Derek Clark, of Tracy, has been featured on several television shows, including HLN’s “Jane Velez-Mitchell,” “The Ricki Lake Show” and, two weeks ago, “The Steve Harvey Show.”
“The video was a spur-of-the-moment thing with me rapping to my sons on the way to tennis practice,” Clark said. “My 12-year-old son, Monte, started filming me with my phone. I put it on Facebook and it hit about 10,000 views in just a couple months.”
Clark began rapping as a creative outlet during 13 years in foster care.
“Rapping was a way to get out my bitterness,” Clark said. “I would have rap battles and be able to express myself, rather than fighting.”
Clark started on his climb to fame in 2006 when he wrote the song “Goodnight Soldier” as a tribute to the military and a show of support for U.S. troops. He performed the song for then-President George W. Bush when the president visited Stockton in 2006.
His wife, Joy Clark, said the song had her in tears when she first heard it.
“This is who Derek is,” she said. “The kids love being around their musical dad. Our son Monte has shown interest in playing the guitar and might even follow in his dad’s footsteps.”
The Clarks have four children from 4 to 12 years old.
“Goodnight Soldier” opened several doors for Clark and gave him the opportunity to write his first book, “I Will Never Give Up.” Since then, he has written five other books.
Based on the response to that first book, Clark has been invited to speak for private companies, nonprofits and government entities. Last year, he traveled 180,000 miles for speaking engagements in the United States and abroad.
Clark’s message to people is about refusing to accept limits and not letting the past infect the present or future. He teaches the value of connecting with people and learning to forgive and move on.
Clark said he has heard from people all over the world, some of whose words have brought tears to his eyes.
“When I read these messages, they make me appreciate the footsteps I took in life,” he said.
To reach Derek Clark, visit www.iwillnevergiveup.com.