Derek Charles Johnson is a singer/songwriter and church worship leader residing in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Although a life-long musician and music-lover, Derek’s path into a music career has been anything but typical. “Upon graduating high school, I found myself going straight into college to pursue what I thought would be a life-long occupation. But along the way, God started to burden my heart for something completely different. I came to accept that God had other plans!” Derek finished 6 years of studies at North Dakota State University in Fargo with a degree in pharmacy. After several years of being a pharmacist, he began to feel a tug to go back to school for something different. “It weighed heavily on my heart to do something within the ministry…several men and women in my family had attended Bible college and were working in the church in some capacity. I felt like God was calling me in that direction as well. I also had a huge interest in music, so I wanted to do something that involved worship.”
Derek and his family moved to attend Bible school in Ellendale, North Dakota, home of Trinity Bible College. This move proved to be the start of a new path which he now clearly felt. “Looking back, I can see that God laid out all of the steps necessary to bring my family and I into ministry. My wife and I both are active in leadership at our church and none of that would’ve been possible without God’s call.” Derek has been a worship leader at New Life Fellowship, his home church in Aberdeen since 2011.
The debut album for Derek Charles Johnson entitled “Carry On,” in many ways came about during his time of transition into ministry. “I felt like I was making this 180 degree turn in my life and God was giving me these songs along the way to encourage me and help me trust in Him. It was a totally new path and one that could often feel lonely and difficult. I figured if these songs had some meaning for my journey, they might be encouraging for others as well.” Ten songs in all, Carry On takes the listener on a musical landscape and encourages worship throughout. From the album’s upbeat opener “Makes Me Wanna Sing,” to the hard-charging “Carry On” and finally to the closing ballad, “Take Me Away,” the tracks are an encouragement to those in the Christian faith. “When I started picking songs for this release, there were 10 or so that just seemed to ‘fit’ and made sense somehow. I know there was a reason for that beyond just randomly piecing an album together with songs I’ve written over the years. These songs have a lot of meaning for me and through the grace of God I’ve been given the opportunity to share them with a larger audience.”
Derek’s personal favorites from the album? “It’s hard to choose because they’ve all been through the process of just being an idea and then growing into a full-fledged song. I have to thank my producer, Tommee Profitt, for bringing these songs to life and transforming them. But some of my personal favorites are Carry On, King of Glory, and You Are Good.”