Dathan Thigpen & Holy Nation
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Dathan Thigpen & Holy Nation


Band Christian Gospel


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The best kept secret in music


"`It's a God idea'"

By Sherry Lucas

Dathan Thigpen is a jubilant whip of energy, his slight body swirling around the songs and joyful noise of his gospel choir Holy Nation, coaxing it, building it, riding it to the level of praise that raises roofs.

He's not still for a second and rarely are they.

Thigpen bounces in place, rocks side to side, marches, crouches, jumps and claps. A cardboard poster tube makes a handy prop: a megaphone, a microphone, a baton, a flag, a parade mace, a percussion instrument, a dance partner.

This is only a rehearsal but the spirit is there lively, electric, contagious.

As Thigpen says of his young choir and their current recording project, "It's definitely a God idea."

The live recording for their debut CD, with renowned gospel producer David Blakely, was this weekend at Word of Faith Christian Center in Jackson. Their theme will be the title: GET UP.

It stands for Get Exposed To Unadulterated Praise pure, straight from the heart praise that can sweep listeners right up in the worship, whether they're at a concert in Jackson or in a car in New Mexico. The hope is to line up a distribution deal for the self-produced CD, tour to promote it this fall with expectation for release the first of next year.

Thigpen believes they're on the verge of something big. "I tell the choir all the time this is bigger than I think. It's humbling. Something great happens not because we want to see our names in lights or make a billion or million dollars.

"We love to do it. We're sincere about it. God helped us to do it. Or rather, commissioned us to do it.

"I honestly feel like this is an assignment."

Good genes

When Thigpen's eyes close and a song takes hold, it's like he's transported to some place divine, irresistibly pulling listeners right along with him.

Thigpen, 24, has been steeped in gospel music since birth and singing that long, too. His genes carry a double dose. His mother, Dorcus, is directress of the chart-topping Mississippi Mass Choir; uncle David Curry Jr. is its co-founder; aunts and uncles are members. He eventually was, too, and still is. His father, Don, a musician, does gospel sheet music arrangements and is a pastor at Noah Ministries.

Thigpen's recording start was with the Mississippi Children's Choir, leading a song on its first CD. Usually a professional singer would handle the lead, with the children singing backup, he said.

"There was one particular song I liked and I thought, well, I'll try," Thigpen said of There Is Hope. "I'm an extrovert. I'm open to anything," he shrugged, grinning. "For me, that was really the start of something I never really knew I had."

Years later, he'd lead the title track for the Mississippi Mass Choir's The Amazing Love CD (1999).

"I have watched him from a child all the way up. It's kind of like seeing a butterfly metamorph," said Jerry Mannery, gospel director at Malaco Records.

If gospel lineage is a family tree, consider Mississippi Mass Choir the roots, Mississippi Children's Choir the trunk, Dathan Thigpen & Holy Nation the branch.

Dorcus Thigpen, also a member of Holy Nation, gives a pleased sigh when asked about her middle son. "It's just a blessing to see him. It's a blessing to see all five of my sons and to know they're all in the church rendering service to the Lord. ... I feel like a millionaire."

All are in gospel music and have helped with Holy Nation: Donavon, keyboard player and music director; Dominic, manager and percussionist; Dorran, musician and vocalist; D'Andre, vocalist. In addition to his brothers and mother, Holy Nation includes aunts Leah Curry and Rachel Curry Woods.

Expectations are already high, Dathan Thigpen said. "This is the genesis stage of how the Mississippi Mass Choir began and they're still doing great things," he said.

"This is our opportunity to be in the same shoes as they were. It feels like an honor."

New commitment

Thigpen received his master's degree in mass communications from Jackson State this spring.

He was pondering his two passions for music and broadcast production when the choice was made for him. The Holy Nation debut concert fell on a day he originally had scheduled off as a news photographer for WJTV. His work schedule changed but he made the decision to do the concert. He lost his job a month later.

In January, he made the music his full-time focus. "From then on, God has been opening doors. I think that step needed to be made. I was just planning to make it later, when I graduated," he said, chuckling. One day, he'll probably combine the music and the media, he said.

"It's been a rocky road, a rollercoaster," he said, "but in the end, it's all worth it. At the end, man, it's awesome."

