In February of 2015, viewers of the Oxygen special "Preachers of Detroit" were introduced to the Shelby Family. For those of you that do not know what Preachers of Detroit is about it is a reality series based on several Pastors, their family and congregation in the Detroit area. The series featured three time Grammy Award Winning Gospel Singer Dorinda Clark Cole. Who is the daughter of the Legendary Gospel Singer Dr.Mattie Moss- Clark. Dorinda is an Evangelist who currently serves at Greater Emmanuel Institutional COGIC, under the leadership of her brother-in-law, Bishop J. Drew Sheard. Other cast members include Pastor David Bullock, The Esteemed Bishop Charles H.Ellis, Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Pastor Tim Alden, Bishop Clarence Langston and lastly Bishop Don Shelby Jr.
Bishop Don Shelby pastors at the Burning Bush International Ministry. His wife- First Lady Bonita Shelby who also serves in ministry as well while building her own prestigious fashion line. Both individuals are the proud parents of our feature- The Shelby 5. The sibling group have taken to the Gospel music scene in a way that is respected by the seasoned veterans but also appeal to crowds that are approximately around their age. Since the show they have taken off tremendously and continue to minister together. They've traveled and sang for Gospel Singer Donnie McClurkin and even TedX.
We got the chance to speak with Shelby 1, 3 & 5. Courtney & Trent were unable to join us but let’s see what Don the 3rd, Andrea & Amber had to say.....
KingdomSoldNYC: We saw on the show and you just mentioned it, Don you do the writing and producing. So this question is for you. What has been your inspiration?
Don: I’ll be transparent. I fell into writing. My parents produced and financed our first CD about 10 years ago and we were all just some singing brothers and sisters. We had different producers and writers that assisted us with the album. It was during that process really where I tried and found myself writing and helping out with the music because I’ve always been a musician playing the piano or the drums. I would say about 5-7 years after that project ended the Shelby 5 was in a pivotal place. Either we were going to make up our mind to really do this thing or we were going to live a normal lifestyle like how normal people would live. Through prayer and fasting, I was in a quiet place and I started saying “God I want to start writing, I want you to give me songs, I want songs from the Spirit, I want a new message a new sound. It seemed like within that week I would see words on a billboard or words on a page and I would start putting melodies to it and it started happening, that regimen, that flow. I just thank God cause it’s not a switch I can cut on but when I get in that moment, It’s flowing!
KingdomSoldNYC: The song that most people have probably heard is “Champion”, Did you write that?
Amber: Yes, He did!
Andrea: Yes, Don wrote that song!
KingdomSoldNYC: We know your siblings but when did you start officially singing together?
Andrea: We were always called the Shelby 5 but baby girl- Amber wouldn't sing with us at first. She was shy and nervous so it was the Shelby 4 but we were still called the Shelby 5. When Amber was about 6 she started singing. Trenton was 2 when he started and he was holding down the tenor but when He was about 3 is when we decided to be the Shelby 5.
KingdomSoldNYC: It’s awesome to see siblings in ministry together! So Don is the oldest, then Courtney, Andrea, Trenton and then Amber. Describe your early music experiences...
Andrea: Our earliest memories start at home. My mom is the one who trained us and taught us how to sing. She would play the piano at the house and that is really the beginning of how it started. She taught us harmonies and we would sit together and have our fun. Then our dad having a Church gave us a platform and a place to sing. So singing at the church and from there the rest is history.
KingdomSoldNYC: Is Bishop musically inclined?
Andrea: No he’s not (laughs)
Don: Dad has a good sense of vibe!
Andrea: He’s our critique. He gives good advice, he knows what sounds good and what doesn't but I wouldn't say he is musically inclined.
KingdomSoldNYC: Is there a particular song that you would always sing?
Don: One minute
Andrea: Stand Up
KingdomSoldNYC: I’m sure you know of the connotations out there about PK’s. However I believe that all of us are not bad, there’s a lot of us doing good things. So tell us a little about what was your experience has been like growing up as PK’s.
Andrea: Our experience was pretty positive with the way our church family is it has been great. Of course being in that position of PK you have some things you miss out on like your Dad having to be at everybody’s birthday’s and everything. Just missing your basketball games, choir concerts stuff like that. Our church does a great job at loving on us! They know the sacrifices that First Ladies and Pk’s have to take and I thank God for our church family cause they look out for us. They really do love us!
KingdomSoldNYC: Do you feel any pressures as PK’s?
Amber: Oh year!
Andrea: I think pressures are automatically with it! (Laughs)
KingdomSoldNYC: Let’s hear from Don cause you’re the oldest son. There is a legacy there as the son of the Bishop, Don How do you handle the pressure?
Don: Wow, let’s see. It is definitely a journey and like Amber said its more positive, more ups than downs. My dad has been in ministry for 24 years and I was the first member of Burning Bush Church in the living room- I’ve seen people come, I’ve seen people go. One thing it has taught me is how to love people unconditionally and that is definitely something I have to keep practicing. God does that perfectly and we really want to be like He is. Some people you gotta love them in spite of how they treat you and that’s what I’ve learned as a preacher's kid. Like I’ve said before, I really didn't get here overnight but I am really developing a strong heart for the people of God. I love to see God’s people come together in unified strength, love and peace. Burning Bush Church has been a phenomenal experience for all of us. I could not imagine it any other way and I thank God that it is.
