What do you get when you cross eight siblings, twelve instruments, eight voices, original music, and family harmony? You get Citizens of Glory! — a family group from Nashville Tennessee who started off on their musical journey in 2008, and they just keep going and just keep getting better. The Shaw family has gone through many transitions and many exciting times, and it is so amazing to hear their testimony of how God has worked in their lives. Twenty-one-year-old Macy Shaw, the second oldest sister, says of the beginning of their musical journey, “To say we had no idea what we were doing would be an understatement! We look back at those years and just say, ‘Wow, it was all the Lord!’ He definitely guided so much because it was all so new to us! We worked so hard for it though.”
It is quite clear that this family was called to share a message in song. Macy says of her surety concerning musical involvement, “Ever since I can remember I have wanted to sing and perform! I have always just LOVED music!” But this can be expected considering how young they began learning music. Macy remembers, “Our parents started us off on violin at the age of 4 years old! Our mom would take us to nursing homes to sing as well. I was three when I started singing in public and LOVED it! I can never imagine a time where I wouldn’t dream of singing, touring, recording albums and all of that. As the family grew, so did the musical instruments! Our mom prayed about the possibility of a band, but growing up, it was always just us singing at nursing homes and for the relatives during the holidays.”
But, quite a bit has changed since those beginning years. God has taken their ministry, grown them, and used them to impact so many people. It is always amazing to see how God leads. For Citizens of Glory, He led them from Oakhurst, California to Nashville, Tennessee and into an exciting life of musical ministry.
I am so glad I got the opportunity to chat with Macy Shaw and learn some amazing things about Citizens of Glory, like how they got their name, how they got inspired to start their group, and how they pulled through some very memorable concert incidents.
Stacy Compagner: Tell us about the origination of Citizens of Glory.
Macy Shaw: Our first official “concert” as a band was on Christmas Eve 2009. A 5 star resort in our small town of Oakhurst, CA asked us to provide music for their sold out dinner that night. It was all a capella only and it went well! After that, we started focusing more and more on those Christmas concerts, and every year we always did at least one Christmas performance somewhere in town with instruments and vocals.
We then were exposed to other family bands and would go watch their concerts. We always came away so inspired, “we could do this guys!” We’d watch their videos and attend their shows and take away ideas for how to incorporate some of that into our own shows. And by 2016 we called ourselves “Shaw Family Band,” and we practiced and rehearsed and even wrote songs and went to the studio to cut our first album, “Everybody Sing Joy,” which was of course….a Christmas album!
We then turned our attention to touring. We headed out on the road for our first full cross country tour in 2017. Some days we would book in the morning, film music videos in the afternoon, and rehearse in the evenings. It was just a rush of “let’s do what we need to do to make this work!” We still viewed it as a fun thing to do though and had no idea what the direction looked like for the band. We only were really touring during the summer with a few dates here and there the rest of the year. By February of 2018, we really came to a crossroads with our band where we knew we needed to be all in or find something else to do with our time. We really had a good week where we really just sought the Lord for the direction He was leading us in. We all felt a peace about, “Yes, this is what we are meant to do as a family.” And it was then that we knew if we were going to do this long term, we really needed it to be ministry based and not about us at all. I was reading through Philippians that week and this verse in chapter 3 just really stuck out to me, “For our citizenship is in Heaven and from it we await our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ,” and I was just like, “Yes! This is our band name! Citizens of…..Heaven?” I texted my sister Holly and she was like, “Citizens of Glory! That’s the band name!” Our whole family was on board with the name change and the new direction and ministry for our band! We really wanted the focus to be on Christ and the Gospel more than us.
When we headed out again on tour in the Summer of 2018, we all just had this renewed vision and passion for our band and mission with it as well! We just got confirmation after confirmation, and our time in Nashville during that tour was also amazing and really got our minds thinking about, “this may be a place we need to relocate to!” When we got back to California, we really began to pray about moving to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue our music further! We all felt God leading us in that direction, and in June of 2019, we basically sold all that we had. In August of 2019, after we finished our tour, we relocated to Nashville! And now we are here and settled in and working hard on our music and excited for what God has for us next!
