Raised in Northern Minnesota, Derek was a kid who grew up in hey-day of modern Contemporary Christian Music. As a youth group teen in the 90s and onto his college years in the early 2000s, he soaked up any and every "youth pastor-approved" CD he could grab. A quick playlist at the time would have included such artists and bands as Michael W. Smith, Matt Redman, Petra, Delirious and of course, DC Talk. It was those influences and many more that led him to develop a deep love for Christian music. That love, coupled with a passion for worship ministry, led Derek to pursue a degree in worship leading. This came later in life, several years after finishing school to become a pharmacist. "After working in healthcare for many years, I realized God had placed a call on my life that was to go back and be in ministry. I wrestled with it for quite some time but couldn't shake this desire which I believe was God-given." As a worship pastor, he spent 7 years on staff in a local church in South Dakota. He was blessed to be part of a thriving ministry that grew by leaps and bounds all due to God's blessing. During this time, he recorded his first full-length project titled Carry On with producer Tommee Proffitt (Capitol CMG). Carry On helped to open many doors including several concert billings and worship leading opportunities. Having been a part of line-ups featuring such artists as Casting Crowns, Newsboys, and MercyMe, Derek has come full-circle in seeing his early love for CCM and worship become more than a hobby; it is now a calling upon his life.
In the fall of 2017, after much thought and prayer, Derek and his wife Corrie and their 4 boys moved to Spring Hill, Tennessee (a suburb of Nashville). The move came after a season in which the couple believed God burdened their hearts for Nashville; certainly for the music and songwriting aspects, but ultimately sensing so much more. "We believe we are here to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that doesn't change based upon where we reside. It's easy to look at Nashville as too big, too improbable and us as not skilled enough or ready. What right do I have to be here? But in reality, the giant that is Nashville and the music industry is nothing in comparison to God and who He is. I believe He's called us here and there is a ministry that He is establishing. Stepping out of the boat in faith always looks a bit crazy. But I don't want to stay where it's safe."
Often ranging in comparison to Mac Powell (Third Day), Jeremy Camp, or Bebo Norman, Derek's vocals are soothing yet commanding all at once. In 2018, he debuted a Christmas single, his version of O Come All Ye Faithful. In 2019, he released The Jesus Dare (Dare to Believe) as an accompanying track to the book by the same name: The Jesus Dare by best selling-author Jay Payleitner. He also released his latest track, Pray, which is a synth-laden, energetic single with a message centered on Romans 8:26-27. These new songs have been the result of a collaboration with producer Jay Speight (Bottle Rockit Productions). Listeners can expect a full album to drop in 2020. "I know every artist says this, but I believe these new songs are the best work I've done and I've asked God to bring about His perfect will throughout this process. I cannot wait to release these songs and am excited about the doors God is opening."