An in-demand producer, musician and collaborator, Grammy-winner Donald Lawrence’s musical influence ripples beyond his historic gospel music beginnings with the Tri-City Singers into the modern music industry-at-large. Celebrating two decades of musical charge on his latest #1-selling record, Volume 1: Best for Last (Quiet Water/eOne), Lawrence sits down with CCM to discuss his celebrated past, his present commemorative and his future goals.
CCM: At this point in your career, why did you pause and reflect with new recordings of your most popular past hits?
Donald: I was not sure I would have the same desire and energy to pull this together at twenty-five years due to my focus shifting to some other academic things. Also, having done so much music on so many different CDs with so many artists, it felt like thirty years! [laughs] I felt the twenty-year landmark was pivotal and my gut said this was the time to do it.
CCM: How did you choose the new songs, “The Gift” and “Best For Last,” to pair up with the older songs?
Donald: I always pick songs based on what they are saying and if they will resonate. It’s always all about the lyrical content. I anchored this CD around three connecting themes: the “gift of grace,” “the rest that remains” and “your latter will be greater than your past,” which stems from the belief that if living a life of grace, life will continue to get better as we age.
CCM: This collection includes guest spots by Yolanda Adams, Faith Evans and Lalah Hathaway. But the pairing with Natalie Grant was most intriguing. How did that collaboration come about?
Donald: I had worked with all of the guest artists before. Natalie and I share the same manager, Mitchell Solarek. This collaboration was his idea. I had also been the musical director for the Grammy Salute to Gospel when Natalie sang her tribute to Sandi Patty. One of my singers, Latrice Pace, is a big fan of Natalie’s and suggested she sing on my song “God” and she definitely did an amazing job with it!
CCM: After all this time, still producing, still recording, still contributing…what is the motivating factor to continuing a career in the music industry?
Donald: I enjoy motivating people, using my gift to place a demand on their potential and causing them to show up. It’s one of the reasons I have chosen to go back to school and study Spiritual Pyschotherapy/Spiritual Psychology with the goal of becoming a Music Psychotherapist to “lyrically and musically change lives one word and one note at a time.”