An interview with Voices Won
I sat down with Voices Won on the first day of the National Quartet Convention (Monday), discussing their background, where they are now, and where they’re heading. Listen in!
A formatted version is here: /features/201005.pdf.
Daniel: Could you start off by introducing yourselves?
Jaron: I’m Jaron Faulknor, tenor singer, oldest brother of Voices Won.
Staclynn: I’m Staclynn Faulknor, the youngest member of Voices Won, and I sing lead.
Shantell: I’m Shantell Faulknor. I sing baritone. I’m the middle brother of Voices Won, and possibly the best looking!
Daniel: At what age did you start singing together?
Jaron: Being family, we sang in church all of our lives with our mom, dad, and sister. Then about nine years ago, the three of us, along with our mom and sister, started traveling and singing.
Daniel: Was it Voices Won at that point?
Jaron: Yes it was Voices Won then. After a couple years or so, our mom and sister stopped traveling so they could devote more time to home life. So it’s just the three of us now.
Daniel: How did you come up with the name Voices Won?
Staclynn: We didn’t want to just go with the family name. We kicked around the name One Voice. After some research, we realized there were a lot of One Voices out there! We wanted to use ‘Voices’ in the name somehow. We then decided to change “One” to “Won”.
Daniel: With the One Voice / Voices Won, is there some implication in there of the fact that you’re trying to sing real tight harmonies?
Staclynn: Not really. Family harmony they say is hard to beat. They say it’s easier to sing with your family—but there’s no implication there.
Daniel: So you started singing about nine years ago. At that point were you mainly singing songs from other groups, or were you writing your own material at that point?
Shantell: Well, Jaron has been writing songs for quite a while. When we were ready to start recording, Jaron had written several songs that we were able to use. We’ve always tried to find original songs from friends of ours like Mark Bishop, and others, and tried to include some of Jaron’s writing. Staclynn and I have also written a song or two. We try to do original stuff. But we also try to find songs by other writers that might fit what we’re going to do.
Daniel: So you wrote the song “Road to Glory” that the Kingsmen cut?
Jaron: Yes, sir.
Daniel: Could you tell me a little bit about the writing behind that song?
Jaron: That song started out mostly just as a melody with a cool tempo. I was feeling good and happy one day, just thinking about being on the road home, and that song took about thirty minutes to write.
Daniel: So how many years was it written before the Kingsmen cut it?
Jaron: We originally recorded it in ’04, and they recorded it in ’08. Four years.
Daniel: Okay, so what are some of the other songs you’ve written that really mean a lot to you, some of your favorites?
Staclynn: Jaron, tell Daniel the story behind the song “Easier to Live” and how that song and Road to Glory are tied together.
Daniel: I understand there’s a story about how “Road to Glory” meant a lot to an individual.
Jaron: A few years ago, our dad was diagnosed with throat cancer. At this particular time, dad had been hospitalized for what ended up being thirteen days. It was my night to stay with Dad at the hospital. While walking down the hall to his room, a family walked out of another patient’s room. This family recognized me and I recognized them—we were scheduled to sing at their church in a couple of weeks.
The mother said, “When you come, be sure to sing that song.”
And I said, “Which song?”
She could not think of the words. Her little girl, around five years old, blond hair, blue eyes, looked up at me and began to sing, “I am on the road to glory, longing to see my home above,” and she sang the whole chorus.
I was thinking “Man, that’s a song that I wrote, and this little girl knows the words to it!”
So here I was at the hospital with Dad, worried about him (he had been in there twelve days or so, and had lost about fifty pounds), I was missing my family, hated to think about a hospital bed—standing in the hospital hallway, God had sent me encouragement to let me know He was there and He knew where I was at, He knew how I was feeling. There’s no doubt that God sent that little girl singing that song.
So from that night came the thought that God makes and allows things to happen that make our life Easier to Live. The chorus to Easier to Live is: “To reach out a hand / And help someone along / To see a little child singing your song / To know that the blood covers your sins / That makes life easier to live.” So that little girl in the hallway of the hospital, singing “Road to Glory” inspired “Easier to Live.”
Daniel: So Road to Glory is your current recording, or your previous?
Jaron: It was from a previous recording.
Daniel: Would any of you like to say something about your current recording?
Staclynn: My first thoughts of the current recording are that although Jaron only has three songs on this one compared to seven on the last CD, the three songs on this recording shows the progression in his writing. The title cut, “Something for Everyone,” is probably my favorite song on the album. It just means so much—“Saint or Sinner, there’s something for you at the Foot of the Cross.”
There are a variety of music styles on the CD. We have everything from progressive to more traditional Southern Gospel. Another great song is written by Phil Cross and Elmer Cole – “The Road Less Traveled,” Just a phenomenal message. In this world that we live in, it just fits so well. Another favorite that Shantell sings is “He Came to Me”. Two of the more “fun” songs are “The Voice of the Lord” and “Guess What Zacchaeus Found” which was written by Mark Bishop. It is a story song about the Bible character Zacchaeus, someone you rarely hear of written, only how Mark could write it. Those are a few highlights. We are excited about the new recording.
DJM: So just a follow up, there. Wasn’t Elmer Cole the same person who wrote “Ten Thousand Years”?
