Donald Lawrence (born May 4, 1958) is an American gospel music songwriter, record producer and artist.
Lawrence took on The Tri-City Singers after a friend vacated his position as musical director. The group debuted in 1993 with “A Songwriter's Point Of View” on a then-brand-new independent record label called GospoCentric Records. The set debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart.
The group's follow-up release “Bible Stories” would top that same chart when it arrived in 1995. It was the first to be billed as Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers and featured black church-ubiquitous hits such as “A Message For The Saints,” “I Am God” and “Stranger.” The album was released on Lawrence's newly minted label Crystal Rose Records which was distributed through Sparrow Records.
In 1997, Donald Lawrence produced the live portion of Karen Clark Sheard's Grammy-nominated “Finally Karen” debut. Lawrence & Tri-City also released the seasonal “Hello Christmas” the same year. Later, Lawrence signed a contract with the Island Records imprint Island Inspirational. Though a live recording did take place for release, the album never materialized.
In 2000, Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers signed to EMI Gospel. To promote the new album, the lead single “Testify” was sent to mainstream radio. House remixes by Junior Vasquez sent the song to #33 on Billboard's Mainstream Dance chart. When “tri-city4.com” was finally released in late summer 2000, the set peaked at #2 on Billboard's Top Gospel chart and #13 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. The album also got a profile boost from the all-star standout “God's Favor,”featuring vocal turns from Karen Clark Sheard, Kim Burrell and Kelly Price.
Lawrence waited almost two years before delivering the follow-up “Go Get Your Life Back” in early 2002. “The Best is Yet to Come,” a song sonically much in the vein of the previous smash “Testify,” was chosen as the album's lead single. This release featured guest appearances from Ann Nesby (formerly of Sounds of Blackness) and gospel pioneer Bishop Walter Hawkins. The momentum continued with the 2003 release of “Restoring The Years,” a greatest hits album featuring two new songs.
The next album would mark a fresh start for Donald Lawrence. 2004’s “I Speak Life,” his first solo album, was the debut for his newly inked recording contract with Verity Records, and also the first release under his new sub-label Quiet Water Entertainment. Though the album (billed as Donald Lawrence & Co.) was without The Tri-City Singers, there were several guest appearances. Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Faith Evans, Richard Smallwood and Carl Thomas all contributed to the album. Even jazz notables Ramsey Lewis and Lalah Hathaway were on hand for a remake of the “Bible Stories” classic “Don't Forget To Remember.”
In March 2006, The Tri-City Singers announced that they would retire, but not before one last live recording. “Finale: Act One” and “Finale: Act Two” were released simultaneously in April 2006. Each release was an album/DVD set that chronicled the audio and video of one half. The blowout concert included guest appearances from Bishop Walter Hawkins, Karen Clark Sheard, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Daryl Coley, LaShun Pace, Darwin Hobbs, and many other gospel luminaries. The album's lead single “The Blessing Of Abraham” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance in December 2006.
His sophomore solo album, “The Law of Confession Part I” was released in February 2009 and was a #12 hit on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart. In 2011 Donald Lawrence & Co. released “YRM (Your Righteous Mind)” and again reached #1 on the Billboard Gospel chart.