By Justin Gilmore
It is quite clear that Jesus is living in the hearts of these four talented siblings. The Taylors are an award winning mixed quartet hailing from North Carolina, made up of group members Jonathan, Chris, Suzanne and Leslie. True to the call, the Taylors, formed in 2006, continue to release quality recordings featuring their signature four-part family harmonies and the powerful message of Jesus Christ.
From humble beginnings in the heart of North Carolina, this family group has stayed true to their roots and training in classic Southern Gospel singing. Suzanne said this about the group’s early days: “We were not raised on Southern Gospel music; however, a group came to our church in 2005 and told us about the Steve Hurst School of Music in Nashville, TN. In 2006, we started singing some old Gospel songs in our church and some other local churches. We went to the School soon after that and met a lot of great people. Through dedication and the Lord opening a lot of doors, we were blessed to start singing Gospel music.”
Suzanne went on to say: “We started singing together in 2006. We competed in some state singings and opened up for a couple of country shows in nearby towns. Our first out of state concert was in South Carolina and we took our parents minivan. Later on, as dates picked up and we started singing more, we found a 15-passenger van that fit our needs. In 2008, we competed in the talent search at NQC. We were honored to win and sing on the Main Stage that year.”
The group has received even greater national attention in recent years due to signing with Ernie Haase’s Stow Town Records in 2014. Suzanne, speaking on behalf of the quartet, says the people at Stow Town, “have been so kind to us and really make us feel a part of the Stow Town family.” The group’s label debut release Measure of Grace (2014) showcases their powerhouse vocals and their ability to beautifully deliver the message. This landmark recording features songs including: “Heaven Is Ready (And Waiting For Me),” “I’m Committed To You Lord,” “Measure Of Grace,” and more.
This project is a great balance of traditional and progressive style Gospel. Suzanne said, “We released “Measure of Grace” last summer. We recorded the CD with Wayne Haun. He is an incredible producer and we loved working with him. This is our first project with a majority of original songs. We had wanted to do a CD like this for a long time, so the songs on this album are meant to be an encouragement. All of the songs talk about what Heaven is going to be like, but they also talk about the mercy God gave each of us as sinners and what it means to be saved by Him.”
This group is a great representation of the future of Southern Gospel Music in that they bring a fresh youthful energy to these classic songs. When asked about the group dynamics, Suzanne said the following: “The Taylors are a brother-sister quartet. Jonathan is the oldest brother and manages the group. Christopher and I are in the middle, and we are twins. Leslie is the youngest member of the group.”
Jonathan, the eldest of the siblings in the group, sings lead and brings a powerful yet tender vocal to the mix. Chris Taylor, twin brother of Suzanne, sings the bass part. Though he does not rattle the subwoofers, he provides the anchor for the quartet’s great harmonies and blends well with his siblings. Suzanne Taylor Hise lends her beautiful alto to the group adding another part to the family harmony. Leslie Taylor Perkins adds her soaring soprano vocals to round out the group. She took a brief leave from the group in 2012 during which Lindsey Graham filled the soprano position, but returned the following year. Perkins welcomed a son Isaiah last year with husband and occasional bass vocalist with the group, Aaron Perkins. Aaron has performed with the group on select dates, since his marriage to Leslie, lending his rich bass voice to the stellar mixed quartet.
The Taylors have been nominated and won numerous awards including: First Place Family Group, NC Singing Convention, and First Place Mixed Quartet, NC Singing Convention in 2007, Grand Champions at the NC Singing Convention, and Talent Showcase Champions at the National Quartet Convention in 2008. In addition, the group has been nominated for Horizon Group of the Year in the Singing News in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Most recently, The Taylors won Favorite New Mixed Group at the Singing News Fan Awards.
This young quartet has had many amazing experiences in their years of singing Gospel music. They have participated in many missions trips, performed on several television programs, and toured all over the world. When asked about which was the most memorable Hise said, “The most memorable moment of our years in gospel music is when we were singing in Alabama one night. The stage we were singing on had hard wood floors instead of carpet. We all started to walk down the steps to greet the crowd and Leslie’s feet slipped right out from under her. Half of the audience gasped and half of the audience laughed. It was quite a moment.” It is crazy moments like this that make it exciting for the group.
It is now 2015 and this incredible ministry driven family shows no signs of slowing down. The future is bright for these four as they plan to record a new DVD and CD soon and will continue to perform to crowds all over the country. Hise says, “Our mission statement is that we want the world to see Jesus lives in us. That is why our mom wrote our song, “I Want The World To See, Jesus Lives In Me”. We hope that through our ministry, people’s lives would be changed and that they would leave our concerts encouraged and uplifted. Jesus is our Savior and we want everyone to know him as his or her personal Savior. We would hope that everyone reading this knows Jesus as their Savior, but if they don’t here’s how they can pray a short but sincere prayer like this, “Dear Jesus, please forgive me for my sins. Thank you for loving me and dying on the cross to pay for my sins. Lord, I ask that you come into my heart and save me. Amen”.”
I want the world to see Jesus lives in me! What a great statement! As I said before, Jesus lives in the hearts of the Taylor siblings without a doubt!
For more on the Taylors visit their website.
By Justin Gilmore
First published by SGN Scoops in May 2015.
For current issues visit the SGN Scoops mainpage.