KCK native Pastor Michael Portley Jr., and his music group, the Students of David, have signed a record deal with Dream Label Group and will release a new album in July.

Pastor Portley organized the group in 2005, and since then the Students of David have kept up with their praise. They gained prominence when they appeared on the Word Network in 2017 with Bishop George Bloomer on his show, “Rejoice in the Word.” In Dec. 2019, the gospel group released “It Still Works,” featuring Bishop Mark Tolbert.

Portley, also senior pastor of Transformation Family Life Center, comes from a singing, worshipping and praising family. He and his siblings began performing in the church at an early age. Their mother Lauretta Cofield, who started their careers, was a well-known singer and community advocate.

When asked what Gospel music meant to the ministry, Portley said, “Gospel Music is the life blood to the church, as motor oil is to the car. It’s been available to us since freedom for the African American was a mere hope. For some, Gospel music is a joy; for others such as myself, it is medication and a way of communicating my heart to God and discerning His will for me.”

Portley’s brother and sister both have respectable music careers. Preston Portley, a talented pianist and vocalist, is a regular with numerous bands in the 18th & Vine Jazz District. Sister Monica Portley is recognized as a songwriter for a school district song.

The Portley family lineage in music continues with Pastor Portley’s son, Michael Portley III. Young Portley plays drums at Transformation Church, and with his pitch-perfect ear, plays the organ as well.

Young Michael was mentioned in an article in the March 5 issue of The Community Voice for receiving a fully paid scholarship to attend Berklee University’s music camp this summer.

Pastor Portley and the Students of David are currently working in the studio to complete their album for its July release. They’ve not yet settled on an album name. Portley jokingly says, “The album title is a very indecisive decision that a songwriter has to make. It’s like asking a mother which child does she love more. So, we’re not sure on the title.”

In regard to the message they hope to send the people, “We want to impart hope in Christ with a measured approach for desired musical and production quality; and to have lyrical relevance.”

They have music available now on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and other platforms.

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