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Paris, Twila

Twila Paris

Singer, songwriter

Comes from Religious Family

Hit Career High with Souther

Hot Name at the Dove Awards

Hit Childrens Album

Selected discography

Selected writings

Sources

Often compared to famed songwriter Fanny Crosby for her musical homage to God, Twila Paris is among modern inspirational musics most prolific singer-songwriters, according to Thorn Granger in the All Music Guide. She has frequently been referred to as the modern-day hymn-writer and has written and recorded many charting singles in Christian music since the early 1980s, including more than 30 number-one hits. Her songs are gentle prayers put to music, with an up-tempo soft rock sound that closes the gap between traditional and contemporary inspirational music.

Virtually every Paris song focuses on relationships of a spiritual nature rather than earthly intimacy between two people. While not overly powerful, her voice has an ethereal quality that is well-suited to her choice of musical genre. In discussing Pariss Sanctuary album in 1992, Robert L. Doerschuk wrote in Keyboard that Paris has a beautiful vocal timbre, which compensates for an apparently limited range.

Many Paris recordings have enjoyed long stays on the Christian music charts, and their success has made her a perennial nominee for the annual Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards. A number of her compositions are printed in hymnals used in churches around the world, among them We Will Glorify, Lamb of God, How Beautiful, and Faithful Men.

Comes from Religious Family

Devotion to God runs deep in the Paris family, with a dedication to ministry going back four generations. Her great-grandparents were itinerant preachers in Arkansas and Oklahoma who held outdoor revival meetings and established churches. Paris recounted this experience in Seventy Years Ago, a song on her Beyond a Dream album. Musical talent also runs in the Paris family. When Twila Paris was a little girl, her grandmother wrote religious songs that were passed out at evangelical meetings. And her father, Oren Paris, is a minister as well as an accomplished musician and songwriter.

Paris sang at church before she was old enough to attend school. She began developing her instrumental talent at the age of six, when she started taking piano lessons. By the time she was performing in her high school choir, Paris was determined to become a choral teacher. She began to consider songwriting after at-tending a Christian discipleship school, where she decided that music would be a perfect way to express her feelings about God. Paris spent two years working full-time with Youth with a Mission (YWAM), a project directed by her father and founded by her uncle, Loren Cunningham. I began to realize how much hollowness and self-righteousness there had been in my Christianity, growing up as a preachers kid, she said in the Wall Street Journal. It was like God was doing major surgery on my heart. With all that happening so fast, I needed an outlet. As a musician, I very naturally began to write songs.

Musical success was not instant for Paris. She needed to take out a bank loan to pay for her first recording; it took four years of selling cassettes to pay it off. Before long, however, her message had begun to break through. Starting in 1984, she received a string of nominations for the Gospel Music Associations Female Vocalist of the Yeara hefty nine nominations in all. Her first album, Knowin Youre Around, was released in 1981 on Milk & Honey Records, and from that point on she averaged about an album a year into the mid-1990s. Every one of her songs celebrates love of God, and her continuing dedication to Christian missions led her to write the theme song Carry the Light for Target 2000: The Great Commission Torch Run in 1989. Paris has also performed a number of times with the Young Messiah Tour.

After a string of triumphs in the 1980s, a high point for Paris came in 1990 with the release of Cry for the Desert. Her first album produced by Brown Bannister, this release on the Star Song label helped to spark new development in her musical creativity. As she told Bill-board in 1992, Things changed with Cry for the Desert. My own musicality was involuntarily awakened. For the first time, I was on the road a lot when Id usually write. I began to write more than ever, but it was away from the piano. I began writing things I never would have written at the piano because Ive been afraid to use the full range of my imagination at the pianomostly because Im such a limited pianist!

For the Record

Born in 1958; daughter of Oren (a minister, musician, and songwriter) Paris; married Jack Wright; children: Jack Paris (J.P.) Wright.

