Linden, NJ: Traditional gospel star, Alvin Darling and his group Celebration, are making room for themselves at the table of contemporary gospel music. Amid playlists filled with modern-styled tracks by J Moss and BeBe & CeCe, Darling’s latest hit “Do it for Me, Lord” is making the case that down home gospel is still in demand. The mid-tempo, hand-clapper has climbed to #15 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Gospel Songs chart.
It’s the first single from Darling’s new CD “You Can Make It” that debuted at #11 on Billboard magazine’s gospel album sales chart. The twelve-song CD was recorded live at Jehovah-Jireh Praise and Worship Ministries in Newark, NJ this past spring. Darling wrote or co-wrote nine of the dozen songs that range from praise and worship tunes such as “O Lord We Worship You” and ballads like “I Thank God for Knowing You” to traditional church fare such as “One More Day.”
Before his signature song “All Night” took off and became a Top 10 smash in 2005, Darling had considered quitting music. “I was retiring after `All Night’ but Troy Sneed [Emtro’s President] wanted me to do another album,” Darling says. “Alvin had been burned a lot,” Sneed says. “I think this was the last straw for Alvin. People had said that he couldn’t sing. He had written all of these hits for other artists but didn’t have a hit himself. He was about ready to throw in the towel and call it quits.”
In the past, Darling’s written gospel smashes such as Dorothy Norwood’s “Somebody Prayed for Me” and “A Praise in the Temple.” Aside from keeping Norwood bathed in hits, Darling has also written Albertina Walker’s “He Keeps On Blessing Me” and “He’s All Over Me” that Whitney Houston, Shirley Caesar and the Georgia Mass Choir performed on “The Preacher’s Wife” soundtrack. Emtro Gospel is one of the most aggressive independent gospel labels in the USA. Since 2003, the label has successfully competed with the major labels by placing chart hits by the legendary Candi Staton, Troy Sneed’s “Work it Out” and Youth for Christ’s “The Struggle is Over” among others.