TaRanda Rebrands

Southern Gospel has only had one Vestal and one Hovie. We’ve had more than one Jake, Glen, and George, but if someone just uses those first names, we know who they are talking about.

It seems that another of our genre’s most indisputably talented vocalists is making a bid to join that select list. Since TaRanda Greene’s husband, Tony Greene, passed away last fall, she has launched a solo career. Yesterday, she launched her website: www.tarandamusic.com.

The website’s header and home page identify her by her first name alone. On the bio page, she is referred to by her maiden name (TaRanda Kiser) in the opening and closing paragraphs, and eleven times by her first name alone. Though she isn’t referred to as TaRanda Greene at any point, it’s not like her thirteen years with the Greenes are glossed over. She tells the story of her courtship and of Tony’s proposal on the NQC mainstage. She recounts the blessing of having two children after they were told it was impossible that they have any. And, of course, she tells the blessings and challenges of Tony’s final months on the earth.

Now it might be preposterous for a Daniel, a Josh, or a Bryan to try this. But it’s not half as much of a stretch here. She has one of the most unique first names in our genre. A simple Google search for her first name alone reveals sites related to her as four of the top ten (and ten of the top twenty). This does include the #1 position, currently held by the Greenes’ group site.

In all fairness, concerns other than marketing may have been a factor; a domain squatter owns tarandagreene.com, and may not have been willing to part with it for a reasonable sum. That could have provoked the thought process.

Only time will tell if she will join the ranks of Vestal, Hovie, Jake, George, and Glen. At any rate, she has the talent level to make a bid for first-name-only status credible.

(Note to commenters: Feel free to discuss the implications of the re-branding in a constructive way. But I will be even more watchful than usual to remove anything that is not constructive.)

For more about —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

24 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Mitchel Jon Kenitzer dropped his last name to become just Mitchel Jon when he went solo. Jonathan Pierce Hildreth did the same thing when he joined the Gaither Vocal Band. Both did so because they said audiences had trouble either pronouncing or spelling their last names.

    I’ve often considered going the same route, as the constant “I hope your name doesn’t describe your singing” remarks do get old (and no one can spell it correctly anyway), but then again, it’s a unique name…

    I don’t think that Vestal, Hovie, et al, had any intentional plans of rebranding themselves by their first name; it just became the norm over the years.

    • I hereby assign you a stage name: Kyle Exciting.

      Vestal’s was a gradual transition, but by the end of her life, she was using it (e.g. the Vestal & Friends series).

  2. If you look at the bottom of the page, it says Copyrighted Taranda Greene. Her Facebook & Twitter accounts still list her last name as well. All advertisements for her concerts say Taranda Greene. I don’t believe she will be changing her last name anytime soon. I believe her reference to her maiden name was just to tell a story.

    • Yes, it’s copyright TaRanda Greene because that’s still her legal name.

      That said, the branding all over the site is using TaRanda as her brand.

    • I don’t think anyone is suggesting or even thinking that she would be changing her last name. This is just her “brand”, or “stage name”.

  3. Here’s a question for you in regards to branding:

    “The Cathedral Quartet” or “The Cathedrals”???

    • The Cathedral Quartet was the legal name and used on most of their project, but Gaither used “The Cathedrals” on a lot of what he touched.

      • When Roger sang with them they were more than a quartet.

      • I know that the Oak Ridge Boys own both “Oak Ridge Boys” and “Oak Ridge Quartet,” and for about 5 years, the names were interchanged. Warner Brothers Records wanted a more modern-sounding name when they released two LP’s, and went with “Oak Ridge Boys.”

        Columbia Records in 1973 went even further and changed their name to simply “The Oaks,” and even had a single printed with that name, but the group decided they liked the full name better.

        Personally, in TaRanda’s case, I could see why she’d want to distance herself a bit from the Greenes name. Tim Greene has a group that she is not a member of, so it’d make sense to make sure you’re established separately.

      • I will have to check my own collection of their recordings, but my feeling is that they mostly used “The Cathedrals”.

      • They weren’t consistent even on their projects. (Look at the album covers under discography section on SGHistory.com)

  4. Hovie Walker might not appreciate being forgotten. He was (and still is, so I’ve heard) a very good bass singer. So there’s Hovie #2!

    • Apologies to Hovie Walker, in a sense. I do regret forgetting him, but at the same time I’ll stick by my assertion that Hovie is one of about a half-dozen names in this genre where we can use just the first name, and everyone knows who we mean.

    • Thanks John. People even forget the president’s, after a year or so.

    • Amin!!

      • Gees, I can’t even spell these days. AMEN!!!

      • Gees, I can’t even spell these days. AMEN!!! Hovie Walker should never be forgotten.

  5. Glen Payne ALWAYS referred to his group as The Cathedral Quartet, while George Younce used both, well-known names, but always closed the program by saying “Have you enjoyed the Cathedral Quartet?” There’ll never be another group quite like them.

    • Thanks for the clarification!

      I had been under the impression that this was pretty much the case (though I hadn’t known that Glen never used The Cathedrals – a fascinating tidbit).

      I had suspected that the popularity of “The Cathedrals” was more a Gaither video series thing, since I knew he used it a fair amount there. But then, after all, it was the Gaither video narrations that got me stuck for several years saying “Younce” with an ow instead of an aw!

  6. BTW… I think Taranda’s website looks great. She’s a remarkable singer, for sure!

    • I would agree – hers is one of the classiest and most nicely done websites in our genre.

  7. As a cheerleader for our wonderful genre, I hope Taranda, as great a talent as she is, sticks closely to her Southern Gospel roots. She is undoubtedly an asset to this music. I hope that Taranda, as a soloist, can continue to be the factor she (and The Greenes) has been in our genre over the last several years.

  8. I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned JD or Rex.