Began singing in church choir as a preschooler; spent a year at a Christian discipleship school; served two years as staff member with Youth with a Mission (YWAM); recorded first album, Knowin Youre Around, 1981; wrote Carry the Light, theme song for world evangelism project Target 2000: The Great Commission Torch Run, 1989; worked with producers Brown Bannister and Richard Souther, 1990s; began serving as spokesperson for the Parable Group stores, 1993; joined Young Messiah Tour, 1993; began work on the Chapel of the Air radio program, 1994; performed at the White House, 1994; released Beyond a Dream, 1994; signed to Sparrow Records; released Where I Stand, 1996, Perennial, 1998, True North, 1999, Bedtime Prayers, 2001, and Greatest Hits: Time and Again, 2001.

Awards: Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Award, Praise & Worship Album of the Year for Sanctuary, 1992; Dove Award, Female Vocalist of the Year, 1993-95; Dove Award, Song of the Year for God is in Control, 1995; Dove Award, Best Childrens Album for Bedtime Prayers, 2002.

Addresses: Record company Sparrow Records, P.O. Box 5010, 101 Winners Circle, Brentwood, TN 37024. Management Proper Management, P.O. Box 150867, Nashville, TN 37215, phone: (615) 460-9190, fax: (615) 460-9192. Website Twila Paris Official Website: http://www.twilaparis.com.

Hit Career High with Souther

In the early 1990s, Star Songs Darnell Harris introduced Paris to musician-producer Richard Souther at Pariss Arkansas home. The meeting led Souther to produce, arrange, and play on Pariss 1991 album Sanctuary, which many critics considered her best to date. In Billboard, Bob Darden called the album one of 1991s best, adding, It is a brilliant, haunting piece of work. Critics made note of Southers important New Age influence. Granger wrote in the All Music Guide that the album set new musical standards in the inspirational field for arrangement and production ideas. And Doerschuk asserted in Keyboard, Throughout Sanctuary, Southers wispy fills, beautifully designed and unerringly placed, never fail to shine. Paris herself praised Southers contribution to the work. It is difficult to say enough about Richards arrangements and production, she told Billboard. [Sanctuary ] is more accurately called a collaboration between us than a solo project of my own.

Pariss goal in recording Sanctuary was to create a worship album for people who like Cry for the Desert As she explained in Billboard, I thought, What have I done for people who want to be in a contemplative frame of mind? Sanctuary is for them, whether theyre listening in their car on a country road or listening while they read their Bible. At the same time, we wanted it to be something artistically that could inspire and challenge people who like contemporary music or cutting-edge music.

Hot Name at the Dove Awards

After years of extensive touring and album production, Paris retreated from performing and recording during the first half of 1992 so that she could spend more time with her husband, Jack Wright. That year she was nominated for seven Dove Awards, and her Sanctuary album became the top-selling album of her career to that date. She won the coveted Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year in both 1993 and 1994. Paris helped spread the gospel even more by joining up with the Chapel of the Air radio program in 1994. The program featured her songs in 70 nationwide conferences, as well as in videos and printed materials meant to enrich the worship experience through music.

In 1994 Paris also performed at the White House with Michael English, Steve Green, Carman, Daryl Coley, and other Gospel Music Association performers. That same year she released Beyond a Dream, which continued her trend toward modernization. Paris spun a few heads with this one, featuring her most contemporary material to date, and a bit of a new and more confident vocal approach to match it, wrote Granger of the album in the All Music Guide. This album is very current, said Paris of Beyond a Dream in a Sparrow Communications press release. It talks about how to face whats going on in the world, not from the point of me being some Sort of an authority, but from the struggles that Im going through and writing as I go through them. It was also the biggest stretch for me so far, artistically. Many of the albums songs assure Christians of their security in a world of confusion, emphasize Gods mercy, and address other religious themes. Other songs pay homage to Pariss spiritual, ethnic, and geographic roots.

