Maurette Brown-Clark, Gospel’s newly crowned “Princess of Praise & Worship” has been blessing the world with her soul stirring, heart felt alto voice since 1990. The journey that lead this thirty-something year old wife, mother of three, to her third album, The Dream, began while growing up in Long Island, New York.
One of four children (one sister and two brothers), Brown-Clark was raised by two music loving parents in a household steeped in Jesus, the church, love of family, and the power of music as a ministry.
Little did her parents know that having her sing with her siblings in the family group, and making sure Brown-Clark took piano lessons would be the foundation of a recording career and life’s ministry for this singer, songwriter, and producer.
Maurette Brown - Clark was musically influenced by her parents and some of New York’s greatest gospel artists, including one who lived just two towns over, Pastor Donnie McClurkin. Brown-Clark says, “He would come over to our church Little Zion and I would be mesmerized.... just blown away! I was a teenager back then...didn’t know it...couldn’t quite put my finger on it...but it was the anointing. And I knew that’s what I wanted. How Donnie was affecting me, that’s how I want to affect people. Although, I was later influenced by CeCe Winans and my mentor, Richard Smallwood, Donnie affected the way that I wanted to live for Jesus, through my music.”
After graduating from high school, Brown-Clark furthered her studies and graduated from the University of Maryland. At this point she began to question her life and reason for existing. She pondered, “I went to college, I did okay, I’ve got my degree in business, I’m working, got a piece of car, got a piece of an apartment…life is good! And then I thought, ‘This can’t be everything.’ I just started looking at my mortality. I asked myself, ‘What do I want to leave behind? Why am I here now?’ Now, sixteen years later, I truly believe that it is for His glory. I’ve realized that I have one life to live and I’m here to try to win souls for Christ. And the best way that I know how to do that is through my music. Before it was just something to do...now it is a calling and a passion.”
Recognizing the calling God had placed on her life, she remained in the Baltimore area after college singing as a solo artist. Word quickly spread about this petite gifted singer with a unique, strong alto voice, armed with a powerful conviction for Christ. During this time she didn’t have a recording contract, but held that desire in her heart and began honing her craft, singing wherever she could minister, networking and producing a demo tape. She knew that all things happen in God’s own time, not hers.
While singing in the Baltimore and Washington, DC area, she would see international gospel recording artist Richard Smallwood at events. There was talk in gospel circles that Smallwood had a dream about a choir he was inspired by God to put together and they would record with him. Also that he dreamed every individual member of it. A friend told
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Brown-Clark that she was one of the choir members that appeared in Smallwood’s dream and that he was looking for her. She says, “My friend told me, ‘Richard Smallwood is looking for you....here’s his number, call him.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, right...do I owe him money?’ But I nervously dialed the number...And I went to that first rehearsal. He’s been stuck with me ever since!”
After she recorded with Vision (Smallwood’s group) and gained notoriety for her anointed performance as co-lead on their classic song, “Angels,” labels took notice. She soon signed her first major deal with Verity Records and released her debut solo project, How I Feel in 1998. It spawned the hit, “Breaking of Day.” Shortly after, Verity Records released her from its roster; Ironically, She received a Stellar Award for that project. It would be a few years before she signed with Atlanta International Records (AIR Gospel) and recorded another studio album, By His Grace, which was released in 2002. Disappointment loomed again. By His Grace met with critical acclaim, but didn’t reach the heights the label had expected. In her heart she knew it didn’t capture all of her. And for the second time, she was facing the possibility of being released. An executive at AIR Gospel believed so much in her that he went to bat for her with the owner and convinced him to give her another chance to record a CD her way, live, and with some of the best writers and a top producer.
It all came to fruition on September 17, 2004 when she recorded the highly anticipated, The Dream, her third album, at the Empowerment Church, in Baltimore, Maryland. There were technical problems at the live recording which resulted in the air conditioning being turned off in a packed house with over 2,000 people sitting there, sweating and fanning, yet staying glued to the edge of their seats as Brown-Clark fought through the adversities and blessed the crowd with the fire in her soul on anointed song after song. Brown-Clark says, “I just feel like the enemy was allowed to take his best shot the night of the recording...the power went out...and he’s been taking his best shot the entire few years since the recording and I just hope that I’ve been found waiting right.”
Brown-Clark was eagerly anticipating The Dream’s release in 2005 when another major career twist hit her. Atlanta International Records (AIR Gospel) was acquired by the Malaco Music Group & Select-O-Hits. She found herself with yet another label, this time with her most personal and prized project to date in the palms of another set of hands. Brown-Clark says, “I’ve had health challenges, label challenges, my third record with a third record label. So I’ve had to explain to three sets of people who Maurette is, what my vision is...and hoping that they catch my vision.”
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God’s favor is still shining on Brown-Clark and her hopes are high being at her new label home, Malaco. A label that gets her and the vision she has for The Dream.
The Dream is a 13 song powerful CD that was produced by top gospel producer Asaph Ward (Kim Burrell, Men of Standard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Evelyn Turrentine Agee, The Tommies). It features four songs written by Brown-Clark, the Richard Smallwood penned Praise and Worship song, “Lord We Praise Your Name” and a re-make of the Donnie McClurkin & New York Restoration Choir classic, “We Worship You.” Other writers on the project include hit making Stellar Award winning writer Jonathan Nelson (“Healed” by Donald Lawrence), Anthony and Eddie Brown. Brown-Clark says, “I wrote some of the songs and then I went out to other artists and songwriters that I knew, loved, and that wrote my heart. They wrote as if they were up in my house living with me...hanging out with me. And so I feel like I literally wrote all of the songs.”
The Dream’s title track has special meaning to Brown-Clark because it embodies God’s calling, the purpose of her life, and a dream she had in the 1990s that showed her leading others to Christ through her music ministry.
The Dream is myriad of Gospel music styles, crossing denominational lines and is poised to cross the lines of Gospel and Christian radio formats. Its inspiring music ranges from Praise and Worship, Contemporary Gospel, Contemporary Christian , to Jazz infused songs, and of course Traditional Gospel, all purposely recorded to touch a heart, inspire a life and lead a soul to Christ.
Brown-Clark says, “This CD is user friendly, just like the Internet, for whoever listens to it. The songs on The Dream are for everybody. But they are going to hit you differently at different points in your life depending on what you’re going through.”
Whether its, the upbeat first single and anthem of praise, “One God,” the moving title track “The Dream”, or the soul stirring song that encourages anyone who ever felt like giving up, “It Ain’t Over,” the rock tinged “Has God Done Anything For You?” the down home church tune, “Sovereign God,” and soon to be Sunday School and Children’s choir favorite, “I Am What God Says I Am” featuring Brown-Clark’s six year old daughter Jada, or her jazzy version of the church classic, “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus.” The Dream will uplift you wherever you are.
Written by Lin. Woods
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