SC: What is your favorite thing about traveling and sharing your music.
MS: Hands down it’s getting to meet all the people that we have! Another big thing is when we do a song (especially if it’s an original) and you see or hear afterwards how much it touched them, encouraged them, or brought them closer to God, or inspired them. There is just no replacement for that. And just performing in general! I LOVE to perform and sing and prepare an incredible, high quality show for our audiences, and when they love it, it’s just an amazing feeling!
SC: Have there been any big changes/hardships you have gone through in your life? If so, what has God taught you through them?
MS: This 2019 tour and move that happened simultaneously this summer was very difficult. We were homeless for about 3-4 weeks once we arrived in Nashville, where we couldn’t find a house…It was TOUGH. All we had was what we brought with us and the RV with the trailer in tow. I just remember thinking, “God, I know you brought us out here for a reason!” Haha…it was a few tough weeks there for sure! I saw God’s hands through it all, and the fact that we got a house we were able to rent from another Christian homeschooling family in Franklin is incredible. And it was just a God story, and everything that we have now is just so much sweeter because of that!
SC: What roles do you play in your family’s music ministry?
MS: I do the majority of the booking, scheduling practice times, writing choreography, general managing, wardrobe. I play acoustic and electric guitar, violin, and sing. I also help in the wiring of sings as well!
SC: Tell us about what you do outside of music.
MS: I teach guitar and violin lessons! I also have an online business through Plexus Worldwide where I get to help others find community and health for themselves! I also love staying active, working out, reading, and I manage an online insta page called “Bee Your Best Now” where I encourage others to be the very best they can be in their mind, body and soul. I am wanting to take that to another level as well that I’m working towards! I also volunteer at our Church’s special needs ministry!
SC: Tell us about an embarrassing/funny/or memorable concert experience.
MS: There’s quite a few gaffs we’ve had for sure! From wardrobe malfunctions to complete sound system failures! I think the biggest one though was on Christmas tour 2018. It was the first night of tour, and everything was going great and we were all feeling really great about it! We got to our a cappella song in our set, and I happened to give it way more of a grand intro: “This song we are going to give you everything we got! We love family harmony, and this one we put a ton of time into arranging…” and so forth. Justus gave us the chord from the piano, and something just didn’t seem right…we started the song and got about half way through the first verse when Holly stopped the song and creatively told the audience it wasn’t right and told Justus to give us the correct chord again! So Justus did, and still it was the same thing. So we just powered through and didn’t even do the last key change! It was later that we realized Justus had the keyboard transposed up from the previous song FOUR times! Yikes!! Haha, we laugh through it!
Another time we were in Oregon at a fair we were doing in 2017, and we were singing the well known hymn, “Come Thou Fount”…. except Justus, Holly, and I all kept singing a different line each time we started the verse, and it came out a jumbled mess. We didn’t know which one was correct, so we kept going to the other person’s verse, which made it worse because we all just kept switching verses! It was hilarious afterwards! Haha!
SC: What are some music groups that have inspired you over the years?
MS: When we first started out we were really inspired by the Josties and Voetberg Family Band, and then recently the Haygoods and Annie Moses Band have also really inspired us a lot in our family music! Personally, I have taken a lot from Carrie Underwood’s vocal range and abilities and qualities!
SC: Tell us something unique about yourself.
MS: I absolutely LOVE puns and love making them up constantly!
SC: Tell us about your dream vacation.
MS: I would LOVE to go to Israel one day! To be able to walk where Jesus walked is unbelievable…
SC: What are three everyday things you could never live without?
MS: (Besides the Bible of course) My notebook, water bottle and phone.
SC: Describe yourself in three words
MS: Passionate. Outgoing. Funny.
SC: If you could give one piece of advice to the “next generation,” what would it be?
MS: Personal development is JUST as important as musical development! It’s not enough these days to just be a “good violin player.” You have to be a good communicator, genuinely serve and love others, work hard, have a good mindset, and most of all a STRONG relationship with God. THAT is what will sustain you more than being a good singer.