Aiming to leave a legacy of hope, recording artist DeWayne Woods is building an impressive catalog of inspirational music.
Although young in years, Woods is a veteran in the industry, having started his career in the early 1990s. He performed with contemporary gospel legends, John P. Kee and Donald Lawrence, before releasing his first single in 2006.
That song, ‘Let Go,’ brought him national fame as well as a Stellar Award and a Dove Award nomination. Now, his new single, ‘Never Be the Same,’ is climbing up the charts, following the same trajectory.
Reflecting on his career thus far, Woods observed, “I always want to make sure that whatever I do, I leave messages of hope. Some people say we in gospel music focus so much on how hard life is and the struggles.
“So what I want to do is leave messages with people that helps them through their day or week. When they listen to the song, it gives them that ‘get up and go’ so they say, ‘I can make it through this.’
“That’s really the legacy I want to leave with people is that God is a healer and He can always provide whatever inspiration you need to help you go on through your life.”
Woods’ relationship with the Lord began at birth when his mother, Lillie Woods, a local recording artist in Kansas City, went into labor after singing a solo at a Sunday morning worship service.
“People tell me that my mother sang the day that she had me,” said Woods with a laugh. “As a result, I think that I really didn’t have any choice but to do the things that I’m doing. I’ve always grown up in church from the very beginning.
“I did my first concert at five-years-old at my church and it’s always been a part of my life. I think definitely that I was called to do this and I love the response of people that have been blessed by my music.
“I love singing songs that make a difference in people’s lives and that matter to people. I wouldn’t trade any of that for anything in the world,” he insisted.
While Woods cites winning a Stellar Award as one of the most memorable moments in his career, he gives equal credit for the opportunity to perform with his mother and other gospel greats.
“I did a concert back in 1997 and for the very first time, I sang with my mother, who is my biggest influence. Of course, I have worked with some of the greatest artists such as Donald Lawrence and I was a Kurt Carr singer. I even sang with Atlantic Starr.
“Still, having an opportunity to stand on stage with the woman that influenced what I do to this day was probably one of the biggest, biggest joys of my life.”
According to Woods, growing musically as he worked with Lawrence, Kee and others was a great asset because it reinforced the importance of being united with a local church as well as learning how to be a member of a unit or group.
“One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned is that it is so important to be connected with a ministry. We may want to go out and be a big star, but how can I trust you in the background?
“I sang for seven years with Tri-City before I even led a song. In the process of being with Tri-City, I was a part of a ministry and I followed my pastor, Bishop Mark C. Tolbert of Victorious Life Church in Kansas City, MO.
“It’s important because when you’re constantly pouring out, you need to be refilled. Out of everything, I say make sure you involve yourself with your local church ministry, with the praise team, choir, whatever way you can help because when God can trust you to give back, He’ll always make sure you will be thrust into the forefront,” noted Woods.
Looking towards the future, Woods is considering adding acting to his skill set. He shared, “I really see myself applying more of the dramatic side of my life to what I’m doing. I would love to do Broadway and start doing movies.
“We’re moving in that direction and I’m trying to prepare my portfolio. Within the next five to ten years, I really see myself branching out to do more than gospel music, and even doing more television.”
Whenever the next phase of life takes him, Woods intends to be guided by Jeremiah 29:11. “It’s my favorite scripture because it reminds me that God knows what He’s doing with my life and that lets me rest and trust in Him.”
(DeWayne Woods photo courtesy of mypraiseatl.com)