Staclynn: He did write that song as well as “First Day in Heaven”. Elmer Cole has written several classics..
DJM: Is he still alive?
Staclynn: He is.
DJM: And isn’t he the person who mentored Phil Cross?
Jaron: I have heard Phil speak of Mr. Cole several times.
DJM: Do you know how long ago they wrote that song? Is it fairly new, or has it been around a couple of years?
Jaron: It is fairly new. Ironically, we received that demo before we recorded Easier to Live almost two years ago and didn’t record the song. We listened to that same demo again, and this time we recorded it.
DJM: Were you the one who wrote “I Will Praise Him Forever?”
Staclynn: Shantell did.
DJM: I’ll ask him about that in a minute, I guess, because he’s busy taking our picture! . . .
Shantell, I understand you’re the one who wrote “I Will Praise Him Forever.”
DJM: Could you tell me a little bit about that song?
Shantell: This song just happened . . . it just had to be the Lord. I woke up in the middle of the night. I had gotten up to check on my kids, covered them up, and make sure they’re still asleep. I couldn’t help but think of how the Lord’s blessings were on my life. So when I laid back down, I couldn’t go back to sleep. And I started thinking about people in the Bible who were actually touched physically by the hand of the Lord.
And the chorus came to my mind—“I will praise Him forever.” And I thought to myself, I hope I can remember that in the morning! Because I need to write this down, and work on this!
Well, the longer I laid there, I was able to put the whole chorus together in my head, and then I had an idea for a first verse, and I thought, “Well, I guess I’ll just go ahead and get up!”
So about 4:30 in the morning I got up and went to the kitchen, and wrote the song. The second verse came to me very easy, and I know it had to be the Lord, because I’ve never done anything like that. I’ve started a few since then that . . . uh; I’m just waiting on Him again! But I actually did pitch one song that I finished, pitched it to our producer, and—well, we didn’t record it, to say the least!
It was a blessing getting to record that in the studio. Now I know how Jaron and Staclynn felt. They both had a song already recorded. Even though, you know, it was not played on the radio or anything like that, it was still really neat to know that there was something there. We’ve had a lot of folks say they really enjoy the song. I hope it continues to bless people for a long time. So that’s the story on “I Will Praise Him Forever.”
DJM: So who do you point to as some of your biggest musical influences?
Jaron: The Bishops and Gatlin Brothers are my two biggest influences.
DJM: Anything else you want to add?
Shantell: I would have to say the Bishops as well. Greater Vision—I’m more of a trio guy. I like quartets, but I like the trios. I like Triumphant Quartet a whole lot. I like the energy they bring with them. Seeing their energy has helped me to try to bring more energy when we’re singing. That’s really Southern Gospel. I have to say, I always enjoyed the Crabb Family, the Singing Americans back in the Clayton Inman, Phil Barker, and Dwayne Burke days. That was one of the first groups that I remember listening to as a child.
Staclynn: As far as influential people, maybe not as groups, Michael English has always been one of my favorites. I love to see Michael back with the Gaithers—it’s pretty surreal. I’m excited about getting to see them. You’ve got Kenny Hinson – what energy he brought. Jonathan Wilburn is just amazing on stage; they leave you wanting more. That’s something I’ve always appreciated in them. I am also a huge Bishops fan. There are so many people that have influenced me.
DJM: So what would a typical Voices Won concert be like? Anything out of the ordinary compared to other groups’ concerts?
Staclynn: I would think yes. We do have the advantage of family harmony. We bring good energy to the stage. We have good chemistry because we are brothers.
In a concert, we usually have a set where Jaron will sit down and play his guitar, and it will be our three vocals and guitar only. We’ll do a few old songs, maybe some newer ones, just with the guitar. We’ll involve the audience and take some requests from time to time. We have been stumped several times! People start pulling out the hymnals, just picking out titles, to see if they can stump us! That is part of a typical concert. We are in it to uplift the name of Jesus and see lost souls saved. But I think our concert may be a little different than others.
DJM: So you started working with Crossroads a couple of years ago. What led you there, and how long have you been there?
Jaron: From the very beginning plans of doing the Easier to Live album, we wanted Jeff Collins to produce it. That was more or less how we went to Crossroads.
From there, the talks started with Crossroads, a relationship formed. Crossroads is a great company to work with.
DJM: So your current project is your second with them, then?
Jaron: Yes, sir.
DJM: Well, any other thoughts or comments you’d like to share, and could you close with how people can get in touch with Voices Won?
Staclynn: Well, we’d love for folks to visit our new website. It is a community-based site. You can jump on there and comment, or start a conversation. The three of us have our own thread on the site. Folks can relate, agree, or disagree. Just be nice! The website is www.voiceswon.com. Email the three of us—Jaron, Shantell, or Staclynn–@voiceswon.com. Our phone number is 706-218-8691.
DJM: Any other thoughts any of you want to share?
Jaron: We love the Lord, and I don’t say that loosely. And every time our feet hit the stage, we see it as an opportunity to share the Gospel with a new convert. Also to remind someone, “Hey, we’re saved. He didn’t bring us here to leave us here!” And to encourage the church, strengthen those that need strength, and to also be a good form of Christian entertainment—we want folks to see that we love what we do!
DJM: Thank you very much!