“Music, Family, Life”
By Jennifer Campbell
(published December 2012 SGNScoops Magazine)
Sitting on a piano bench at the young age of three years old, Gordon Mote began a journey that has literally taken him across the country and around the world. For even as a young boy, God began preparing Gordon for a journey far greater than he ever imagined possible. Now, he travels more than 150 dates per year and works on recording sessions for a wide array of Gospel and Country artists each week. He has become one of the most sought-after recording studio session players in Nashville, receiving the Academy of Country Music Award for Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year in 2009 and 2011. But through it all, Gordon keeps his eyes on the One who made it all possible: God. He gives God the glory for his music, his family, and his life.
“I’m sure it was a big influence in me even knowing [Gospel] music because I’m sure Mama and Daddy didn’t listen to a whole lot of other at that time,” Gordon said. “But I remember playing [piano] in church. My first memories of playing piano were mostly gospel songs. As I grew up, as a kid, I’d listen to all kinds of radio and I’d play anything I heard, if it was a television commercial, or a country song, or a pop song, or a gospel song. But we grew up listening to Southern Gospel and as I got older, contemporary music.”
While Gordon has ventured into several genres of music throughout his career, there is still a special place in his heart for the music that started it all. The timeless melodies and old familiar lyrics of the Gospel classics hold fond memories for Gordon.
“We had a radio station in our hometown, WGAD, in Gadsden,” Gordon stated, “and they had a Sunday morning program called Songs of Inspiration. That’s where we heard so many of the songs that my brother and I learned to sing. That’s why the “Songs I Grew Up Singing” record I have out now is so important to me because it brings back a lot of great memories and it just proves that great lyrics and great songs can stand the test of time. You put a new face on it and it’s like it’s brand new again.”
Gordon credits Bill Gaither for giving him the platform on which to begin his ministry. He said his six years traveling with the Gaither Homecoming tour was a memorable journey, one that he cherishes to this day. He still joins the tour on select dates whenever his schedule allows.
Speaking of the Gaither Homecoming Friends, Gordon said the best part of being at a taping for the Homecoming Video series is what people do not see on the videos. He says that the Homecoming Friends are like a big family. They share stories, tell jokes, and even argue a little bit. But at the end of the day, they care for each other and love each other like one big happy family.
Gordon is part of the younger generation of Gospel Music artists, so I asked him what it was like to follow in the footsteps of so many of the Gospel Music legends. His response was that it is “weird.” He said people always come up to him at concerts, complimenting him and his ministry. And he said they say things about him like he would say of many of the legends. He humbly said that it seems odd at times that people will pay for a ticket just to come see him. But he said he enjoys talking to people and meeting new people, which is why he said his autograph line usually moves a bit slower than others nearby. Surely, this is a trait of someone who truly loves what they do and appreciates the people who come to hear him perform.
In addition to being a pianist, producer, songwriter, and serving in other facets of the music industry, Gordon is first and foremost a husband and father. He says, “Being a husband and father means everything to me.” He and his wife Kimberly have been married 20 years now, and they have three children, Samantha, Parker, and Ashton. He says that he loves his wife more today than the day they were married. He says that Parker is his little athlete, while Samantha sings, plays the piano, and is a budding artist, and Ashton is his funny child, although Samantha can be a bit funny at times as well. He said Ashton will definitely be an entertainer when he grows up. Gordon said that he loves just being home and spending time with his family.
During the interview, I asked Gordon what he hoped his children would teach their children one day. He said they plan to spend Thanksgiving with their family, and he hopes they will want to come home to their house like he enjoys going to their parents’ homes. Above all, he hopes that his children will tell their children about Jesus.
Gordon is definitely a family man. When you speak to him, you can tell he beams with pride when he is talking about his family. He said, “The single greatest moment of my life was marrying my wife, as well as the day I got saved and the birth of my three children.”
In life, we all face our share of challenges. But Gordon has had to face a daily challenge in his life since the day he was born: blindness. He said this has been the biggest challenge he has ever had to face. He said in school, there weren’t always books on tape available, or braille books, so he had to make do with what materials were available. He said he was mainstreamed into public school when he was in third grade. He went on to graduate from high school with honors, and then he received a full scholarship to Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL. Three years later, Gordon transferred to Belmont University in Nashville, TN. He graduated Cum Laude with a degree in music.
By the musical success he has garnered, it is evident that this music degree has definitely been worthwhile. Gordon has worked with renowned artists in Gospel Music and Country music as well, including Bill Gaither, Rascal Flatts, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Lee Greenwood. He was also named the Anthony Burger Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2012 Diamond Awards Show. He says, “I’m honored to receive this award, and I thank SGN Scoops for everything y’all are doing.”
I asked Gordon what advice he would give to a young artist just starting out. He said that he would tell them to start by perfecting their craft, singing in their local area, and seeing where God leads. He said God may open a door for them to branch out, or He may have something for them to do right in their local area.
Gordon said in ten years, he hope to either be continuing to travel on the road if the Lord allows or staying close to home with his family. Either way, I know that Gordon will be following the road paved by God and God alone.
He said if he could talk to God face to face, he would probably not say anything. He said he would likely be rendered speechless, unable to speak, in awe of God’s awesome presence.
Even with his blindness and the other challenges he has encountered in life, Gordon says that he could sum up his life with one song: “Through It All.” Through it all, he has learned to trust in Jesus. Through it all, he has learned to depend upon His word.
Gordon is excited about his new Christmas project titled “The Star Still Shines.” This project combines Southern Gospel, inspirational, and country styles with a healthy mix of new and traditional Christmas songs and carols, including Michael W. Smith’s “Emmanuel” and Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Christmas Is All in the Heart. Visit www.gordonmote.com to order your copy today!
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