Listeners who’ve tuned-in to their favorite gospel station lately, have likely heard the Billboard Gospel Top Ten smash single, ‘Keep Me’. But what they may not have known is that Patrick Dopson is the gifted singer/songwriter behind the mega hit.
While new to the scene as a solo artist, Dopson is no stranger to the industry or spreading God’s word through music. Growing up in Selma, Alabama – often known as the birthplace of the civil-rights movement – he began singing in the church his father pastored, which was one of the only integrated churches in the city in the 80’s. His mother served as the minister of music and introduced him to a wide variety of music which spurred his admiration for black Gospel. Throughout the course of his career, he has served as worship leader for some of the most progressive, multi-cultural ministries in the country including Bishop Gary Oliver’s Tabernacle of Praise. His ministry is now based out of Christian Life Church, Montgomery, Alabama, where his father is Pastor.
Dopson’s urban-contemporary sound has opened the doors of opportunity, leading him to work alongside many of the industry’s greatest and most decorated artists like Fred Hammond, Pastor John P. Kee, Martha Munizzi, Tamela Mann, Marvin Sapp and a host of others.
“Early in my career, I was blessed to write and provide background vocals on Fred Hammond’s Grammy Award-wining project, ‘Free To Worship’. I learned a great deal from him and will always treasure that experience,” says Dopson. “In fact when people search for the album, my songs are frequently mistaken with his, but honestly I find that to be quite the compliment. Although we may share similarities, there is one difference that often catches listeners by surprise–I’m a white brother.”
For Dopson, what’s more important than skin color or fitting the mold of a particular genre, is making sure the music continues to reach the ears and ultimately the hearts of all people. “I know my call inside the lining of the music. It’s not to perform vocal calisthenics, but to tear down stereotypes, racial barriers and the spirit that chooses to divide,” states Dopson. And during the first half of 2012, he’s been doing just that. Since hitting the radio airwaves, ‘Keep Me’ has been blessing the lives of many and recently soared to the number seven spot on Billboard’s Gospel chart. Plans are currently underway to release the official music video for the song within the coming weeks.
Following the success of his lead single, Dopson just dropped his first full-length album, ‘Open The Heavens,’ on his independent label, Oilonit Music. “The compilation of songs on the album represents my heart’s expression to God. Each was birthed through prayer, a message or an experience along the way,” says Dopson. “The project is really a praise and worship experience. We’ve discovered the songs are being utilized by praise teams across the country and individuals are using it in their personal prayer time with God.” Thanks to an exclusive deal with Central South Distribution, ‘Open The Heavens’ can be found on iTunes, as well as in national retail stores like Walmart and Best Buy.
These days, Dopson’s schedule is filled with tour dates, guest appearances and promotional events in support of his album. However, the husband and new father is determined to strike a balance between his ministry and his family life. “My family is the nucleus of anything good that comes from me,” says Dopson. “Although it isn’t typical within the industry, I make every possible effort to have my wife Christina and son Garion travel with me from city to city. And if that means an extra flight here or there or frequent stops along the way, then that’s what we do.”
As Dopson continues to reap the rewards of his hard work and diligence, his debut efforts have garnered four 2012 Stellar Award first round nominations in the categories of Song of the Year; New Artist of the Year; Contemporary Male Vocal of the Year; and Praise and Worship CD of the Year. “After the release of an album that was eight years in the making, it is rewarding to see the fruits of our labor and experience the benefits that come with completely trusting in God,” says Dopson. “I believe that the time it takes while pressing through the process helps us to remember that it is only by His grace and favor that we can enjoy anything that others may deem as success.”