Deitrick Haddon

Deitrick Haddon


DEITRICK HADDON REVEALED "I'm sitting here thinking to myself / People all over the world are in need of help / From the shores of India back to the hood / People everywhere are misunderstood / But I believe love is the answer / I believe that we still can come together / Holding on to what I know is true / I’m pouring my heart out to you / You and I are one the same / Red blood flowing through one vein / I hear your crying for a change / I feel your pain…” - from “One Blood”

Things can never be too big when it comes to the dreams of contemporary gospel visionary Deitrick Haddon. You can feel it in the epic reach of his dizzyingly diverse and masterful music tracks. You can hear it in the ache and urgency of his amazing lyrics. And you can see it in the photo on his album cover – one man, one microphone addressing one world with the dawn of a new day at his back. On his 10th album, REVEALED, Deitrick Haddon summons the totality of his artistic vision and gifts to take statements of spirituality beyond church walls in hopes of impacting the universe on a major level. The essential message: we are one “I have this vision of everybody with their lighters in their hands singing that chorus,” he says of the powerful album highlight “One Blood” - all races, everybody. I believe that gospel music can be just as big as rock - filling stadiums. But our music has to reach beyond our religious beliefs to connect on a greater level. I wanted to speak to everybody about how we all need each other. We're all one big family. If Adam and Eve are the mother and father of humanity, then we are all family - ‘red blood flowing through one vein.’ It's funny how when tragedy happens, everybody is able to come together. From the rise of a tsunami to the fall of the Twin Towers, everybody prides themselves on helping each other. That influenced my approach to the songs of REVEALED. They are not ‘religious’ songs so much as spiritual songs that can appeal to everybody.”

Connecting to hearts, minds and spirits is nothing new to Haddon - a Grammy nominee, a 2008 BET Best Gospel Artist nominee and 2 time Stellar and Gospel Music Workshop of America Excellence Award winner. Starting in 1997 from his first four albums leading the group Voices of Unity, to his 2002 solo debut Lost & Found that featured his crossover breakthrough single “Sinner’s Prayer”, to his Crossroads album (for which he performed the single “God is Good” on the iconic black music TV show “Soul Train”) all the way to his 2006 concept album, 7 Days (primarily produced by his old friends from his hometown of Detroit - R&B hit-makers Tim & Bob) and the single “Don’t Go Changin’” from the soundtrack to the movie “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” Haddon has a talent for marrying the immediate power of pop music with the infinite majesty of God’s ability to save your soul. Deitrick Haddon/REVEALED/2 Haddon took that to another level with the funk of his most recent single "Love Him Like I Do," a Warryn “Baby Dubb” Campbell production featuring special guests Ruben Studdard and gospel duo Mary Mary.

In the lyrics he witnesses, “If you wanna know why I love Him like I do / `Cuz when my enemy said I was through / He took me from the bottom and put me on the top / He laid His hands on me and now I can’t be stopped!” The song has been a radio, video and YouTube sensation (with over 1 million views). “It’s just what our generation has been looking for,” says Haddon. “something hot and fly that doesn't compromise the message.” Also slammin’ with similar R&B fervor is “Go With Me.” “I did that one with Warryn and Eric Dawkins (another major hit maker who’s worked with artists like Christina Aguilera and Chris Brown). We’ve wanted to work together for a while. I was watching James Brown on TV and realized that this generation doesn’t groove hard enough. I want to be a pied piper leading the people to a new era of gospel possibilities.”

Of course, with Deitrick and his co-producer brother Gerald Haddon, those possibilities encompass a cornucopia of musical sounds and styles. On REVEALED, those moods move from the beautiful strings-kissed meditation “The Word” (produced by the incomparable Percy Bady with a lovely arrangement by Lloyd Barry); to the bouncy pop of “Don’t Take Your Spirit” and the hand-clappin’ “Where U Are” (one of four produced by Andre Harris and Vidal Davis; to the spacey and atmospheric environs of “Running to You” and “It’s Raining” (both produced by up-and-comer Blaze) and the techno pop pulse of “Let Me Go” (another reunion with Tim Kelley and Bob Robinson). “All of my collaborators are super talented people,” Deitrick acknowledges – “pop music producers who are also clearly in touch with their spirituality.” These songs and more on the 16 tracks of Deitrick Haddon’s REVEALED are purposed with the intent of showing a more honest and vulnerable perspective - what it really means to be a musical messenger for others while dealing with your own spiritual challenges. “We in gospel music don't always have the opportunity to share our hearts and be real people, flaws and all,” Deitrick states. “It's felt that if we share what's really on our hearts, it would diminish us as believers. I want to be real and open my heart and bottle up these moments in four minutes of a song. In an hour I wanted to capture the essence of who I am as far as my spiritual side and my natural side. I want people to hear songs that I would sing, the way I hear it; messages I can share.” On the song that could be considered the title track, “Reveal My Heart,” Haddon bares his all over an enigmatic bed of raindrop beats and acoustic guitar.

