Mike Clemons: My Life in Story (Amazon Digital Services, 2014)

The funny thing about history is that every time we make a choice, we change our own history. Upon looking back, things that seemed inconsequential turn out to be turning points. This is certainly true of the life of drummer, producer and entrepreneur Mike “Big Mike” Clemons.  With the help of co-writer Braxton Cosby, Clemons narrates his own history in his book Mike Clemons: My Life in Story, in a highly engaging style that helps us understand the motivations behind this highly successful musician’s career.

As one of the most sought after drummers in pop, R&B and gospel genres, Mike Clemons could easily use his status in the music community to bolster his credibility. However, he doesn’t rely on his musical resume. Along with his wife Cheryl ‘Coko’ Clemons (member of legendary R&B group SWV), Mike has launched several ventures outside of the music field, including a clothing line, a health food store, and inspirational materials. It’s clear Clemons has something to say to musicians about living a complete life, and his passion is evident in his writing.

From the outset, Clemons and Cosby set up the scenes of Mike’s life as a unfolding drama, complete with flashbacks and imagery that help you see his perspective vividly. From his days as a young drummer trying to make a name on the church circuit with his brother, to his subsequent tours with Mary J. Blige, Usher and Aaron Hall, Clemons reveals the insecurities and inner struggles he endured even while enjoying material success. Such vulnerability is refreshing from a musician that some would think has it all together. Instead of basking in his success, Clemons takes time to show where he needed to grow as a musician, husband, father and businessman.

Not only does this book show the emotional side of the music business, it also showcases the other aspects of a healthy lifestyle in the industry – namely, physical and spiritual. Mike is candid about his long time struggle with his weight and self-image, and asserts that musicians must make healthy living a priority.  He is also honest about his spiritual growth, as he reveals mistaken ideals about faith and ethical behavior he had to correct.  It’s obvious he now stands on solid ground when he writes,  “Life’s not about us. It’s about God and what he wants to use us for.”

Mike Clemons: My Life in Story is highly recommended for artists of every style, but it’s particularly relevant to musicians that desire to transition from church ministry alone to a life on tour. Reading Clemons’ story in all of its facets can help a musician see both the potential and the problems that can surface in both worlds, and understand how faith, dedication to family and healthy choices can lead to a blessed and balanced life. We all deal with the choices we make, but as Mike’s life demonstrates, it’s never too late to rewrite your future.

For more information about his music and other projects, visit bigmikeclemons.com.

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