Motivational speaker Derek Clark and now the Rapping Dad in the viral video hit is featured on NBC’S Steve Harvey TV Talk Show. He shares a part of his life story growing up in foster care and what inspired him to write the first lines of a rap song at 16 years old. As an at risk teenager growing up in the foster care system and feeling rejected, he found a creative way to express his anger, resentment, frustration and dreams.
Now fast forward from the angry 16 year old… Today Derek Clark is an inspiring motivational speaker, music producer, inspirational author, singer/songwriter with over 125 tracks on iTunes. The story of Derek Clark’s life is truly amazing. Abandoned early in his childhood and plunged in the harsh and uncertain depths of the foster care system for 13 years, he spent his early life coping with hardship and overcoming adversity. Even against seemingly unbelievable odds, Derek never gave up. His music gave him the strength to overcome, prevail and help heal his soul.
Derek states: “As a foster youth, music was my therapy. Music has dramatically changed my life. It has given me the ability to express feelings which otherwise would have remained locked in my soul. Music was the key to the cell that I was trapped in. Music is literally like another language. Playing music is fun, but creating music can change your life. The feeling that overcomes you when you’re inspired to create and let your soul breathe free can leave you stunned. It is true inspiration. When you attain the musical ability that allows you to express your deepest emotions, you can sit with a guitar in your hand and sing about what you are feeling at any given moment. It is beautiful how the words just flow out.
Music is simply amazing. Next to my family, my music is the most important thing in my life. I am not talking about going to concerts or turning on the radio. I mean creating music from the wellspring of the soul. My testimony of life, my faith and my beliefs are expressed through the musical melodies circulating around my soul. My sadness, anger and happiness are turned into a song, where they become almost as precious to me as the children I have created. I can’t tell you which song is my favorite. It’s like telling you which of my kids is my favorite. It is impossible to say, but I can tell you that creation is in tune with the music of your heart. Music can change the mood you’re in from sadness and anger to an energetic happiness. Finding just the right sound can bring tears to your eyes. When composed with passion, music is nothing less than miraculous. It can literally heal the emotionally wounded.
I will always be indebted to my foster father for passing the miracle of music on to me. I started learning music when I was about ten years old. My foster father played piano and would teach me the basics of music theory and accompany me on duets. He also laid the foundation for me never giving up. He never let me quit when it became hard to learn. Sometimes I couldn’t stand playing the clarinet but it helped me blossom into a competent musician, giving me confidence and greatly increasing my self-esteem.
When I was an eight years foster kid, I decided right then and there that someday I was going to be a rock star, and everyone would love me. Well, I never became a rock star in the world’s eyes, but I am a rock star to my own children. They absolutely love that I play music to them. I also learned that not everyone is going to like my music and that you can’t go through life always looking for other people’s approval and acceptance. I admit that’s a tough thing to accept sometimes, because everyone wants to be liked and I’m no different in this regard. Being a foster kid makes you feel rejected, and you consider yourself unworthy. Music was the vehicle which allowed me to open up and dream. Dreams can give you hope, and hope was the only thing I needed.
Music has taught me appreciation for the little things. My music gives form to the feelings I have inside. When I am inspired to write, it comes from some deep place in the heart. I have had many opportunities to sing my songs in public performances and see how my music effects others. It is humbling to know that one of my songs can comfort another person, and give them strength to endure a hard time. I love using music in my presentations around the world and connecting to the heart and spirit of the audience.
Music has helped me to get in tune with other people and come to know their spirits, needs and intentions. It has helped me stay grounded and real. It has allowed me to maintain a connection with my soul and spirit, instead of shunning or hating myself. I like myself and love myself, not in some self-absorbed manner that makes me egotistical or narcissistic, but in a way that allows me to be proud of how far I have come. I like that for most of my life I have gone forwards instead of backwards, and that I try everyday to improve myself in some way.”
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