Singing a Life of Love
Singing a Life of LoveGileah Taylor is inspired by faith, family and loveby Ann McQueen Gileah Taylor has written and recorded 10 new songs that make up her new double album, “What Kind of Fool/A Crooked Line.” Her growing family and home in Destin serve as primary muses for her melodic, reflective lyrics. Photos by HBB Photography
Holding hands with her husband, Chris, Gileah Taylor awaited their turn to take the microphone. The couple was performing for friends at a house party. As they began to sing, Gileah at the piano and Chris with his guitar, the audience fell silent, captivated by their love song. The melody was simple, like a hymn, and the lyrics romantic. The energy was potent.
Their song exemplifies singer/songwriter Gileah Taylor’s journey of faith, family and music.
She was born in Fort Walton Beach into a family strongly tied to music. Her father, Bill Cain, a preacher at Sovereign Grace Church of Valparaiso and teacher at Rocky Bayou Christian School, was a songwriter and musician. It’s no wonder that as a child, she wrote Christian-themed songs to the simple chords of a hymn.
As a teenager, the whirlwind of adolescence gripped her — notions of romance, rebellion and spiritual questions. She fell in love with classic literature.
“Louisa May Alcott, Flannery O’Connor, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy. I read all of it. I’d steal a feeling I was reading about and write a song,” she said.
She began listening to bands like 10,000 Maniacs, The Cranberries and The Innocence Mission. She formed her own band. In 2000, she recorded her first CD, “Songs for Late at Night.”
After she married in 2003, she continued to pursue her music independently, though she and her husband remained closely involved in each other’s art. In 2005, he produced her album “The Golden Planes.”
Her musical journey began to change course in February 2006 upon the arrival of her first child, Clara.
“When you have kids, everything changes. I realized this is the kind of love God has for me, and I put all of me into His hands,” she said.
The experience fills the songs on her next record “Gileah and The Ghost Train,” released in 2007. It culminates with the tenth track, titled “The Spirit,” which Taylor calls her “conversion song.” Lyrically, the CD reflects her journey in sanctification, while stylistically it remains youthful and contemporary but hymn-like, with clear alternative influences.
In the years that followed, she continued to write songs from her perspective as homemaker/artist. They appear on two EPs, “What Kind of Fool” and “A Crooked Line,” released in 2010. However, her musical aspirations had changed shape.
Her husband had been signed to a Christian sub-label of EMI Records and left for a concert tour in 2008. Shortly thereafter, Taylor learned she was pregnant with their second daughter. When Mercie, arrived early, he returned permanently.
“We learned that our family is our priority. We don’t ever want to be apart,” Gileah Taylor said.
Photos by HBB Photography
Today, when her husband isn’t working at his family’s business, Ocean Reef Resorts, and Taylor isn’t busy home schooling Clara and Mercie, they write songs together. While the resulting sound remains true to Taylor’s signature style, it takes on a wholeness unique to a heaven-sent romance.
“Marriage and having kids takes you out of yourself. That’s what I like about it,” she said.
Their third child is due in September. Though her appearance with her husband at her friends’ party in May was the last for a while, it was a family tradition.
“I always perform when I’m pregnant. It’s something I like to say we did together. Who knows? Maybe we’ll start a family band,” she said.
All my life I’ve been looking for the truth
Sang the sweet old hymns but still a skeptic in the pew
Then you called my name from beyond time
I gave to you all that was mine
And the spirit came down like a dove
on the Album
The Ghost Train,” by Gileah Taylor. Her music is available at Central Square Records in Seaside and on iTunes. Updates and future shows will be posted on gileahtaylor.net and gileah.com.