Hailing from North Carolina, the award-winning songwriter, recording artist, musical performer, and CEO, Dennis Reed is a force to be reckoned with. Having performed for people like Oprah and the late Dr. Maya Angelou, and worked alongside musical greats like Donnie McClurkin and Bebe Winans, Dennis is on his way to becoming one of the most recognizable voices in inspirational music.
We took a few moments to ask him a few questions the journey that landed him in the presence of President Barack Obama and John Lewis, and this is what he shared. Meet Dennis Reed.
Tell us, who is Dennis Reed?
I am a man who is a philanthropist, a lover of people and God. I strive to live out and walk in my purpose by being the change I want to see in the world. I believe in the limitless potential of the youth of this nation.
How was “Inspire the Fire” birthed? And how did your purpose find you?
“Inspire The Fire,” my non-profit, was God-led. Sometimes God will allow you to stumble into your purpose, and that’s what happened to me. The community concert part of ITF started when I was a bored 17-year-old. The first event we put on had over 150 young people there. And to date, we have reached over 5,000 lives. When we went on America’s Got Talent, we reached over 18 million viewers. My “sweet spot” is when I can help others connect with their calling or higher purpose. My ultimate goal is to give back and to inspire people to live their best lives through entertainment and the arts. I believe “better” is attainable for everyone. I tell people all the time that when you take the pressure off yourself to find your purpose, your purpose will find you.
How did it feel to get requested to speak to and with Senator Clinton about the State of Young Black America and be asked to introduce President Obama?
When I work, I feel nothing but the work in the moment. I’m completely focused on the assignment and what I have to do. The “warm and fuzzies” don’t set in until afterward when I reflect back on things. When I along with my team GAP was invited to perform for Maya Angelou’s 85th Birthday celebration hosted by Oprah, it was Bebe Winans who called me! That within itself was surreal. I use the excitement I feel to ignite me, and I use it as fuel to execute on stage.
When Senator Clinton invited me to introduce Obama all I could think about in the moment was “Oh my God! Don’t mess up!” All in all, I was just and still am grateful. Gratefulness is the prerequisite for benevolence-the more grateful you are, the more life itself will reward you with more!
What legacy do you want to leave or what do you want people to say about you?
I want people to say: “He tried his best. He took the little that he had, gave it to God and God blessed it and him. He made amazing music. He showed us what it meant to be relevant but real. He gave all that he had. He made the nation believe.”
I truly believe that I’m living my legacy right now. When people I met fifteen years ago at my first event come up to me and they have degrees, are married with children and all, THAT’S what I do it for. To see the trajectory of people’s lives changed because I showed them a path to God, that’s the legacy I want to leave and live.
What’s next for Dennis Reed?
I want to keep on inspiring people in Charlotte. Then I want to franchise “Ignite the Fire” to grow nationally and remain raw, real and relevant.
We just dropped the new single with Fantasia, so we are looking to travel on tour soon.
After I make a couple million over the next few years, I pray God sends me my “good thing,” so we can take on the world together. Just like Jay-Z, LeBron and those who help change people’s lives, that what’s next for me. To increase my level of influence so I can bless others. After I saw the movie “Selma” I was inspired to do more and to go hard for my people. I told him “Thank you.” I said that I would do my best to uphold that kind of legacy and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now.
Watch his video with Fantasia here.