Jennifer Wilkerson had the privilege to chat with Chris Taylor of the popular family group The Taylors to catch up on all that’s happening with this busy family ministry. Grab a glass of sweet tea and take a peek in to their chat.
Jennifer Wilkerson: So, let’s start at the beginning. Can you give us a brief history of The Taylors and how you started singing and have gone to become one of the most sought after groups in SGM?
Chris Taylor: We’ve been traveling as a group for 10 years now. Starting out in two mini vans: one for equipment and one for singers. In the early years it was Leslie, Suzanne, Jonathan, myself, our parents and older brother Matthew (who operated the sound system) that toured mostly around our home state of North Carolina. After a few years of singing, it was clear that God was opening doors for our ministry that we could not. I’m not sure if there was a definitive moment that we became a “professional” group other than the fact that we were committed from day one to serving the Lord in music ministry, and He did the rest along he way. We give God all credit and thanks for this privilege of sharing his gospel through song.
JW: You recently went from being a quartet to a trio. Why this change and why not replace your Sister, Leslie, with another vocalist?
CT: When Leslie found out she was pregnant with her first child, Isaiah, we had a heart to heart discussion about the future of the Taylors. Since this was the first child to be born in the group, we knew priorities will shift towards raising a family. With much prayer and consideration, she and Aaron informed us that they would want to come off the road to raise a family. Completely understanding this desire, the rest of us gave our love and support her through this decision. We are grateful to have served along side her for so many years and are extremely blessed through the lives of her precious children, Isaiah and Giulianna.
The change to a trio versus another singer was also one that was prayed over and discussed for countless hours. We only wanted God’s will for our lives and ministry. It was clear to the remaining members that we all desired to continue as a trio. We knew each other better than any of us know ourselves and have developed unique relationships over the years that an outside member may not possess. Since I have never been a true bass vocalist, I didn’t mind the switch to baritone. In practice, we were surprised at the ease of which we could perform the songs and with a tighter blend than before. We didn’t want to change our dynamic by adding a different voice and face to the Taylors. With an incredible amount of support from friends and family, and the new trio project which was a much needed shot in the arm as far as confidence goes, I have no doubt that it was the right decision.
JW: Tell us about your new project Hope and Healing. Who produced it and what are some of your favorite songs?
CT: My goodness! The new project, Hope & Healing, if I may humbly state, is one of my favorite albums. It was birthed out of a season in our ministry that was extremely difficult and raw. We’ve been dealing with things in our personal and family lives that were beginning to make us question why we were going through difficulties. God showed us through this project that no matter what pain this life brings, we can find hope and healing in God. I think this project is the rainbow after the storm, so to speak. Wayne Haun produced this record and to say he did an outstanding job is an understatement. He knew some of the situations we were dealing with and helped to bring these songs that were perfect for the record and for us, individually. He’s simply the best. There’s not a song on the record that I don’t love, but a few of my must-plays are “That’s What The Cross is For” and “Worship You Again.” These songs capture the vulnerability of the state of mind and spirit we were in while in the recording process. We had reached the point to where we said, “God, even if you don’t take away our pain and hardships, we will worship you and lift up the cross”. I think these two songs in particular will touch hearts.
JW: Do the new babies travel with you guys each week?
CT: So far the babies have only been on the bus in local weekends, per Doctor’s orders. Also, I’m finding that we have to pack everything but the kitchen sink when the baby comes! My wife is staying at home with Emma for now, but Suzanne will have a full-time nanny to help watch Adaline so she can travel with us in the coming weeks and months.
JW: What can fans expect from a Taylors concert?
CT: We want above all, that a friend can enter the venue and feel welcomed and excited. It is our desire that they sense the presence of the Lord from when they walk in the door to the time they leave. We hope our songs will not only encourage and inspire but also direct our focus on God and not the world. If someone can forget about the problems they have and experience Hope and Healing then we have successfully done our job. We also give an invitation for salvation. Contrary to what some would have us do, this is a non-negotiable experience in our services. We feel it would all be in vain to do what we do and not give an opportunity to accept Christ as savior.
JW: Musically, how is your sound different going from four vocalists to three? Are you still singing your older songs?
CT: The sound is actually closer in harmony. The male lead vocal is stronger and complemented well with Suzanne and myself singing in higher ranges. We have adjusted the lead for our older songs and have made most of them work, but there are still a few songs we cannot do simply because of the arrangements and keys of songs. Fortunately, for the most part it is working out quite well without a lot of changing.
JW: What is next for The Taylors? Any special projects in the works?
CT: You’ve heard the old hymn in church, “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go”? That’s our motto. It really is up to him as to what’s next. We are committed to continuing as a trio until the Lord releases us from that calling. We have a tour coming up in Europe, and we always enjoy our time there. A new endeavor for us is a trip to Israel in December. We couldn’t be more excited about walking where Jesus walked and seeing the scripture come alive in the Holy Land.
JW: What has God been teaching you lately?
CT: God has been teaching us, and me in particular, that no matter what this world throws at you (and it throws some pretty bad stuff sometimes) that we have a choice to use it for His glory or allow it to consume and distract us from our faith in God. So often we get caught up in all the things around us like work, politics, finances, etc. How often are we looking at the problem and not the solution? God is able to do abundantly more than we can ever imagine and is not on His throne shaking in fear of our storms. Our faith in him must increase and we will see him move in our lives. Glorifying him in the trials is a major step in that process. The song “Worship You Again” tells all about that.
JW: Any funny or embarassing road stories?
CT: I have to say the time I forgot my dress shoes at home one weekend and had to borrow my dad’s shoes. Now I’m a size 10.5 and he wears size 13 shoes. Needless to say, I felt like a clown with oversize shoes and trying not to fall out of them! It must have looked awful funny to see that!
JW: How can fans get in touch with you guys?
Our website has our contact information and schedule. Just visit www.thetaylorsmusic.com