“You gotta have faith and patience. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.”
And with those words, country music superstar Josh Turner sighs—a sigh of contentment and confidence in knowing that there is something, or rather someone else, directing his career, his life, and his future. Because even with six Inspirational Country Music Awards and a slew of GRAMMY, CMA, and ACM nominations in his possession, what Turner holds dear is rather simple—his family and his faith.
"I noticed from a very early age that my personal relationship with the Lord and the spiritual aspect of my faithis what has sustained me through all of my journey and all of my tough times and challenges that have come my way.” Josh Turner
Having recently turned 37 years old, Turner possesses one of the most deep and distinctive voices within the country music genre, having hit the big time with hits such as “Your Man,” “Time Is Love,” “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” “Firecracker,” and “Would You Go with Me.”
And through it all, he has let his faith shine through each and every day.
“I don’t think it’s just about going to church and reading the Bible,” Turner says in a recent interview with TwoTen Magazine. “I think it goes much deeper than that. It’s something to believe in something when the world is telling you that it doesn’t exist.”
FAITH FILLED BEGINNINGS
Raised in a “tight knit community” in the town of Hannah, South Carolina, Turner was long known as a good Christian, attending a Baptist church just down the road from the home he shared with his family, and playing, performing and writing music.
“Comparatively to my friends, I was kind of late in making that commitment to the Lord,” said Turner, who was around 12 years old when he says he first gave his heart to the Lord. “My Daddy’s parents gave me a Bible story book called ‘The Book,’ and I read it every day. It was that book that really brought the Bible to life for me and showed me how the Lord had moved in people’s lives throughout history and kind of made it real to me. From then on, I began praying for my future and thinking about where I would spend eternity in terms of my salvation. That’s when I made my decision.”
Turner says he soon realized that his heart and his passion would be directed towards trying to become a country music singer as a teen. Yet, living in a small community miles away from Nashville made this dream often feel quite unattainable. “Moving to Nashville was just unheard of, and I had a lot of people making fun of me for trying to reach that dream,” Turner recalls. “It didn’t become a possible expectation until I started praying about it. That was one of the many times I felt God’s voice speak to me.”
That voice came in loud and clear on a summer afternoon as Turner was in the back of his family’s home, tending to the fields and wondering what his future would hold. “I was praying about whether it was possible to make a living singing country music, and the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘If this is what you want to do, then create your own unique path, and all you have to do is trust Me.’ He didn’t say that you can trust Me when times are good or just when things are going right. He just said ‘Trust Me.’ Period. That’s when things started to get interesting.”
It was this trust in God that Turner leaned heavily upon when he suffered a vocal injury in 1996, shortly after his graduation from high school.
“I literally thought that I would never be able to sing again,” he says. “Long story short, it was a blessing in disguise because it took me to Nashville for my first time.”
Indeed, a trip to the acclaimed Vanderbilt Voice Center led Turner to Nashville and allowed him to “basically learn how to speak and sing all over again.” And as he learned more about the anatomy of one’s voice box and started working with a vocal coach, Turner noticed that his voice was turning into something it had never been before. “All of a sudden, my voice was richer and had more texture,” Turner remembers.
LIFE WITH THE LORD
It was this distinctive voice that has allowed the Grand Ole Opry member to create a successful career within country music, selling more than five million albums, including everything from his platinum-selling debut “Long Black Train” to his most recent 2012 Billboard No. 1 release “Punching Bag.”
“Every decision I make in my career, I consult Him,” testifies Turner, who often watches evangelist Joyce Meyer on television while out on the road. “There can be something going on within me, and I will be in the middle of singing a song, and I will actually be asking for His strength to get thru this one song or this one show. I always get His take on things. He’s never steered me wrong.”
In April 2014, Turner shared an inside look into his faith as a man and father in the book Man Stuff: Devotional Thoughts on Faith, Family, and Fatherhood. “I didn’t think about the book being a legacy or a manual,” Turner says. “I was completely intimidated to write a book, because I thought it was way too soon in my career. But when they told me it would be in a devotional format, I thought I could do it.”
The book also served as a way for Turner to get his thoughts on paper in terms of fatherhood. Turner and his wife Jennifer are the proud parents of four boys and are looking forward to now sharing their faith life with them—not within their words, but within their actions.
“I used to talk a lot to them about faith and stuff like that, but I have learned at their ages that they do more watching than they do listening,” said Turner. “They are watching every move we make. [Laughs] We often pray together and as they get older, we will get down to a lot more talking.”
While Turner is busy putting the finishing touches on his sixth studio album and basking in the success of his latest single “Lay Low,” Turner says he once again is back at a point in his career where he simply needs to put his trust in Him.
“I have lived a good bit of life and can now look back on situations and see how the Lord has had everything mapped out, no matter what,” he concludes. “When you are young, you don’t have a lot to look back on to be able to say that you can definitely see the Lord’s fingerprints all over every move. You have to live your life before you get to have that hindsight. That’s what I am enjoying at this very moment.”
By: Tricia Despres
Tricia Despres is a Chicago-based entertainment writer whose work has appeared in publications such as the Chicago Sun-Times, Advertising Age and Country Weekly magazine. From making story deadlines to making dinner for husband Paul and girls Taylor and Amanda, Tricia leads a busy life....but is never too busy to listen to the whispers of God.Read More Articles by Tricia Despres