2012 Dove Awards: Russ Taff advice to young artists

Clas­sic live video of Russ Taff above. 

The 2012 Dove Awards hon­ored leg­endary Gospel singer Russ Taff, a five-time Gram­my win­ner, at the awards show last week in Atlanta, and he had some sage words of advice for young artists.

The advice I’d give to some­one start­ing out is to be your­self,” Taff said. “When I start­ed in 1976 it was wide open. Now the Chris­tian music indus­try has turned into this mam­moth busi­ness. So now peo­ple try to change you, change your look, change your sound, style. Just be your­self. That is what God has given you and what has got­ten you this far. Be your­self. Fight to be your­self.”

[media-cred­it name=“Eliza Marie Somers” align=“alignright” width=“225”]Russ Taff at 2012 Dove Awards[/media-credit]

Gospel leg­end Russ Taff chats with the media after a trib­ute to him at the 2012 Dove Awards.

In his long career Taff has faced ups and downs with the help of his friends. 

When I start­ed off I had a rough time and was won­der­ing where God was, and I was told to ‘Read the red. Read what Jesus said not what some­one has told you,’” he said. “And I fell in love with Jesus. I’m final­ly the man I’ve always want­ed to be. The hus­band I always want­ed to be …”

Taff cred­its his friend and men­tor Bill Gaither for help­ing him through the rough patch­es.

We are all deal­ing with some­thing. You have got to push for­ward. We are at war. We are fight­ing for the souls of men. Bill Gaither has helped me so much. He said you got to keep going. And now I want to help oth­ers. If some­one is shot with an arrow I want to go to them and help them keep on fight­ing.”

Jason Crabb, Don­nie McClurk­in and Wess Mor­gan paid trib­ute to Taff at the Doves singing “Ain’t No Grave,” “Praise the Lord,” and “Take My Hand.” When Taff, who teared up while in the audi­ence dur­ing the trib­ute, went on stage, Mor­gan urged him to sing, and he belt­ed out a heart-felt “We Will Stand.”

After the song Taff said: “I wouldn’t be stand­ing here if it wasn’t for the per­son who I’ve fal­l­en mad­ly in love with over the­se last few years. I fell in love with Jesus Christ.

Taff’s short speech was a per­fect end­ing to the trib­ute:

The group that sings Sun­day morn­ings at local church­es is just as impor­tant as the group that’s pack­ing music halls on Sat­ur­day nights. Be kind to one anoth­er. Love one anoth­er. Care for one anoth­er. I’m so proud. I’m so proud to be a Gospel singer and to sing about the one who makes all things new.” 

Below are videos of Russ and a link to the per­form­ers who paid trib­ute to Russ at the Doves.

Here’s a link of what the per­form­ers said after their trib­ute to Russ. 

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