WHO: Shirley Murdock.
HOMETOWN: Toledo, Ohio.
WHAT SHE’S UP TO NOW: Murdock is an evangelist at Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, recording and singing gospel music and appearing in gospel plays.
THE STORY: Singer Shirley Murdock is part of the group of female vocalists, including Betty Wright and Millie Jackson, who were known for their songs that detailed the intimate part of a woman’s life in no uncertain terms. In Murdock’s case, her two biggest hits, “As We Lay” and “Husband,” took on infidelity.
Murdock got her start with late pioneering musician Roger Troutman, who was also from Ohio. She sang backup for Zapp, then branched out into a solo career with their help and support. (In fact, Larry Troutman and Ohio Players bassist Billy Beck wrote “As We Lay,” which became Murdock’s biggest hit in 1986.)
Murdock told Essence.com she did initially have issues singing “As We Lay” because in its original version, the lovers didn’t seem to face any repercussions for their cheating ways. Murdock added the lines, “We should have counted up the cost/But instead, we got lost/In the second, in the minute, in the hour” that her version of the song was recorded with.
“The reason I had no problem singing the song once I added that line was because it reflected everyday life,” Murdock told Essence.com. “It didn’t have to be in your situation for you to understand it. Those words explained that in life, there’s a price tag, and the moral of ‘As We Lay’ is that you have to count the cost because it doesn’t just affect you, but everyone in your world.”
Murdock has been a born-again Christian since the age of 15 and actually started out as a gospel singer. She’s even been a pastor’s wife for the last 19 years.
In 2000, Murdock joined the cast of the gospel play, “Be Careful What You Pray For,” and in 2002, she released her first gospel CD, “Home,” on T.D. Jakes’ label. In 2007, Murdock released her second gospel CD, “Soulfood,” on the Tyscot label.
While she may be doing mostly gospel music, Murdock says she doesn’t want to be confined by one genre. In 2009, she appeared on Teena Marie’s album, “Congo Square,” on the song “Soldier.” And she made her second appearance in a gospel play, starring in “A Mother’s Prayer” with Robin Givens and Johnny Gill.
Check out Murdock’s latest music here.