Paris has appeared on numerous magazine covers and television programs showcasing her talents as a performer of Christian music. By 1995 she was continuing to chart on the Contemporary Christian top 40, never wavering from her musical praise of the Lord. We sing about the Atonement, but it cost the Lord something to give us that, she said in the press release. We can have fun with the music; thats okay. But on another level, that respect should always be thereconcern for the message, and concern for those to whom we would deliver the message. Paris won two Dove Awards in 1995, for Female Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year for God is in Control.

Paris released Where I Stand in 1996, and the successful album became her best-selling record. After taking 1997 off, she released Perennial: Songs for the Seasons of Life. The album was a spiritual follow-up to her 1991 release, Sanctuary. Continuing her prolific output, she released True North in 1999. Around this time, Pariss husband was diagnosed with Hepatitis C, a disease he had been living with undiagnosed for nearly a decade. This cast a shadow over their desire for children, and they attempted to deal with his disease before making future plans.

Hit Childrens Album

In early 2000, with the help of a Christian nutritionist, they were able to improve Wrights health through nutrition, exercise, and vitamin supplements. Twila, 40 years old by now, had begun to accept the fact that children might not have been Gods plan for her. She began recording an album of childrens songs that shed had in her head for almost a decade. A month into the project, Twila received the news that she was pregnant. Her son, Jack Paris (J.P.) Wright, was born in early 2001.

The childrens album Paris was working on, Bedtime Prayers: Lullabies and Peaceful Worship, was released in 2001 to critical acclaim. Christianity Today praised it as simple and obvious, yet beautiful and true, which was exactly what Paris was aiming for. She often refers to the album as Sanctuary for children, as she did in Christianity Today, music that was meant to fill vulnerable minds with foundational truths. The songs came to Paris quickly, as many of her biggest hits also did. I wonder if God didnt give me the songs because they contain messages I so often need to hear, she said in Christianity Today. Usually there is something that is very much in my heart, what God is doing, what Hes saying. Im just sort of a heart writer, very dependent on that moment of inspiration.

Selected discography

Knowin Youre Around, Milk & Honey, 1981.

The Warrior Is a Child, Milk & Honey, 1984.

The Best of Twila Paris, Milk & Honey, 1985.

Cry for the Desert, Star Song, 1990.

Sanctuary, Star Song, 1991.

Beyond a Dream, Star Song, 1994.

Where I Stand, Sparrow, 1996.

Perennial: Songs for the Seasons of Life, Sparrow, 1998.

True North, Sparrow, 1999.

Bedtime Prayers: Lullabies and Peaceful Worship, Sparrow, 2001.

Greatest Hits: Time and Again, Sparrow, 2001.

Selected writings

(With Robert Webber) In This Sanctuary, Star Song Communications, 1993.

Sources

Books

Erlewine, Michael, Chris Woodstra, and Vladimir Bogdanov, editors, All Music Guide: The Best CDs, Albums & Tapes, Miller Freeman Books, 1994.

Periodicals

Billboard, February 22, 1992; March 21, 1992; February 25, 1995.

Keyboard, March 1992.

Todays Christian Woman, May/June 2002.

Wall Street Journal, January 6, 1993.

Online

Baby Talk, Christianbook, http://www.christianbook.com/html/Offshoot/feature_paris.html/38809096 (September 20, 2002).

Twila Paris Biography, Christianity Today, http://www.christianitytoday.com/music/artists/twilaparis.html (September 20, 2002).

Additional information for this profile was obtained from Sparrow Communications publicity materials.

Ed Decker

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"Paris, Twila." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Paris, Twila

Twila Paris

Singer, songwriter

Comes from Religious Family

Hit Career High with Souther

Hot Name at the Gospel Music Association Awards

Selected discography

Selected writings

Sources

Often compared to famed songwriter Fanny Crosby for her musical homage to God, Twila Paris is among modern inspirational musics most prolific singer-songwriters, according to Thorn Granger in the All Music Guide. She has frequently been referred to as the modern-day hymn-writer and has written and recorded many charting singles in Christian music since the early 1980s, including over 15 Number One hits. Her songs are gentle prayers put to music, with an up-tempo soft rock sound that closes the gap between traditional and contemporary inspirational music.

