What Really Happened to Russ TaffRuss Taff

Russ Taff, a celebrated gospel singer, has lived through experiences that many might find unimaginable. In a recent conversation, he bared his soul, recounting his tumultuous childhood, and the challenges he faced growing up. His story is one of pain, redemption, and a relentless search for grace amidst darkness.

A Storied Musical Journey

Born on November 11, 1953, in Farmersville, California, Russ Taff began his musical journey at a young age. His rich baritone voice caught the attention of many, leading him to join the pioneering Christian group, The Imperials, in the late 1970s. During his time with The Imperials, the band garnered immense success, winning multiple Grammy and Dove awards.

In the mid-1980s, Taff transitioned into a solo career, which further solidified his position as a leading figure in the gospel music industry. Songs like “I Still Believe” and “Winds of Change” are just a few that resonated deeply with audiences around the world.

Personal Struggles

While Russ Taff’s musical career was a beacon of success, behind the scenes, he grappled with personal challenges. Coming from a turbulent home environment characterized by alcoholism and domestic violence, Taff himself battled alcohol addiction for years. The duality of being a Christian music icon while silently fighting this internal demon took a toll on him.

The Road to Redemption

Aware of the dichotomy of his life, Russ Taff sought help. His journey towards sobriety, healing, and redemption was challenging but, with the support of his family and faith, he managed to turn his life around.

In a bold and courageous move, Taff opened up about his struggles with alcoholism in the documentary “Russ Taff: I Still Believe.” This brutally honest portrayal aimed to inspire and offer hope to others dealing with similar challenges. Through the documentary and subsequent interviews, he reiterated the importance of seeking help, the power of redemption, and the unfaltering love of God.

A Father’s Struggle

Russ began by painting a vivid picture of his father, a welder who became an alcoholic before discovering Christianity. A workplace accident, which almost cost him his eye, introduced him to painkillers. The allure of the pills was strong, pulling him deeper into addiction.

Russ candidly admitted that even he had felt the allure of these drugs. When he broke his leg, the relief from morphine drips and pain pills was profound. But the detrimental side of addiction was evident too. “You can’t stand in the pulpit loaded,” he remarked. For his father, once the pills ran out, he turned to vodka to numb his pain.

A Preaching Addiction?

Russ’s father was a man deeply in love with Jesus. He felt called to preach, and he took up pastoring. But was preaching another addiction? For him, preaching was when he felt closest to Jesus, feeling validated and loved. This self-imposed legalism, however, would prove destructive.

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Russ recounted a painful memory from when he was seven. One Sunday, his father failed to show up for church, and he was sent home to find him. He found his father drunk, an image that deeply disturbed him. The pressures of maintaining a façade in a small community took its toll on the family.

Protecting Family Secrets

By the age of nine, Russ was ingrained with the idea that family matters should remain secret. When he innocently shared a small detail of a family argument with a friend, the consequences were severe. His mother, in a fit of rage, physically abused him, reinforcing the notion that their struggles should be kept hidden.

Where was the Church?

As Russ navigated through this chaos, he found solace in singing. The Holy Spirit would descend upon him, offering a brief respite. Yet, he could not find the support he craved within his church community. Nobody ever reached out to him or showed genuine concern.

The church’s inaction saddened Russ, who believed that they could play a significant role in being burden carriers. If the church truly understood the spiritual battles individuals faced, they could offer powerful support. Instead of focusing on ‘big sins,’ churches should realize that slandering and gossip can be just as damaging.

The Real Face of Jesus

Growing up with a volatile father figure affected Russ’s perception of God. The face of his father became synonymous with the face of God, leading to confusion and fear. The gospel presented to him was one of judgment and fear, where God was seen as an entity waiting to condemn.

However, a transformational moment for Russ was when he was advised to ‘fire’ his condemning Jesus and seek the real, loving Jesus. He realized that the authentic Jesus is one who loves unconditionally and supports unreservedly.

Where is Russ Taff Now?

Russ Taff continues to be involved in music, albeit at a slower pace, cherishing the moments he gets to perform and share his testimony. He remains passionate about helping others through their struggles, often speaking at events and churches about his journey to redemption.

Moreover, he enjoys the tranquillity of his life with his family, finding joy in the simpler aspects of life. After all the highs and lows, Russ Taff’s story stands as a testament to the transformative power of faith and the resilience of the human spirit.


Russ Taff’s journey is a testament to the power of faith, the importance of genuine support, and the healing that can come from acknowledging pain. His story is a reminder that everyone, no matter how broken, can find redemption and grace.

Faqs about Russ Taff

What genre of music did Russ Taff primarily perform in?

While Russ Taff is widely recognized for his contributions to gospel and Christian music, he also explored country and contemporary genres throughout his illustrious career.

Did Russ Taff collaborate with other artists?

Yes, over the course of his career, Russ Taff collaborated with various artists across different genres, expanding his musical repertoire and reaching a diverse audience.

How did Russ Taff get started in the music industry?

Russ Taff began singing in church as a young child, which ignited his passion for music. His early exposure to gospel music in the church set the foundation for his later professional endeavors.

Were there any notable awards that Russ Taff received?

Throughout his career, Russ Taff has been honored with numerous awards, including several Grammy and Dove awards, highlighting his significant contributions to the Christian and gospel music genres.

Is Russ Taff involved in any charitable endeavors?

While the article doesn’t detail his charitable activities, Russ Taff, like many artists, has often used his platform to support various causes close to his heart over the years.

How has Russ Taff influenced the next generation of gospel artists?

Russ Taff’s unique vocal style and emotional depth have inspired numerous emerging gospel and Christian artists. His legacy is evident in the many artists who consider him a primary influence in their musical journey.

Did Taff ever venture into songwriting?

Yes, besides his singing prowess, Russ Taff has showcased his talent in songwriting, penning songs that have touched the hearts of many around the world.

How do fans usually describe Russ Taff’s voice?

Fans and critics alike often describe Russ Taff’s voice as “soul-stirring” and “powerful,” capable of evoking deep emotions in the listener.

Has Taff ever held any music workshops or masterclasses?

While the article doesn’t specify, artists of Russ Taff’s caliber often engage in workshops, masterclasses, or mentoring sessions to impart their knowledge to budding artists and enthusiasts.

Are there any biographies or books written about Russ Taff?

Yes, given his remarkable journey and contribution to the music industry, there have been biographical works and articles documenting his life and career. One significant work is the documentary “Russ Taff: I Still Believe,” where he delves deep into his personal struggles and triumphs.