By Karu F. Daniels, AOL Black Voices
Donald Lawrence has a lot to smile about.
The gospel music maestro, one of gospel music's most beloved artists, claims four of the top five singles on this week's 'Billboard's Hot Gospel Songs chart, They are: (No. 4) 'Let Go' by DeWayne Woods; (No. 3) 'Blessed and Highly Favored' by The Clark Sisters; (No. 2) 'Faithful is our God' by Hezekiah Walker and Love Fellowship Crusade; and the No. 1 track 'Encourage Yourself' by his own group, Tri City Singers.
This major feat marks a new precedence in the gospel music business and for Lawrence -- a bona fide hit-maker who once served as vocal coach of 1990s super-group EnVogue, and the musical director for R&B veteran Stephanie Mills.
"It has always been my dream to create music that speaks to the hearts of people," the 15-time Stellar Award winner told The BV Newswire. "I've been so blessed to be able to work with some of greatest singers in the world, which has helped fulfill this dream. To know that right now radio/industry has embraced my work as an artist, a producer, a songwriter and an executive-through these songs - is an incredibly awesome feeling."
There's plenty more from where that comes.
He's reportedly in talks to score the film adaptation of 'Mama I Want to Sing,' and has also been tapped for Stevie Wonder's upcoming inspirational project.
Jazzy Jordan, the Senior Vice President/General Manager of Zomba Gospel, which boasts three of the top four singles called Lawrence's artistry "masterful" and "unmatched."
"Because of Donald's gifted ear, DeWayne Woods has one of the top songs in the country and it is only his first album. Donald Lawrence is definitely a talent to celebrate."
Lawrence, who has recorded for gospel imprints GospoCentric, EMI Gospel and major labels Island and Reprise over the past 15 years, is one of the most esteemed producers in the business. He has collaborated with an array of powerhouse vocalists in the field, namely Karen Clark Sheard, Kim Burrell, Ann Nesby and Vanessa Bell Armstrong.
Even the men in the gospel game have been blessed by his craftsmanship.
Gospel pioneer Walter Hawkins and platinum-selling sensation Donnie McClurkin recorded with Lawrence for their respective projects.
Walker, an internationally renowned Grammy Award winning musical wunderkind himself, claims him as one of his "favorites."
"His ear is fresh for gospel music today. I consider him a genius in his own right not only because of his productions but because of his education in the music industry."
Lawrence is a National Trustee of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and is also a national spokesperson for WorldVision. He founded Quiet Water Entertainment, home to Woods and The Murrills in 2001. Quiet Water is distributed through Zomba Gospel, a division of Zomba Label Group.