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Taff, Russ (11th November 1953-Present)

He is a baritone singer-songwriter born in Farmersville, California to a family where he was the second youngest of five boys to a mother who loved gospel music and a father who was a Pentecostal minister.

He began his life in music by singing in the church and listening to his mother’s gospel recordings. He would also sing in harmony with his brothers.

He was living in Arkansas from the time he was a teenager, graduating from Hot Springs High School, and it was here that he started to become acquainted with popular music as well as music that fell under the Contemporary Christian umbrella.

In the 1970s he formed a band called Sounds of Joy and became a songwriter for them.  The band gained a following and given the opportunity to become the opener for the successful Christian group The Imperials.

In 1977 he was asked to become the lead singer of the The Imperials and during his years with them he appeared on the albums Christmas with the Imperials, Imperials Live and One More Song for You and the Grammy Award winning Heed the Call, Priority and Sail On.  He left the group in 1981 to concentrate on his solo career.

His career as a soloist saw him gaining even further popularity and recognition with what would become his anthem, “We Will Stand”, and other songs which he would often co-write with his wife Tori.  He has been the recipient of two further Grammy Awards for his Walls of Glass in 1983 and his Under Their Influence in 1991.  He has also been a multiple GMA/Dove Award recipient with The Imperials and as a solo artist.

In 1991 he was asked by Bill Gaither if he would perform on his new Homecoming videos.  Russ accepted and went on to appear in the Homecoming concert tours.  In 2001 he decided to join the Gaither Vocal Band and his tours and recording with them brought him further Grammy Award nominations.  He left the band in 2004 but is still heard in the Homecoming concerts and on the videos.

Throughout the course of his career he has worked on many recordings with a variety of artists and just a few of the numerous albums he features on include his own A Christmas Song, Medals, Now More Than Ever, Right Here Right Now and Way Home as well as Show Me Your Way by Glen Campbell,  Inside Job by Marshall Chapman, Homecoming Hymns by Bill & Gloria Gaither, a cappella by The Gaither Vocal Band, Lead Me On by Amy Grant, Stolen Moments by John Hiatt, Lost Album by The Imperials, Joy by Melissa Manchester, Finest Moments by Sandi Patti and Press On by Selah.

In recognition for his contribution to music he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame with the Imperials in 1998 and in 2007 became an inductee into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.

Although his career as a singer has seen him performing in many styles of music, he is most recognised for being a gospel singer and finding his main success with Christian music.  Today he still has a strong fan base and his popularity has him performing at venues all over the United States and Europe.