KingdomSoldNYC: When it comes to TV we are some what restricted to what the producers allow us to see. On the show your parents seemed a little strict even with the interactions you all had with other cast members on the show. They painted you as this stern family, How would you describe your family?
Andrea: Oh my God, our family is fun! We have fun together, it's spontaneous. My dad and we’ve all gotten older but he would come home sometimes with a whole bunch of nerf guns and He will say alright now we going to battle. We would run around the house shooting each other with nerf guns and it’s stuff like that. Spontaneous but that's normal for us. We have fun, you can still be saved and have a good time! You can live a life of holiness and one that is an example to others and still have fun!
KingdomSoldNYC: We see that your parents push you and support what you are doing but do you ever find that your parental support is too much pressure or have you learned to take it in as they just want the best for you?
Don: Definitely I would say My parents are behind us 110% I am so grateful to have parents like we do. It’s sad but I wish every child had parents like we do. They push us, they pour into us, they love us, they console us, they teach us and It’s something that I am grateful for. Where we are today is because of what our parents have poured into us. Some people might say 'parents push them too much' but, you know what, I am so thankful that our parents pushed us, they didn't do it to a fault, they didn't do it to the point of us being unhappy- they wanted us to become everything that God has called us to be. Here we are today, we’re walking this journey out still. We’re not there yet but we are that much closer and I thank God for the Godly parents that He has given us.
KingdomSoldNYC: That's awesome. Respect to Bishop & First Lady Shelby. Let’s switch it up a bit, when you're not singing, not rehearsing ...what are you all up to?
Don: We all can say this...we are probably all shopping! If you have a good sale somewhere or our nice premium stores...we are in there! (laughs) Me & Trent you can find us on the basketball court. We are always playing basketball matter of fact I think that's what we going to do tonight because we have some free time!
Andrea: I am either shopping or eating because I maybe small but I love to eat. I am a foodie. I like to try new restaurants, I like fine dinning, anything wherever I go I just find the best place to eat. I just love to eat.
Don: That’s her and dad.
Amber: You can find me, probably in the bed getting some rest. (Everyone laughs)
KingdomSoldNYC: Amber, are you still in High School?
Amber: I am in an accelerated program, so I am a senior in High School doing an early college program. When I graduate I will have my associates degree in Liberal Arts. So you will find me working at my education, other times I am asleep.
KingdomSoldNYC: That’s pretty understandable, you work pretty hard in high school and college; it’s basically study, eat and sleep. (Everyone laughs)
KingdomSoldNYC: So is Courtney still doing hair?
Andrea: Courtney actually doesn’t do hair she does make up, which she is still doing.
KingdomSoldNYC: Oh! Got it. How about mom, still doing her fabulous fashion designing and clothing.
Andrea: YES SHE DOES!
KingdomSoldNYC: Does she have a website?
Andrea: She does have a website, it’s either Bonita Couture Fashion or Bonita Couture Styles, but follow her on Instagram and you will see it. I can’t remember if it’s fashion or styles. You can also google it and it will come up. Bonita Shelby
KingdomSoldNYC: Okay great. Now Trent, what is he doing besides playing basketball?
Andrea: He’s in school, he plays football, He’s the athlete of the family. So anything that has to do with sports.
KingdomSoldNYC: That's dope! Everybody doing their thing.
KingdomSoldNYC: Is there anything that you are working on now?
Don: I can’t tip my hand too much, but I will say that God is doing some amazing things for the Shelby 5. Just stay tuned, keep your ears tuned, listen to the the radio, follow on social media. We are going to make a big announcement soon. I really think we are nearing our dream for real. We have a couple of things on the table and it’s great how God's working it out. It’s coming together smoothly. We are working on our album and we got some special surprise announcements.
KingdomSoldNYC: Anything special you hope to accomplish or right now the focus is specifically on the album?
Amber: We will have our single out early 2016. Right now we are traveling, singing and just working. Whatever opportunities the Lord presents we are taking the assignments.
Andrea: We really just want to share the message of God with anyone really. God is awesome and it’s okay to be young and saved.
Don: A culture of young people that are really on fire for God. If you talk to us long enough you are going to get something about God and the Jesus culture. That’s what we are about. We want people to know it’s cool to actually serve God!
KingdomSoldNYC: That's dope! I am sure your parents are proud of you all and what you are doing. Music has an impact on the young and the old. What advice to those that believe that music and art is the direction they want to go in?
Andrea: hmm, the advice I would give would be- be yourself, don’t be afraid to express yourself, don't be afraid to be different. Just trust God and know that you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else.
KingdomSoldNYC: Lastly, anything you would like to say from promo, shout outs or an encouraging word to anyone that will possibly come across this interview.
Amber: Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter it’s all Shelby5fam. Just stay tuned to what God is doing through our lives. We appreciate all the love and support we’ve had so far, so thank you and God is so awesome!
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