For 12 years, Southern Gospel Music has embraced the classy style of a younger family group, the Taylors. Siblings, Jonathan, Suzanne, and Chris have shared the Gospel through concert and radio with notable songs like “He’s My Guide”, “Worship You Again”, “He Won’t Fail You”, and their ministry theme, “We Are Not Ashamed.” Recently, I had the privilege to speak with Suzanne Taylor Hise about the latest happenings with the Taylors and get a peek into what life’s like for the family group.
Andrew Stephens: The Taylors have experienced an eventful 2018 thus far. Share what’s been happening for the Taylors.
Suzanne Hise: 2018 has been full of change. We’re going into our third year as a trio, and we’re continuing to mature our sound with a different vocal configuration. We also purchased a new bus with graphics designed to advertise our ministry. The biggest news is our newest recording, ‘Faithful Again’, which we had the opportunity to record our vocals in California at Capitol Studios. We have an annual trip to Europe in Scotland and Ireland in October, a door that’s been opened for the last 5-6 years. We consider ourselves a small-town family group that started on nothing. We prayed in the beginning if God would open the door, revealing His plan. And this is further confirmation this is where the Lord wants us.
AS: Speaking of new music, the Taylors released a new album in April, Faithful Again. If I’m correct, you all recorded this differently than other albums. Maybe with a trip out West? Tell us about this experience.
SH: All three of us love to travel. By either our own bus or by plane or whatever other methods. So, we were really excited for getting to fly out to Capitol Studios to record there. Wayne Haun, our producer, had talked with us about an opportunity to record there in the past, but we’d never looked at it seriously. He mentioned the concept again, so we ran with it. The studio was built with “Echo Chambers” – built under the studio. The process is that vocals are sent down, bounce on the walls, then come back up for recording. A neat experience was recording on Frank Sinatra’s microphone he used for Capitol Studios. It blows my mind a little to think of people who’d recorded there.
The first radio single, “Anything Less,” shares how the Christian experience is God’s faithfulness and willing to give an experience that no one would want to search elsewhere. The messages are timely. Even in trials and struggles, He will lead us, and He is faithful.
AS: Working with siblings can be quite an interesting task – especially in the song selection department. How do you pick who sings what song?
SH: We seek out different songwriters who’ve written for us. I’ve contacted Sandy Blythe and other writers to listen to tracks to get the message across. Jonathon has asked other songwriters, too. Sometimes, though, we can’t decide, and we do a “flip the coin” process.
My mother taught us to sing specific parts, but we look for growth individually and never stop being humble and allowing Him to use us. We never stop allowing Him to use our music to get His message across.
AS: On a given day, what types of artists are the Taylors streaming or downloading?
SH: Currently, we have several artists we’re streaming/downloading – both Christian and secular music. We’ve all enjoyed TaRanda Beene’s newest album, The Healing. Several great songs on there from her. Also, I’ve always been a fan of the Hoppers, and I’m very excited about the new project from the Collingsworth Family, Mercy and Love. We like to listen to secular, too, with Michael Buble and John Mayer. Of course, for me, I’m a die-hard Whisnants fan for obvious reasons!
AS: The Taylors have a Homecoming event in September. Who can fans expect to experience in concert?
SH: We’re really excited about 12 years in ministry. We aim for it to be a celebration of what God has done. For the first night – the Hoppers, a family who’s always stayed true to their calling; Brian Free & Assurance – Friday; Saturday – Triumphant Quartet. Of course, the Taylors will be singing each evening. This will be lots of celebration and getting to know fans. It’s always a joy, too, to be able to interact with people who’ve been with us since we started.
AS: What are some encouraging signs you see regarding the future of Southern Gospel Music?
SH: My husband, Aaron, commented on a FB post where someone asked if Southern Gospel was dying. Our music ministers to an older, mature audience. I started counting the children & young adults who are in the audience. They may not be acting like it’s their favorite music, but it’s like preaching. The words are working like seeds being planted in the hearts of these children & young adults. That seed will be planted, and the roots will continue to grow. It’s also nice to see the people smile, and hearing them say, “I just love watching you sing.” It’s encouraging to me to see a smile on someone’s face. That keeps me excited and help me when things get weary and the journey is long.
AS: Traveling with your brothers (and, in the past, a sister, too) has been quite entertaining for you. I’m sure there are some laughable moments on the road. Share one of those memories with us.
SH: The boys just love to pick on me. When I sing, I’m in singing mode. I don’t switch to playful mode. In the middle of a song, they’ll come up behind me and pinch my arm or pull my hair. people are oblivious to them doing something. We love to play practical jokes on others, too.
AS: Take a moment and share with us what God has been teaching the Taylors recently.
SH: As a group, he has taught us endurance. I have a 2-year old. Christopher & Amanda have a 2-year old. Jonathan is getting married in October and building houses. As a group, we’ve been able to come together and make decisions. It’s also kept us close as a family. As a group, we’re more united and reaching a higher level of commitment. Not many people can say they’ve traveled with their brothers and sisters for 12 years. Our commitment to the Lord is first, family is second, and ministry is third. We’re thankful for the opportunities to share.
Check the Taylors out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or their website, www.thetaylorsmusic.com. Be sure to check out their latest release, Faithful Again, with the new single, “Anything Less.” Thank you, Suzanne Taylor Hise, for updating us on the happenings with the Taylors as well as giving us a look into your latest release.