Deborah Denise: A miraculous healing leads to the singer's "Too Long" radio hit

Sunday 11th December 2016

Tony Cummings spoke to Indiana's singer, songwriter, producer, keyboard player and vocal arranger DEBORAH DENISE

Deborah Denise
Deborah Denise

Any listener who's heard the powerful Cross Rhythms radio hit "Too Long" will have noted that Deborah Denise is a singer every bit as good as the mainstream major label divas. In fact, Deborah was once pursued by the majors keen to sign a potential R&B star like the Indiana-based singer, particularly one who wrote songs, played keys and produced. But Deborah's life was to take a very different direction to that offered her by the music industry movers and shakers. Deborah succumbed to some life threatening illnesses and it was there, at the point of despair, that she made a deal with God. If he would heal her she would give up her dreams of showbiz glittering prizes and sing solely for the Lord. The miracle happened and today this most gifted of artists has delivered two exceptional independent albums. I asked Deborah to recount her extraordinary story of childhood trauma, church disillusionment, R&B activity, life-threatening illness, miraculous healing and spirit-breathed music making.

Deborah was born in Jackson, Mississippi and raised in Indiana. At the tender age of three she would come home from church and copy some of the notes on the piano and sing songs that she heard in church that day. By her sixth birthday she was playing childhood tunes by ear. Said Deborah, "I was in church in my mother's womb. My mother is Native American; a lot of their culture was lost here, so I grew up on traditional black gospel. She preaches. . . don't give her a mic because she'll preach in a grocery store. She was an old healer in the area, she would pray for people and they would be healed. I was definitely raised in Christ." Despite that, Deborah's childhood was far from happy. She said, "There's a song on my 'Psalms Of Denise' album, 'Care For Me', that I wrote about myself as a child. It's a true story - how rejected I felt growing up. My father and mother were married but I was the last child, and they divorced after me. I would go to my bed and cry. No one should feel that sad at six! I ended up writing, because I'm not in that place anymore, how God talked to me, cared for me, loved me even when nobody else seemed like they did. He said he'd be a father to the fatherless, and that's what he was to me, because I didn't have one in my home."

Deborah's unhappiness increased when she reached her teenage years and she realised that there were many things going on in her church which shouldn't have been happening. Explained Deborah, "I looked up to the preacher back then - I was so young - and I started seeing these lies he told, he was living a reckless life. I was like, 'This is God? This is how God's people are?' It made me leave the church: 'I don't want to be a member.' I would try to go to different churches to join, and all of them were like that. So I learned to have church at home, seven days a week. I still do that to this day, and it's been years. All my life I've been having full-service church at home. Whoever wanted to come could come. But that's what made me leave the church; that was my bad experience back then."

Away from local church influence Deborah's music making continued but now there are changes. She explained, "At first I was doing Christian music but then it turned from that to clean, secular music. A few major record deals from major labels - Universal, Jive Records, major companies, wanted to sign me. But I wasn't willing to sell out like that. I turned them down. At that point, I stopped doing music all together. I was like, 'I don't want to do music that bad. Forget it.' I was living a regular life, and that's when I started getting really sick. I went to the doctor and they started diagnosing me with this disease, that disease; every year I was getting diagnosed with a different disease. I had Ulcerative Colitis, when your intestines have been ate up by ulcers; Graves' Disease, which destroys your tissue cells and organs in your body, and 40% of people die from it; I had Mitral Valve Regurgitation, my heart was leaking - something 80 year olds get. Life-threatening, incurable diseases. I got so broken; the doctors couldn't help me. My hair was falling out in the shower; I could barely walk, barely lift a soda pop to drink, because the Graves' Disease ate all my muscles up. I was lifeless. Two times I almost died and my spirit was leaving my body. I was like, 'God, I no longer want to do anything for myself; I don't want to do anything outside of your will for my life. Here I am, I'll do whatever you say.' That's when I completely surrendered. I said, 'Lord, I will do everything you tell me to do. I would rather die trying to live for you than to try to live without you.' I gave it up. At that point, God started revealing things in my heart that he wanted me to get rid of, or things in my life he wanted me to do. I started doing everything he instructed me to do, and I started getting better and better. My doctors kept saying, 'This is gone! This is gone!' One doctor changed my medical record right in front of me. He said, 'Do you understand? This is a miracle: you don't [normally] get cured of this.'"

Deborah Denise: A miraculous healing leads to the singer's "Too Long" radio hit

When Deborah's healing was completed she began music making like never before. In 2015 the singer/songwriter released her debut album 'Prodigal She'. Said Deborah, "I wrote all the songs, I produced all the vocals, but only one of the music tracks. I wrote that album after I got healed, and that's where that album came from. I came back to the Lord and surrendered - a prodigal she. I still love 'Glory Light' - 'Lord, put your glory light on me/Let me shine and be all that I was created to be.' And I still love 'Goodbye Satan' on there."

For her second album 'Psalms Of Deborah' the singer produced the entire album herself. She spoke about her "Too Long" radio hit. "The song is God talking to us. You know how sometimes we get too far from him? Sometimes we don't backslide, we just don't spend enough time in the Lord; and he's always knocking on our door, he always calls, 'Come, spend time with me.' I've experienced that in my Christian walk - mainly when I was a younger Christian, but it still happens. Sometimes you may forget to spend that quality time in the Lord, but he's always there for you, he's never going to leave, he's always waiting. The Lord told the Laodicean church in Revelation, 'You're not in love with me no more; you've lost your first love.' That's where the verse came from: he was speaking about, 'You don't love me the way you used do.' People don't see that side, that it hurts God when we don't want to spend time with him or we leave him or we find something that's more important than him. It was to show a side of God, that he hurts too; he even cried over Jerusalem when he looked down and said, 'I wish I could take you under my wings, but you won't come to me.' He longs for us; he longs for that time. People need to hear that in song." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


Reader Comments

Posted by Big H in United Kingdom @ 15:49 on Jul 5 2018

Deborah Denise is a encouraging gospel Artis who loves God very much . Her music is very inspiring to me and the words anointed , I hope one day she we visit the UK so her gift will not just remain in the US but go around the world globally may God continue to bless and use her immensely bless you D ... Howard UK :)

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