Contemporary Christian Blues...Bringing the 'Good News' to the Blues.
Denise AKA Big D was born in Michigan in the late 60s. She, and her two older siblings were brought up in an unstable home for the first 3 years of her life. Then, through her father’s divorce and remarriage, lived the next 7 years in a normal, middle class home. During this seven years, she sang…a lot…with the radio. The seventies music was piped in throughout her comfortable, two story home. Her musical influences would be shaped during this time by groups like: The Eagles, James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, and anyone on the popular radio stations of the 70s. Denise sang a couple of solos in elementary school: ‘Snoopy Come Home,’ and ‘M.O.T.H.E.R.’ These songs were sung as solos before the entire school…. Denise recalls how she actually enjoyed practicing for her gigs;). No other ‘gigs’ were pursued at that time, and Denise’s singing career was halted for the next several years.
By the time Denise was 11, she (along with her sister and brother) was thrown back into chaos when her Father divorced again.
The next few years of Denise’s life would be characterized by drinking, drugs, depression, staying out late at night, poor school attendance and bad grades. Because Denise was ‘out of control’ her Father decided to send her to Florida where she would live with her grandmother (her dad’s mother).
A new State, a new school, a new home…none of it comfortable, and none of it easy. While living with her Grandmother, Denise became even more depressed. Every day after school, she would go to her bedroom and listen to the saddest music she could find. The songs that had been a comfort in the ‘stable home,’ were now the songs she would pick out to feed into her depression. She also added a few other “artists,” like Ozzy Osborne, Black Sabbath, and a whole host of other heavy rock groups of the day. By the time Denise was 14, she began to have daily thoughts of suicide, and was drinking and doing drugs on a regular basis. At 17 years old, she was placed in an Adolescent Treatment Center for attempted suicide. While there, her Psychiatrist introduced her to Gregg Allman (from the Allman Brother’s Band.) Nothing musically however, came from that meeting. Having spent only 3 months in the center, she was released with flying colors. But she was not cured. She continued to deteriorate, graduating to cocaine and more attempts at suicide. She spent another 30 days in the Adult Unit for alcohol abuse. Again, she was not well. After many more poor choices and ‘real’ suicide attempts, she had a dream. In the dream she saw the form of a man who told her that she had one week to live. She interpreted the form as being God, and that if she didn’t accept Jesus as her Savior within the week, God would never try to reach her with His salvation again.
She drank heavily for the next 3 days, and finally surrendered her life to Christ on Feb. 13, 1986. Immediately, Denise says that her whole mind-set changed. No longer did she want to kill herself…in fact, now she wanted to live! Now, because of Jesus, she had a purpose to live, and a reason to sing! It was indeed a miracle of God!
After a few months, Denise began to attend a local Church where she sang her first solo on a Wednesday night. The song was, “My Father’s Eyes” by Amy Grant.
Since that time Denise has done numerous concert tours across America, has had several bands, written nearly 60 songs, has led worship for over 25 years, has recorded 4 projects; two of which have been released nationally, and have received some radio play, ‘Big Time,’ and ‘Live @ the Lighthouse, Official Bootleg.’ By her group called Big D & the Good News Blues. You can find the song “My Story” on the CD ‘Big Time’ which tells Denise’s story in song. She also wrote a book in 2016 called, "just hold on: finding hope in the face of suicide." You can buy the book on Amazon or on her website at: http://www.justholdonbook.com
She sings and writes exclusively Christian music now, and says that there is simply no meaning in anything else. Jesus saved her, and she will serve Him all the days of her life, with everything she is, and with all she has been given.
Denise AKA Big D is currently serving as Worship Leader at Cornerstone Christian Church in Ramsay, MI. She has been married to husband / manager, Curt, for 29 years, and has two sons, Levi (28) and Jonathan (26).
As a result of her childhood and trials, Denise has all the ingredients of a bona fide blues singer, minus of course, the depressing message:) Now she can't help but sing the "Good News Blues!"
And it’s only going to get better! Romans 1:16