My music tends to be very personal. I write in a way that shows how everyday life experiences, hurts and victories, are very real. As well as how, through our lives, we can see and know that God has made himself very real, too. My music is a relatable, emotional, and spiritual experience that leaves listeners feeling the whole CD was inspired by their life stories. And the best part is, they are right.
How many projects have you come out with so far, and what are they?
I have an EP called Safe With Me, named after the titled track "Safe With Me," which is a song I wrote about my testimony from previously being a cancer patient. My first self-recorded single, "I Won't Worry," came out earlier this year, as did the single "Who You Say I Am." My newest upcoming single will be "The Answer."
You're a cancer survivor, Doran, which is such a huge part of your testimony and your mission. Talk about your battle, when it began, how long it lasted, etc.
In June of 2004 I was diagnosed with A.L.L--Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I was 10 years old at the time. I did not understand why such a horrible thing would happen to me, or why God would let me sit and suffer like I did.
I was confused, hurt, broken, and worst of all, drenched in lies. It seemed every day I woke up I was being fed lies like: "You may not wake up tomorrow." "Why even care about anything? You're just going to die anyways." "Nobody will even miss you when you are gone."
The worst lie that continued to show its ugly face in my life was the lie that my life was purposeless--that I was literally put on this earth to be a sad story and die. So, out of fear, I just tried to numb the pain of my situation through ignoring everything. I didn't want to think about it, talk about it or have anything to do with the fact that I was hurt, and that I had questions for God I felt He never answered.
Years later, I found myself sitting in my dorm-room as a freshman in college, trying to write a song. What I didn't know is that I wasn't going to just write a song that day, but rather I was going to have a love encounter with my Savior. As I began to pray and press into Him I heard Him ask me, "Ask me the questions you have kept locked away all this time." So I did.
I began to ask Him, "Jesus where were you when they were sticking needles into my body all the time? Where were you when I was all alone and felt abandoned and broken? Where were you when I was hurting?" And it was in that moment, for the first time in my life, I realized that He never left. In fact, He was waiting there the whole time longing for me to know I was safe in His arms, and that He was with me, feeling every very needle, heartache, and hurt I had felt.
I just needed to look up from my fear, and see the truth of who He was. So after taking all this in, I then wrote it into a song format that could be used to encourage and relate to all of God's people who find themselves in that same situation and who need to know they are safe in the arms of their father. The best part of the story though, is that a couple months after my encounter with Him, in March of 2013, I was released from the hospital and declared cancer-free. So now I live my life driven by a passion that desires for God's people to know that they are never abandoned, never forsaken, and never alone--but safe in His arms.
How has your experience with cancer changed you as a person and as an artist?
My experience with cancer has changed my life in many ways, but I find that the most important one is this: It made me realize that every second we are on this earth, it is because God has a plan and a purpose for us here. So why would we abuse Heaven's time gift when there are souls that need to experience the love of Christ?
Your single, "Safe With Me," is really about your battle with cancer. What have been some stories you've heard from other people regarding this song?
Some of the stories that have come from people hearing "Safe With Me" have been amazing to watch and hear. I have seen children and families all across the world, for the first time, grab onto the promise of God's word that is found in the song--"I promise to remain in you if you'll remain in Me"--and claim it as their own! From videos of little girls fighting cancer themselves singing "Safe With Me," to messages from parents speaking about how God has restored their lives and they no longer walk in fear, the message of "Safe With Me" speaks to all of our lives. What I have come to realize is that though it may not be a physical disease, we all have a cancer in our lives that infects us and plagues us. No matter if it's financial stress, marital issues, addiction, or a life full of lies. We all need to recognize that we have already been given the greatest cure in history. and His name is Jesus Christ.
What's your connection to the Make-A-Wish Foundation?
My connection with Make-A-Wish is that I was once a wish kid in 2004. I wished for a pool, and the team went above and beyond what I ever could have wished for. They were a glimmer of hope in a time of chaos for me.
So, when I began pursuing a music career, my manager made a connection and encouraged me to look for an organization to partner with. I instantly knew I wanted to bless back those who blessed me so much in my time of hurting, as well as come alongside of and bless those walking the road I once walked as well. So I decided to donate a dollar of every CD I sell to the local Make-A-Wish chapter of whichever venue I am at, and it has been such a blessing to give back. I hope to do events for them, and to bless them for as long as I live.
Your current single is "Who You Say I Am." In brief, what birthed this song?
"Who You Say I Am" is a message of Identity. I was down in the Fort Meyers, Florida area shooting the music video for "Safe With Me" when I started writing the song. I was trying to write a song that spoke straight up, biblical truth about who God sees us as. This was a passion of mine because through my fight with cancer I was fed lies daily about who I really was. So this song was written out of a stand against the lies of this world, and it is a call to action for the Children of God, to not just sit back and believe the lies of the enemy, but seek out the truth about who their Father says they are.
As far as you can tell, what is your mission?
When I started pursuing music, I was given a revelation by God that I was called to do as His disciples did: Preach and teach the name of Jesus, pray for the sick, and travel from city to city proclaiming the name of Jesus. So, with music as my gateway into the hearts of those who may not be as open to the message of Hope otherwise, this is exactly what I aim to do. My prayer is that no matter what happens on my journey, that when I reach the arms of my Savior one day, He recognizes me as the servant who lived a life with passion and love for His children and His people.
What's next for you, and how can people be praying for you?
As I continue to write music, and look for more venues, and platforms to share this message of Hope that has been so real in my life, I pray that God continues to open the hearts of those who are hurting, and continues to allow me to speak into their lives would be a blessing beyond words. Thank you!
New Release Today's Executive Editor Marcus Hathcock pursues worship and words. He has been a newspaper reporter/editor a church communications director and small groups guy. He's also been involved in opera, acappella, a CCM group and now is a songwriter and the worship leader at his church in the Portland, Ore. area. Follow his journey at www.mheternal.com.