Platinum-selling Verity Records artist Donnie McClurkin says he's retiring from the music business after he delivers the last album on his contract next year.

Platinum-selling Verity Records artist Donnie McClurkin says he's retiring from the music business after he delivers the last album on his contract next year. "I'm on my way out," McClurkin tells Billboard.com. "2006 should be the end of me, by 2007, I should be history."

He says the industry is in good hands with Kirk Franklin, CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond and others, and he never intended to be in the music business for the long haul.

"I'm done and I have to pastor the church that I'm pastoring. That's my focus now," he says of the Perfected Faith Church in Freeport, N.Y., that he founded four years ago. "I want to concentrate on building people and going further than most people think to go in church. I'm interested in people who are on the street, that are disenchanted with church and devising ways of reaching them. God's allowed me to use my notoriety so far as a platform, but now I have to learn how to expand it from here."

In the past few years, McClurkin has become one of gospel music's top selling artists. His 1997 self-titled release on Warner Alliance was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for U.S. shipments of 500,000 copies. "Live in London," issued on Verity in 200,0 spent an amazing 37 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart and has sold 1.3 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Its successor, "Donnie McClurkin ... Again" topped that chart for 10 weeks in 2003.

McClurkin says he'll never completely abandon music, as he'll continue to sing at his church. "I'm retiring from the whole industry, but not from singing," he says. "I'm retiring from the commerciality of it, but I'll still be at church singing up a storm and recording my church choir's album."

Verity is preparing McClurkin's new two-CD set, "Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs," for an April 5 release. The album was recorded last June at the Rock Church in Virginia Beach, Va.

The biography "From Darkness to Light: The Donnie McClurkin Story" was released last fall on DVD and is airing this month on BET. A performance DVD of "Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs" is due May 24.

McClurkin, who appeared as a pastor in the recent hit film "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," has been busy filming the movie "The Gospel" in Atlanta. This summer, he'll be back at it with a role in "Hopeville," a 20th Century Fox comedy co-starring Franklin.

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