The New Face Of Gospel: Deitrick Haddon Finds His Place Among R&B Artists, Promises To Be Their Competition
He’s very much an alien, but not like “Phone Home” lyricist Lil Wayne. Deitrick Haddon hails from planet Detroit with a strict mission: To change the world’s perspective of what Gospel music should sound and look like. Decked out in colorful bowties, edgy jackets and fitted menswear, this Gospel singer plans to take his audience to church… on the moon, that is. And did we mention that he was recently nominated for the BET Award for Best Gospel Album? VIBE Vixen exchanged more than a few words with the chip off the old block about the ill mindsets of the world, why he’s a fan of “secular” music heavyweights and, of course, his taste of style. -Niki McGloster
Tell me who Deitrick Haddon is.
The core of who I am has to stem from where I come from. I’m from Detroit, and I’ve really been in church all of my life. My dad was a bishop, so I would be on considered a PK, a preacher’s kid. The foundation of who I am came from a religious background. However, I use those religious principles to lay a foundation for my life. I use that to stand on, and I’ve grown into a solid man that’s very bold about the choices that I make, very bold in how I approach things. I believe that I have purpose to change people’s perception of what people have called gospel music.
Take me back. What was your start in gospel music?
In Detroit, we had a lot of successful gospel artists who had crossover success, like The Clark Sisters. They had a big hit back in the day called “You Brought The Sunshine.” Of course, The Winans had many hits that crossed over, so I grew up around that, and I started out by just saying [that] I want to rep Detroit city also. I felt Detroit was known for music, not just in Gospel, but Motown. I was like, hey, I can sing too, I can dance too and I’m going to do it. I made up my mind a long time ago that I would be successful in music. I looked my dad square in the eye at 15, 16 years old and told him, ‘I’m going to be successful in music.’
What made you take the “out of this world” approach on Church On The Moon?
I’m a very creative guy, and it just dropped in my heart. The idea popped in my mind and I said why not. When I start getting these powerful lyrics, you just roll with it. I love gospel music; I been in it all my life. I’m an advocate of it, but I refuse to fall in sync with what everybody is doing. I think that’s how that idea really came. The record company was calling me to get into the studio to do another record, but I said to myself that I’m not going to do the same old stuff. I’m not going to recycle lyrics, the same old sound; I’m ready to take it somewhere else. It’s church on the moon! It’s gospel, but it’s out of this world. It’s church, but it’s in another place. It’s from a whole ‘nother perspective. I set out to articulate the sound and the music differently than anybody else right now in the game.
How do you think you compare to Chris Brown, Trey Songz and other “secular” artists that millions of people are listening to?
In the future, I’m going to be their competition. I mean, in my own way, but I believe God-inspired music belongs out there on the radio right next to a Drake record, a Lil Wayne record. The only difference with my music is I’m going to say something positive. It’s not going to be about the sex and perversion and all this other stuff like we’re not intelligent. It’s going to be real music. One thing about back in the day, like soul music, they said something. When they talked about love, they talked about it for real. They weren’t just talking about they want every girl in the world and I want her to do this and that and I want to do this to you. All this foolishness! I think people are ready for something that will empower them, something that will edify them. They want the beat; they want the feeling.
What are the biggest issues that you want people of this world to escape from or be saved from?