A friendship with a Warner Alliance executive resulted in his signing to the label for his 1996 self-titled LP. The disc, which featured the perennially popular "Stand," went gold shortly after being publicly lauded by Oprah Winfrey.
At the 48th annual Grammy Awards, he won a grammy in the category Traditional Soul Gospel Album, for "Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs" (2005).
Donnie didn't stay away long from recording profoundly uplifting music for the soul. In 2009 he released We All Are One (Live In Detriot).
The themes of the 12-song We All Are One are of unity and tolerance. Donnie explains, “Jesus said, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand,’ yet we remain disconnected: Republicans and Democrats, Blacks, Whites, Yellows and Browns, Baptists and Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians… Where is the unity? Coming from a religious background, I was taught to judge harshly, but my thinking now is, ‘Let God do the judging so that I may learn how to love and understand the ways in which we are all connected.’ I believe that lesson of compassion and fellowship will ultimately be learned by the young ones coming behind me. For my song ‘We All Are One,’ I brought in Asaph Ward – one of the greatest producers in gospel music – and we came up with a ‘World Beat’ to unite the masses. At the end of the song, adult voices fade into children’s voices singing, ‘We all are one in The Lord,’ driving home the point that you have to come to Him as a child.”
We All Are One (Live in Detroit) is a boldly eclectic collection from McClurkin, moving from the powerfully opener “Trusting in You” and the lilting call and response vibe of “You Are My God and King” (featuring a playful battle of the choir sections on the “Reprise”) to the soul-soothing “Let the River Flow” and a duet with the ever-amazing Karen Clark-Sheard for “Wait on The Lord.”
Donnie enthuses, “On ‘I Choose to Be Dancing,’ we incorporated many different feels - hard rock with the guitars and strings for the culture sound, but we kept the rhythm section urban. And on my praise and worship ‘Halleujah Song’ - which God gave me on a Sunday when we were all up in church praying - the idea of praising God in a succession of different languages just came to me at the last second! We sing in Dutch, Spanish and the African language Yoruba. Oshe ba ba means ‘Thank you, Father.’ "
Among the most profound songs on We All Are One is the piano and strings meditation “All We Ask,” on which Donnie weaves the testimonies of three different people, verse by verse, immortalizing them in song. Donnie explains, “The first verse is about a young man who came to me trying to find his place in life, the second verse is from my personal story, and the last verse is about my older sister Olivia, who was dying at the time that I wrote the song. She is now deceased. I wouldn’t let anyone else play the piano on it because I knew exactly how I wanted the music to be interpreted, but when my sister passed I did not have the strength to use my voice. So I turned ‘All We Ask’ into a feature for my background singers who have been with me faithfully since 1996 (in order of appearance: Duwane Starling; Donnie’s younger sister Andrea Mellini; Sherry Maghee and Nancey Jackson –Johnson).
Throughout his music career Donnie has earned a trophy case full of Dove and Stellar Awards plus other honors including an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Gospel Artist. In 2001 Donnie graduated to establishing his own Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, New York, all the while continuing to release the magnificent musical works Again (2003) and the double-CD Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs (2005) each one garnering the coveted Grammy Award.