If the phrase stands true and the world’s a stage, Deitrick Haddon is front and center in his role as a spiritual leader – as Pastor of the growing Hill City Church L.A., and as a singer, songwriter and producer.
“I love doing what God called me to do and that’s leading people or inspiring people,” he says. “That’s why I chose to sing gospel music because it uplifts people, it encourages people and pushes them forward when they go through dark seasons.”
Haddon, a child of nine, and the son of Bishop Clarence Haddon and Prophetess Joyce Haddon, preached his first sermon at age 11. The Detroit-bred and current Los Angeles -native’s mission to serve the Higher Power and guide others to building a relationship with the Lord eventually led him to becoming Pastor and music director at the Motor City’s Unity Cathedral of Faith. It was the healing factor that captured his heart and witnessing the change a prayer can make.
“I’ll never forget, we used to always do these street meetings…tent revivals. I would see people that were addicted to crack cocaine come and put down the cocaine, and see people that were alcoholics, I mean, they came in drunk but they went out sober. I [saw] the effect that Jesus had on people,” Haddon reflects. “I’ve seen the effect that gospel had on people just walking straight off the street. They got saved from those street meetings.”
When putting pen to paper to broadly spread the everlasting power of God’s teachings, seeing his father’s ability to break away and jot down song lyrics, no matter what was taking place in the current moment, inspired Deitrick to reach people where they are, but on a different level.
“My dad used to write songs on the spot at church. He was really prolific. When he got done preaching, he would have a song that he just sang off the top of his head. I would see people just come to the altar crying and giving their lives to Christ.”
An admirer of his father’s gifts, Deitrick’s musical sensibilities and deep spirituality come with a twist.
Enthralled by the electric force of art and entertainment, Haddon’s approach to music is rooted in his church house upbringing and the sounds of gospel greats such as the late Andrae Crouch, The Winans, Clark Sisters and Fred Hammond, to name a few, respectively, but taps into secular sounds ranging from Stevie Wonder to Prince and even the late
Notorious B.I.G., to match his efforts of capturing souls and introducing them to life of the anointed. To the husband and father of three, who moonlights as an actor, it’s something that is missing in gospel music.
“We’ve been taught that it’s not about entertainment. It’s about the anointing, the glory and presence of God, but we don’t want to be entertained. To entertain is a gift from God,” Haddon states. “[To] hold somebody’s attention for a specific amount of time is an art within itself. And then when you come away, you say, ‘I was also encouraged. I was inspired. I was Blessed, and also got a word from God.’ That’s amazing!”
Since Come Into This House (Tyscot label), his 1995 artist debut as the frontman of Voices of Unity, Haddon’s music ministry has been dubbed “gospel soul.” Following its release, in 1997, the vocal warrior and his harmonious squad, delivered Live the Life, which marked a career highlight as it won Gospel Music Workshop of America Excellence Awards in the categories of New Artist of The Year: Urban Contemporary and Album of the Year: Urban Contemporary. Recording success continued to follow with 1998’s After This Is My Story, Chain Breaker (1999), and Nu Hymnz: Live from the Motor City (2001).
A shift would come the following year amid the Billboard chart-topping artist’s decision to take the solo route and signed with Verity. The contract produced Lost and Found (2002), 7 Days (2006) with R&B producer team Tim & Bob, Church on the Moon (2011), A Beautiful Soul (2012), and 2013’s R.E.D. (RCA Records), a body of work that served as medicine to an ill time in his personal life with intentions of Restoring Everything Damaged.
The dark cloud was documented on-and-off screen as Haddon, a man who exudes a fireball of emotion, entered reality TV as a cast member on Oxygen’s Preachers of L.A. It was a career move that propelled a larger audience to get to know Deitrick Haddon as a flawed human and passionate representative of The Cross.
After the storm, new days arrive with a refreshing perspective and then came 2014’s Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers) and 2015’s Masterpiece. For Haddon, 2017 marks a resurgence of energy and is equipped with a new record that exalts the Kingdom of Heaven. “A Billion People,” a track following the spark flying “Fireworks” from Deitrick Haddon & Hill City Worship Camp stays the course with high-energy and a flashback to the genesis of why he chose this path.
“[My wife Dominique] actually dropped a seed in my heart again for what my purpose is for doing gospel music. It’s almost like God used her to give me the song, [ “A Billion People”]. I just started writing, “Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that you are Lord, you are a living legend, God of earth and heaven you are Lord. It’s true you are Lord.” While I was writing that song, I had this vision of a sea of people as far as you could see just lifting their hands, and singing like a wave in the stadium saying Jesus is Lord. When I came out of that vision, the way I was able to articulate what I saw was I won’t stop until I got a billion people saying Jesus.”
The flow of Bishop Haddon’s latest studio album follows suit while continuing to push the boundaries of contemporary gospel. Captured in 17 tracks, Deitrick Haddon & Hill City Worship Camp offers an explosive worship experience that transcends cultures, races and creeds while encouraging unity among believers and non-believers.
“My heart is to introduce people to Jesus,” Haddon affirms. “ To be honest, this record was off schedule for me. This is something that’s different, it’s something that’s fresh, it’s something that’s unique. It’s authentic worship. It’s not trying to fit a format, not trying to get the number one hit worship song, not trying to fit into any sound.”
In essence, it’s a description fit for a man, father, husband and minister destined to entertain the world under the tutelage of God.
Deitrick Haddon will be at Women’s Empowerment 2018! Click Here to purchase tickets! See her throughout the years in our latest Star Transformation!