Guitarist Donnie Dean, a deeply spiritual man, has seen and done it all, but throughout his impressive musical career has managed to retain the values imbued by his parents and his church.Donny was born in tiny Leesville, Louisiana in the 1950’s, in a rural farm house without running water or electricity. Donnie remembers this time of his life quite fondly, stating that his family may not have had many luxuries but they were always clean, well fed and well educated. According to Donnie, what they may have lacked in material niceties was more than compensated for by the richness of their spiritual experience and the deep love of his parents.
Donnie showed a remarkable talent for music at an early age, first picking up a guitar (with only two strings!) at the age of three, and by the time he was eight, Donnie was known as a child prodigy, touring and performing at churches and revivals throughout the south.
At the tender age of seventeen, Donnie created and recorded the signature guitar performance for Archie Bell and The Drells’ song "Tighten Up” which became the number one song in America. As a result of this success, Donnie began performing nationally with the likes of Francine Reed, Rev. James Cleveland and the Mighty Clouds of Joy. Over the next two decades, Donnie became more involved in the rock, R&B and funk genres, touring and performing with Shalimar (Jodey Watley), Sister Sledge, John Lee Hooker, Billy Osborne and many others. During this period Donnie also toured with his own band, the Explosion featuring Jimi Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell.
Over the ensuing years, Donnie’s creative instinct led him to begin producing many of the acts with whom he had been performing. Donnie wrote and produced records, television and movie scores, spending five years as a Producer with MoTown Records before relocating to Amsterdam, Holland. In Amsterdam, Donnie continued producing and developing up-and-coming acts while touring with the Donnie Dean Explosion. The Explosion toured throughout Europe, Australia and South America, ultimately becoming an R&B legend, especially in western Europe.
Donnie returned to the United States in the late 1990’s and performed at many venues nationally including frequent appearances at fund raising and charitable events.
The creative drive runs deep in Donnie and he continues to be a prolific writer and arranger as well as performer. In 2011, Donnie began collaborating with Wicked Creek Productions artists Jimmy Mack and J. D. Duncan, creating a touring show and co-producing an upcoming record.
Donnie Has appeared, toured and performed with: Little Jonnie Taylor, Archie Bell and the Drells, Shalimar, Jodey Watley, Sister Sledge, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, Mitch Mitchell, John Lee Hooker, Billy Osborne, Barry White, Undisputed Truth, Donnie Dean and the Explosion, Sam (Sam & Dave), Al Jarreau, Smokey Robinson, J. D. Duncan, Richie Havens, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Mack, Etta James, Billy Preston, Marylin Mccoo, Los Lobos, Dokken and many others.
Donnie has created for MGM Productions, Evening Star Productions, Motown Records, Far Out Productions, Peacock and Thornberg among others.
Donnie Dean is a BMI composer. “Hired Gun” with a Humble Heart