Story serves as the debut collaboration between Rhythm & Praise 90.3 HD2 & the FWIS
Gospel singer Darius Darling’s first single, “His Words Say I Can,” took an astounding eight months to complete. “It was a love project for sure,” he said. He was finding the right singers and musicians for the track that he penned himself. “I wanted to make sure I had the right vocals, to be quite honest, for myself.” The result was a very solid single that set a foundation for “where I was looking to go as an artist.”
Released in 2017, “His Words Say I Can,” was nominated for four Rhythm of Gospel Awards, the third largest gospel awards in the country and the largest for independent gospel music. Darling won twice (Contemporary Artist of the Year and Best Performance by a Male Artist).
“It caught wildfire,” said Darling; the single’s already played in gospel radio stations nationwide. Why has it been so well-received? “It’s an upbeat song, but it does have a strong message.” The singer/songwriter was in a weird space after a recent breakup; he was in church, praying about it, when “God told me that he put it in his word that I can make it through it,” he said.
After the national exposure for the track and the subsequent great reviews, he got a call about his four nominations; a radio deejay put it up for its accolades. “The only reason you got four was because you had a single,” Darling said, about what he was told over the phone.
As for some local love…on July 23, 2019, he was interviewed by Rhythm & Praise 90.3 HD2’s Monique “Mo” Moss, the program director for Fort Wayne’s high-definition and digital gospel radio station. The interview marks the first story-sharing collaboration between Rhythm & Praise and the Fort Wayne Ink Spot Newspaper (FWIS) that will highlight primarily local gospel artists.
Moss on the partnership: “I am so excited to partner with the Fort Wayne Ink Spot, to spotlight the gospel artists in the community. We have so much talent in Fort Wayne that’s not recognized. I just spoke with a gospel artist about how we don’t get enough credit for what the city has in it. I think this [collaboration] will be really good for gospel artists, the city, Rhythm & Praise, and for the FWIS. We make each other better when we do stuff together.”
The project interviews, starting with Darling’s, can be found on the Rhythm and Praise website at FWRP.org/On-Demand.
“Gospel music industry is a lot about who you know,” Darling said, who approached national gospel stations looking, at the very least, for some feedback. But it was when his uncle Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver II, out of Detroit, Michigan, played the single on his radio show that it proliferated everywhere. According to Darling, after Detroit, the single first hit in Birmingham, Alabama with Minister Robert Barnes’ radio show. Then Darling got a call from Chicago that it was playing there. So on and so on. The single got heavier rotation when Darling reached out to Facebook groups; soon it was getting played in Connecticut and Atlanta, Georgia. So on and so on.
Darling, a lifelong church singer, is originally from Detroit; he had his first solo at the age of five with his sister and godmother. He had to wait until he graduated high school, his mother stipulated, to sing in his uncle’s nationally touring choir, Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver & The Hallelujah Singers. Darling came to Fort Wayne initially to attend Indiana Tech, where he started a gospel choir of student singers and musicians.
When it came time to produce the single, Darling wasn’t playing; it involved four separate studio runs, which meant calling backup singers back into the studio for fine tuning. Everybody who worked on the project is local. The music arrangement was done by Ken Tolbert, a Fort Wayne native who now lives in Los Angeles. Singers included Jachelle Tolbert, Eric Coated, Farah Hurt (who ministers with Darling over at New Zion Tabernacle), Brandon Moore, and Christiana Danielle, one of the first brought in. Kayla White from Detroit, who came to Fort Wayne for school and is now living in Baltimore, also performed on the track. Cliff Latham helped lay the drums and the bass, and the Clarence Smith let the group use his studio.
“I really want to do music that inspires people,” Darling said. “I want there to be a message with any song that we do…for me it’s about being the light in a dark place for a lot of people. It’s about driving people to Christ, to the cross, and away from the dark places they’re operating in.”
I run Scrambled Egg(s) Design and Productions, based out of Northeast Indiana. In addition to producing in-house company projects, I also create advertising materials for companies and organizations, with an emphasis on interactivity.