Virtually every Paris song focuses on relationships of a spiritual nature rather than earthly intimacy between two people. While not overly powerful, her voice has an ethereal quality that is well-suited to her choice of musical genre. In discussing Pariss Santaury album in 1992, Robert L. Doerschuk wrote in Keyboard that Paris has a beautiful vocal timbre, which compensates for an apparently limited range.

Many Paris recordings have enjoyed long stays on the Christian music charts, and their success has made her a perennial nominee for the annual Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Awards. A number of her compositions are printed in hymnals used in churches around the world, among them We Will Glorify, Lamb of God, How Beautiful, and Faithful Men.

Comes from Religious Family

Devotion to God runs deep in the Paris family, with a dedication to ministry going back four generations. Her great-grandparents were itinerant preachers in Arkansas and Oklahoma who held outdoor revival meetings and established churches. Paris recounted this experience in Seventy Years Ago, a song on her Beyond a Dream album. Musical talent also runs in the Paris family. When Twila Paris was a little girl, her grandmother wrote religious songs that were passed out at evangelical meetings. And her father, Oren Paris, is a minister as well as an accomplished musician and songwriter.

Paris sang at church before she was old enough to attend school. She began developing her instrumental talent at the age of six, when she started taking piano lessons. By the time she was performing in her high school choir, Paris was determined to become a choral teacher. She began to consider songwriting after attending a Christian discipleship school, where she decided that music would be a perfect way to express her feelings about God. Paris spent two years working full time with Youth with a Mission (YWAM), a project directed by her father and founded by her uncle, Loren

For the Record

Born in 1958; daughter of Oren (a minister, musician, and songwriter) Paris; married Jack Wright.

Began singing in church choir as a preschooler; spent a year at a Christian discipleship school; served two years as staff member with Youth with a Mission (YWAM); recorded first album, Knowin Youre Around, 1981; wrote Carry the Light, theme song for world evangelism project Target 2000: The Great Commission Torch Run, 1989; worked with producers Brown Bannister and Richard Souther, 1990s; began serving as spokesperson for the Parable Group stores, 1993; joined Young Messiah Tour, 1993; began work on the Chapel of the Air radio program, 1994; performed at the White House, 1994; released Beyond a Dream, 1994.

Selected Awards: Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Award and Praise & Worship Album of the Year Award for Sanctuary, 1992; GMA Dove Award for female vocalist of the year, 1993 and 1994.

Addresses: Management Sparrow Communications, P.O. Box 5010, Brentwood, TN 37024-5010.

Cunningham. I began to realize how much hollowness and self-righteousness there had been in my Christianity, growing up as a preachers kid, she said in the Wall Street Journal. It was like God was doing major surgery on my heart. With all that happening so fast, I needed an outlet. As a musician, I very naturally began to write songs.

Musical success was not instant for Paris. She needed to take out a bank loan to pay for her first recording; it took four years of selling cassettes to pay it off. Before long, however, her message had begun to breakthrough. Starting in 1984, she received a string of nominations for Gospel Music Association female vocalist of the yeara hefty nine nominations in all. Her first album, Knowin Youre Around, was released in 1981 on Milk & Honey Records, and from that point on she averaged about an album a year into the mid-1990s. Every one of her songs celebrates love of God, and her continuing dedication to Christian missions led her to write the theme song Carry the Light for Target 2000: The Great Commission Torch Run in 1989. Paris has also performed a number of times with the Young Messiah Tour.

After a string of triumphs in the 1980s, a high point for Paris came in 1990 with the release of Cry for the Desert. Her first album produced by Brown Bannister, this release on the Star Song label helped to spark new development in her musical creativity. As she told Billboard in 1992, Things changed withCry for the Desert. My own musicality was involuntarily awakened. For the first time, I was on the road a lot when Id usually write. I began to write more than ever, but it was away from the piano. I began writing things I never would have written at the piano because Ive been afraid to use the full range of my imagination at the pianomostly because Im such a limited pianist!

