dr. david l. hollister
As one of the most powerful and persuasive of this generation’s soul singers, Dave made his mark in the mainstream music world – first singing background for folks across the spectrum of pop music from Yolanda Adams to Patti LaBelle; as a coveted session singer for motion pictures such as The Prince of Egypt and The Brothers; as a member of multi-platinum-selling group BLACKstreet, and then as an R&B solo artist with four albums featuring radio hits such as “One Woman Man” and “Take Care of Home.”
Around 2004 Dave made a profound life-altering decision to answer the call to ministry that was first put on his life when he was only 17. “I ran from it for a long time,” Hollister says. “I finally decided to accept it once I came into the full knowledge of my relationship with God.” This decision transcended to his musical career and Dave Hollister the R&B artist became Dave Hollister the gospel recording artist. The result of this transformation was his forthrightly titled Gospocentric/Zomba Gospel debut The Book of David: Transition (2006), an honest and real series of mostly self-penned songs about struggles along life’s path that eventually brought him closer to Jesus Christ.
Two years later, Dave Hollister returns with the continuation of that journey on Witness Protection (2008), a CD that still reflects the catharsis of autobiography but more fervently reaches out to others with messages of light and hope – songs that are desperately needed not only among believers but Americans and citizens of the world.
Those dual missions are clearly delineated in the album’s humbling opening number “I’m Here” and the sonically thrilling “Glow.” “I had several different concepts going through my mind when I started preparing this second album,” Hollister shares, “but as I got closer to the actual recording, this big recession fell on America.
People are hurting and need messages of striving. I began to understand that God wanted to use me to speak hope and faith into people. This new CD is still me...but it’s a lighter me.” Longtime fans will note the absence of skits and interludes that Hollister typically uses to bring his concepts to vivid life. “(chuckling) I just ran out of time this time,” he confesses! “But in the absence of interludes and skits, I was very specific about the sequence of the songs so that they tell a story – from ‘I’m Here,’ which is my mission, to ‘Champion’ which is about everyone getting through these trying times victorious.”
The first single from Witness Protection is “Striving,” a joyous, hand-clapping declaration of faith that God has our backs in every waking day, therefore whom shall we fear? “Me and my band MVP (Most Valuable Players) have been performing that song for a year and a half now to amazing response.” Dave says. “In fact, we had been performing a lot of these songs before recording them, so the live musicianship feel you hear is exactly the way we’ve been performing them in shows.”
Among the album’s many and diversified highlights are “ Secret Place, ” which was penned and arranged by Jevon’s father James Hill, Sr. – “Uncle Jimmy” to Dave. “That one says that when I'm having problems and can't function, I need God to meet me in our secret place,” Dave explains. “It really knocked me out when we were recording it. I looked up and said, ‘God, you're gonna do me like this?!’ The song was originally just piano and guitar but the live strings (performed by The Nashville String Machine) took it to the highest of heights.” The strings also add a majestic lift to the climactic CD closer “Champion,” but are most dynamically used on “Standing,” one of three songs Dave composed for the album. This powerful piece (with strings arranged by Chris McDonald from Jevon’s original keyboard lines) sounds like a cross between the symphonic soundtrack soul of Isaac Hayes (think “Shaft”) with a rock edge to the chorus to speak to Christians standing firm in Christ and their faith.
As Dave’s ministry continues to grow, he recognizes the importance of continuing to reach people where they are, and is planning a tour that will include mainstream venues. “We all know some people don't go to church,” Dave states, “or even to the Kirk Franklin concert. Some have one foot in the street and another in church, but find it hard to respect some of the members because of things they’ve seen them do outside. But they might trust somebody whose music they’ve been listening to all along who’s found a better way. If they can see a change or a light in me, maybe I can spark them. In the Bible, it says Jesus lived among the people, but the people could tell there was a difference in him everywhere he went.”
And that is Dave's hope, that his music and messages make a positive difference to all who will listen.
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