I like to call you the "Jay-Z of gospel"—you announced you'd retire from music, yet you have kept as busy as ever. What's the deal?

Donnie McClurkin: Well, I had planned to leave all of this music behind in 2008. Thework of pastoring our ministry in Perfecting Faith Church in New York is a full-time responsibility with over 2,800 members in our brief eight years. I tried my best to retire from the music, but I had a contract that I had to fulfill with Verity Records and I couldn't just walk away. So God gave me songs for this last CD, We All Are One (Live in Detroit). But it's still in my plans (laughs).

You've always kept your music varied, yet We All Are One is one of your most eclectic discs yet. Why do you keep diversifying?

McClurkin: With this last CD, God had to minister to me and reveal many things to me that would affect my songwriting. The title We All Are One is really the theme of my ministry. It's just stating that we've been too divided in Christianity. Christ prayed that we would be one as he and the Father are one. God began to give me so many songs that were not exactly the norm for me, yet they minister to me more than any of my prior recordings. It wasn't my contrived plan of action to be diverse—it's just the way the Holy Spirit wrote the songs and gave them.

Your sister Olivia lost her battle to cancer while you were doing prep work for the new album. How did her passing affect the creative process?

McClurkin: Thank you so much for asking about her. The first thing that I want to clarify is that Olivia didn't lose her battle with cancer; shewent to heaven victoriously—touchingdoctors, nurses, and others with (her struggle) and showing us how to live by faith and trust God.She taught us ...

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