Hit Career High with Souther

In the early 1990s, Star Songs Darnell Harris introduced Paris to musician-producer Richard Souther at Pariss Arkansas home. The meeting led Souther to produce, arrange, and play on Pariss 1991 album Sanctuary, which many critics considered her best to date. In Billboard, Bob Darden called the album one of 1991s best, adding, It is a brilliant, haunting piece of work. Critics made note of Southers important new age influence. Granger wrote in the All Music Guide that the album set new musical standards in the inspirational field for arrangement and production ideas. And Doer-schuk asserted in Keyboard, Throughout Sanctuary, Southers wispy fills, beautifully designed and unerringly placed, never fail to shine. Paris herself praised Southers contribution to the work. It is difficult to say enough about Richards arrangements and production, she told Billboard. [Sanctuary] is more accurately called a collaboration between us than a solo project of my own.

Pariss goal in recording Sanctuary was to create a worship album for people who likeCry for the Desert. As she explained in Billboard, I thought,What have I done for people who want to be in a contemplative frame of mind?Sanctuary is for them, whether theyre listening in their car on a country road or listening while they read their Bible. At the same time, we wanted it to be something artistically that could inspire and challenge people who like contemporary music or cutting-edge music.

Hot Name at the Gospel Music Association Awards

After years of extensive touring and album production, Paris retreated from performing and recording during the first half of 1992 so that she could spend more time with her husband, Jack Wright. That year she was nominated for seven Dove Awards, and her Sanctuary album became the top-selling album of her career. She won the coveted Dove Award for female vocalist of the year in both 1993 and 1994. Paris helped spread the gospel even more by joining up with the Chapel of the Air radio program in 1994. The program featured her songs in 70 nationwide conferences, as well as in videos and printed materials meant to enrich the worship experience through music.

In 1994 Paris also performed at the White House with Michael English, Steve Green, Carman, Daryl Coley, and other Gospel Music Association performers. That same year she released Beyond a Dream, which continued her trend toward modernization. Paris spun a few heads with this one, featuring her most contemporary material to date, and a bit of a new and more confident vocal approach to match it, wrote Granger of the album in the All Music Guide. This album is very current, said Paris of Beyond a Dream in a Sparrow Communications press release. It talks about how to face whats going on in the world, not from the point of me being some sort of an authority, but from the struggles that Im going through and writing as I go through them. It was also the biggest stretch for me so far, artistically. Many of the albums songs assure Christians of their security in a world of confusion, emphasize Gods mercy, and address other religious themes. Other songs pay homage to Pariss spiritual, ethnic, and geographic roots.

Paris has appeared on numerous magazine covers and television programs showcasing her talents as a performer of Christian music. By 1995 she was continuing to chart on the Contemporary Christian Top 40, never wavering from her musical praise of the Lord. We sing about the Atonement, but it cost the Lord something to give us that, she said in the press release. We can have fun with the music; thats okay. But on another level, that respect should always be thereconcern for the message, and concern for those to whom we would deliver the message.

Selected discography

Knowin Youre Around, Milk & Honey, 1981.

The Warrior Is a Child, Milk & Honey, 1984.

The Best of Twila Paris, Milk & Honey, 1985.

Cry for the Desert, Star Song, 1990.

Sanctuary, Star Song, 1991.

Beyond a Dream, Star Song, 1994.

Selected writings

(With Robert Webber) In This Sanctuary, Star Song Communications, 1993.

Sources

Books

Erlewine, Michael, Chris Woodstra, and Vladimir Bogdanov, editors, All Music Guide: The Best CDs, Albums & Tapes, Miller Freeman Books, 1994.

Periodicals

Billboard, February 22, 1992; March 21, 1992; February 25, 1995.

Keyboard, March 1992.

Wall Street Journal, January 6, 1993.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from Sparrow Communications publicity materials.

Ed Decker

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Paris, Twila." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Paris, Twila." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/paris-twila

"Paris, Twila." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/paris-twila