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Published:August 8th, 2007 11:24 EST

Judyth Piazza chats with LaDonna Gatlin, Keynote Speaker

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

I am blessed to have been born into the Gatlin family. By the time I arrived on the scene in Abilene, Texas on August 18, 1954, my three older brothers Larry, Steve and Rudy (who were only 2, 4 & 6 years old at the time) were already old pros " in the music business.

They were appearing weekly on the Slim Willett Television Show earning a whopping five cents apiece!

As soon as I could carry a tune, I joined the group. We were called the Gatlin Quartet.

My parent`s love of gospel music was the driving force behind us. So with dad at the steering wheel and mom at the piano we sang ".and sang "and sang. All over the country we sang. It was a fabulous way to grow up.

Fast forward to the early1970`s "my big brother Larry ventured off to Nashville to make his mark in country music. He was kind enough to ask Steve, Rudy, and me to join him in that pursuit. So away we went. And we sang " and sang "and sang. The combination of our family harmony and Larry`s amazing songwriting was rewarded in 1976 when he received a Grammy Award for Country Song of the Year Broken Lady. "

Yes, we sang "and sang "and sang "until one day a funny thing happened on the road to stardom. I got married.

That`s when it happened "the DEFINING MOMENT THAT
RE-DEFINED MY LIFE
. Even though I loved making music with my brothers, (it`s all I had ever known!) I realized that I had a different path to follow "a different song to sing, " if you will. So in 1976 I took a giant leap of faith and said goodbye to the Gatlin Boys and a career in country music.

Well "my brothers went on to produce hit records "I went on to produce two kids. My brothers got famous "I got stretch marks! But very simply put " I had a different song to sing.

And I believe we each have that song " within us. Sometimes it takes that defining moment to help us realize it`s there. And that`s what I`m all about "empowering people to find their own voice and sing the song " they were born to sing.

I love my work, and I love my life. I live in a Dallas suburb with my husband (and best friend!) of 30 years Tim Johnson. We have two adult children Caleb and Annie who have blessed us with two precious gifts from God, our grandchildren Hayden and Madilyn Grace.

For More Information:  www.ladonnagatlin.com