“I wanted to do away with all the religious terminology - remove all the walls that we have set up as Christians. Often times, we put up a facade that everything is wonderful - everyone else is messed up and we're the ones that have it all together. I wanted to break up all that!” Among the most vulnerable and personal messages on REVEALED is “Ungrateful,” a dynamically moody soul-rock tempest where violins clash with crunching electric guitars that marks the first production of Deitrick’s younger brother David Haddon (a busy drummer on the road for several artists including Rihanna). On it, Deitrick deals with the flipside of his ambitions and how they sometimes blind him from acknowledging all the blessings he already has. “Being fully transparent, the truth is I have been very ungrateful,” he boldly states. “After all God has done for me, I'm always reaching for something else. In the process of reaching our goals, we can forget about what God has already done, which should always be celebrated. Deitrick Haddon/REVEALED/3 So I just called myself out. In the song I sing, ‘I feel so ashamed to be asking you again / When you have proven yourself to be more than a friend / You've already made the perfect sacrifice / And you did it all when you hung, bled and died / And after all that you did how could I not be satisfied? ’ When you think of what children are going through in other countries, we are blessed beyond measure. We are blessed to be free. I just wanted to go straight for the jugular with this one.”

Also powerful is "I Need Your Help," a song that rings with the sweep of a Lenny Kravitz anthem. On it, Deitrick speaks about the greater difficulties and challenges he had making this album ever since his star has been steady on the rise. “In religious terms,” Deitrick states, “they say ‘on every level there's another devil.’ When you go to greater territory there's a greater giant you will have to face. I feel like I've shifted to another level, that's why I'm dealing with a deeper level of adversity. I have something really special to present to the world in this record, so the enemy has given me the worst time while I was recording it.” Deitrick alludes to some of those challenges on the autobiographical “Soul Survivor,” where - over a track worthy of his Detroit soul forefathers The Dramatics - he talks about people that should be close to him taking stabs at him, singing ‘I came in this game with a new sound / They said give him a few years he won't be around / It's been more than a few years and I'm still down / To all my haters what you thinking now?’ Ultimately, Deitrick Haddon’s vision is a bold and bright one. And nowhere is this more evident than on the roots R&B standout “Jesus for President,” a jazzy blues declaration to give Jesus the nomination! Thanks to a mighty-mighty horn arrangement by Randy Ellis – the track sounds as if Deitrick got the golden opportunity to sit in as the lead singer of Tower of Power.

“People tell me I have an old soul,” Deitrick says with a chuckle. “I feel I have an obligation to make music that matters because people are listening. We are on the verge of history with the very real possibility of voting in a Black man for President of the United States. But at same time, my grandmother Jimmie Lee (Laster) – another old soul - used to always say, ‘Make Jesus lord over your life.’ I reflected back on that statement when I wrote this song. No matter who gets in office, we still need to look to Jesus. He will make a way!” Stressing one more pressing point, Deitrick adds, “I don’t like to say Jesus’ name in a song just for the sake of it. Great statements can be made without forcing His name into every song. When you do say his name, it should be powerful. ‘Jesus for President’ is a powerful statement.”

Besides his musical recorded statements, Deitrick is making an autobiographical film detailing his struggles as an edgy artist in a traditional market that will be called “Alive,” a title lifted from another song on REVEALED, “I’m Alive.” Clearly, Deitrick’s dreams only get bigger with each passing year. “My purpose is to lead gospel and present it to the world as touchable and reachable,” Deitrick concludes. “Through my music, I'm not really trying to influence people to my religious beliefs at all. If you give me an opportunity to share my story - my beliefs and my faith – I will gladly share them. But my initial approach is to make good music that connects with the world beyond my saved peeps in the church. When people understand that, then they'll understand me.”

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