moment for the rest of her life. That’s why we’re always mindful how we represent ourselves because we know there are so many artists who look up to us. And we know fans have been asking will there be another Clark Sisters album and the answer is yes. Within the next two years, we will make it happen.

How do you stay looking so young and in shape with such a crazy schedule?
I try to go walking every morning. If I can’t do it every morning, I try and make it three times a week. I use it as my prayer time where I can reflect and think without any interruptions. I go to the gym as well and try not to splurge too much.

What made you want to join the cast of the Preachers of Detroit?
Preachers of Detroit is another outlet for me to minister to people that will probably never come into the four walls of the church. I was elated to actually shine a light on the city of Detroit and really try to bring about a positive change. Our goal with the show is to spiritually revive the city. This city was desolated. People were leaving in droves. I almost lost my house due to the state Detroit was in. So now we want to build the moral of the people. People need to see that once we leave the pulpit, we have real lives too. We have to balance ministry, family and the industry. 

So many singers have been influenced by your voice, but who do you enjoy listening to?
I love JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise. Brian Courtney Wilson is also a favorite of mine. And of course Ricky Dillard, Kim Burrell and Le’Andria Johnson. She reminds me of myself when I was younger. I listen to a lot of different artists though.