Never tell a praise and worship singer that there’s such a thing as the wrong audience for his message. He’s bound to know that gospel is the bedrock of popular music – and that pop, rock, jazz, soul, and hip-hop listeners are already familiar with the conventions of his style, whether they realize it or not. He also knows that he’s the bearer of good news that has been lifting spirits for two thousand years, and shows no signs of slowing down. Contemporary gospel belongs to the world in a way that few art forms do, and Rick Dorn’s sound, mission, and talent is as big as the globe. He’s the architect of an irresistible sound that draws evenly from R&B, classic pop, and fiery gospel, and he sings his verses of devotion and praise in a voice that carries the absolute authority of true belief.
Those who viewed the 2019 Netflix movie Holiday Rush know how much warmth Rick Dorn can generate: “A Merry Christmas,” his first recording, was prominently featured in the film. It was a perfect fit with the film’s holiday spirit, and saw Dorn alongside some absolute legends on the soundtrack: John Legend, Ne-Yo, Darlene Love, and more. Technically, “Great Things” is Rick Dorn’s introduction as a solo recording artist. But he’s been involved in music for years as a producer, arranger, and studio owner and operator, and the thousands of people who’ve participated in the worship services he’s led already consider him a luminary. Dorn has shared stages and pulpits with gospel royalty, including Fred Hammond, Shirley Caesar, CeCe Winans, Karen Clark-Sheard, and many others. His objective is the same as theirs: he’s trying to turn his listeners’ attention to the Almighty, filling hearts with love as he fills ears with the sweetest sounds he can.
For “Great Things,” Dorn turns up the heat. Over a forceful yet butter-smooth track, the singer testifies to the universal nature of the life-changing power of God: no matter who or where you are, it’s right there for you to grasp. The clip for “Great Things” catches Dorn in concert, performing in front of a crowd of unconverted listeners expecting a straightforward hip-hop show. By the beginning of the second verse, he’s won the skeptics over, and it’s easy to see why. His skills as a singer, songwriter, and bandleader are evident, and his message of love and optimism is perfectly calibrated to reach those who are troubled (all of us, in other words). Dorn knows what all great gospel singers do – any place where people are gathered can be a church. All you need is the right song and the proper spirit.