Lauren Talley is the only child of Roger and Debra Talley. Ever since she was a mere child, she has had been involved in music. Lauren grew up on the road with her parents and uncle (Kirk Talley) who formed the group The Talleys in 1984 making Lauren a year old when she hit the road. By the age of 12 Lauren knew that God's calling for her was to sing. Roger, Debra and Lauren formed The Talley Trio in 1996. It is one of the most popular trios in Southern Gospel music today. In the interim between recording albums with the Talleys, Lauren has had also made a few solo recordings of her own. "The Gospel," released on Horizon Records, is Lauren's sixth solo outing produced by the lady herself.
Q: Lauren, congratulations on the release of your solo record "The Gospel." What inspired you to do an album that centered around the Gospel?
Thanks! It's been something that the Lord has placed on my heart for some time now. I've been watching what's happening in the church culture for a while, and I frequently see instances of churches placing the truth of the gospel on the back burner in order to engage mainstream culture. Believers are more bombarded than ever with competing influences on how we should live. The world's ideas and values come in a shiny package that seems good at first glance, but these things are in direct opposition to God's Word. I wanted to bring the truth and sanctity of our core beliefs back to the forefront- this is what Christians believe, and it's worth taking a stand for.
Q: How do you normally balance between the music of the Talleys as well as your own solo efforts?
I usually incorporate some of both repertoires into the same concert, because folks will always expect to hear the Talleys' songs that they know me for. And why not- when you're blessed to have such great songs as "The Broken Ones" and "His Life For Mine," who wouldn't want to sing those every night?!
Q: I am glad to hear both covers as well as originals on the album. How were you inspired to do a rendition of Janet Pascal's "I Am Not Ashamed of the Gospel"?
"I Am Not Ashamed" was the cornerstone of this record that the concept was built around. It perfectly summed up what I wanted the record to state. My challenge was to cowrite and find new songs that complimented it. I've always hugely respected Janet and felt like it had been long enough that this song could come back. To me, it's more relevant now than ever.
Q: You have also covered the hymn "Hallelujah, What a Savior." Why this hymn?
I love this hymn for several reasons- it beautifully illustrates the core tenets of the faith and I love the way the melody ends down at the "five" at the end of the verse, rather than on the "one." (You musicians will know what that means!) Musically, it's creative. It's also not widely recorded by a lot of artists who perform hymns. Jared Meyers wrote a great chorus to bring it into the modern-day style, a la "My Chains Are Gone," and I love to hear the audience sing that and worship.
Q: You have also contributed a few new co-writes. What are you most excited about these new songs?
Writing was a totally new experience for me. My cowriters were so kind to help me bring to life some ideas I really wanted to express on this record. "Our Song Will Be Jesus" is a really special one for me- it makes the point that our own life experiences and the world around us will be chaotic, but in turmoil and even persecution, the song of the believer is nothing but Jesus- that's what we stand on, and that's how we overcome.
"I Hear A Song" is another of my favorites. I knew I wanted a rollicking uptempo to record with Gordon Mote, whom I regard as a musical genius. (And a complete nut, but that's why I like him.) During the 2016 election cycle, I had finally grown so sick of hearing all of the voices spouting off competing ideas and clamoring for our attention- I just wanted to say, "No more negativity! I'm filling up my mind with something that makes me feel good!" And that's where the song came from.
Q: I love Cindy Morgan. How did you get to co-write and sing with her?
Kenna West, one of the writers on this record, arranged for all three of us to write together. I hadn't seen Cindy in probably 25 years. My uncle Kirk Talley was instrumental in helping secure Cindy's first record deal, so we've had a connection for years. She was a big influence of mine as a young singer. As the song "Everything" unfolded that day, I just knew it would be perfect for Cindy to sing with me. I shamelessly asked, she graciously agreed, and I'm so honored.
Q: Are the Talleys currently recording a new album? If so, when do you think it will be released?
We are just beginning to look for songs for another group album. This new album of mine will be the mainline release for 2017. I'd expect new music from the Talleys around the end of this year or first quarter of 2018.
Q: Speaking of the Gospel, what does the Gospel mean to you? And how did you first come to receive Jesus?
The Gospel is the truth of Jesus Christ that confronts all of us in every area of life. It's the holy standard of God that we all must answer to- there's no getting around it. We can choose to accept what the Bible says about our sin, accept Jesus' sacrifice as atonement, repent and allow the Holy Spirit to change us, or we can reject God's authority.
I'm glad I've made Him Lord of my life. When I was 8 years old, I recognized my need for salvation and gave my life to Christ. I haven't been perfect by any means, but my desire every day is to live 100 percent surrendered to God. I'm called to share His message of the Gospel with those He places in front of me. I hope you hear His call to you in these songs.