A milestone

The urging of colleagues and power of prayer prompted Thigpen to put together Holy Nation, a handpicked selection of family, gospel choir colleagues and church contacts, ages 19 to 48. "I would hea - The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS


Getup Vol. 1


Feeling a bit camera shy



Every now and then a man child is born who has showed up on the planet to authenticate the pattern of things in Heaven. On October 9, 1980 God gave us a man child who would ultimately become ineluctably the answer to the necessity for a paradigm shift in the arena of worship. His father would appropriately call his name Dathan, which is translated to mean: welled, or belonging to a fountain. Dathan Thigpen is indeed a well and fountain of worship from which flows living water- the very presence of God! Dathan began singing at a young age. The genesis of his discography includes joining the MS Childrens Choir (Malaco) where he led several songs on their three recordings. There Is Hope, & Thank You Lord on the Child of the King CD, Let's Change The World on the New Creation CD, Things Go Better with Christ, I'm Blessed (rap) and Remember Me on the When God's Children Get Together CD. Already being a Mississippi Mass kid, since the choir's inception in 1988, as his mother, Dorcus Thigpen is the directress of the choir and uncle David Curry Jr. is co-founder, Dathan went on to join the Mississippi Mass Choir (MMC). Dathan led the title track, Amazing Love on the Mississippi Mass Choir's 2002 recording. Later that year, he accompanied the choir on their tour of Spain. Gospelflava's review of the album in which the title cut was on their Top Ten List for several weeks noted: "Prime among them is Dathan Thigpen's sensitive lead vocal on the album's title track. His inviting tenor voice, at first accompanied only by flowing keyboards, unhurriedly lays the foundation for a strong climax, Thigpen unravels his heart cry with growing intensity on this, one of the album's surefire hits." Dathan has led or sung backup with artists such as: Vernon Moore & the Urgency Project, Courtney Franklin, Macy Gray (Sony), Harvey Watkins Jr. (Verity), The Williams Brothers (Blackberry), Mosie Mama Burks (Malaco) and others. Dathan is also a Philomath earning a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Arts Degree both in Mass Communication at Jackson State University. Dathan is currently in bible school at Faith Bible Institute in Jackson, MS. He is also an ordained minister by his spiritual grandfather, Bishop Keith A. Butler under the auspices of Word of Faith International Christian Center. His currently serves as Praise & Worship leader at Word of Faith Christian Center in Jackson, MS. You will be edified and enriched with God's power and authority every time you experience the ministry of this anointed and electrifying psalmist of God!


The Lord gave Dathan Thigpen a vision to assemble a choir whose main ministry is to expose people from every walk of life to unadulterated praise. Dathan formed such a group in the fall of 2003. The choir's name is taken from 1 Peter 2:9 which reads: "But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." This ensemble consists of worshippers from St. Louis, MO, Little Rock, AR, Memphis, TN, Jackson, MS, Chicago, IL, and cities all over the United States. This dynamic group of young people has blossomed into one of the premier choirs coming out of the Jackson, MS area. Its unique style and flair crosses both cultural and denominational barriers. Many are called, but few are chosen. Holy Nation has definitely been chosen for the work of exposing people all over the world to the awesome power of praise and worship. In October 2004, Dathan Thigpen and Holy Nation hosted an unprecedented concert event: "GET UP 2004 Getting Exposed To Unadulterated Praise" at Mississippi College (MC) in Clinton, MS. This gathering of worshippers featured a diverse audience of young and old, black and white, as well as the churched and unchurched. The atmosphere of MC was transformed into a sanctuary where the Spirit of God moved mightily. This event was the launching pad of their dynamic ministry that is now taking the world by storm. In April 2004 Dathan Thigpen and Holy Nation were asked to open for CeCe Winans' Throne Room Tour, where they ushered over 2000 people into the presence of God. They also mesmerized the COGIC Convention in 2005 with their powerful performance during the prestigious Friday Night Musical. Holy Nation has also been featured on the nationally syndicated gospel TV show Singsation. This choir has a distinctive anointing that electrifies every venue in which it ministers, making it one of the most sought-after choirs in the country.

For more information, visit our website:www.holynation.org