Past the Press Release is an interview series featuring a new member of a professional Southern Gospel group. It’s a chance to look past the standard “excited to be here” press release comment and learn a little more about them. Meet new Freedom baritone Tyler Vestal!

Daniel: I’ve heard that you come from a musical background. Could you tell us about your musical family members?

Tyler: Well my mother sings with the female trio out of Greensboro, NC called Rejoice! but even at a young age, she and her family traveled and performed around much of the southeast. My grandfather also played the piano and organ for an evangelist named Rudy Teague around much of the Carolinas. (We’re all big music people! LOL)

Daniel: So did you grow up wanting to be a singer? Or if you weren’t particularly interested as a child, what sparked that interest later on?

Tyler: I did always like to sing growing up but until I turned 13 and went to my first NQC, I had never considered that being my career.

Daniel: Outside of your family, who are your biggest musical influences?

Tyler: As far as inspiring me to want to be a singer, Gene McDonald, Mark Trammell, and Roger & Debbie Talley played a big part. Influences stylistically, however, range all the way from Jake Hess to Brad Paisley!

Daniel: Did you sing with any other groups before joining Freedom?

Tyler: I sang bass for Rejoice! for about 4 years full-time.

Daniel: When I saw Freedom in concert a few months ago, you played the piano on several songs. How long have you been playing piano?

Tyler: I started to pick it up around the age of 3 or 4 my parents say.

Daniel: Do you think of yourself as more a singer who can play piano or more a pianist who can sing?

Tyler: Well I’ve been blessed throughout my career in gospel music to be able to do both but if i had to choose, I would most likely say a singer who can play.

Daniel: Let’s suppose you had the opportunity to go back in time and hear any one Southern Gospel group you’ve never gotten to see in person live. What group would you pick, and what lineup or year?

Tyler: It would either be the Ivan, Brian, Mike, Tim, and Garry lineup of Gold City, or the Hovie, Jake, Chief, Rosie, Doy lineup of the Statesmen.

Daniel: Congratulations on joining Freedom! Josh Garner and John Rulapaugh are known for having big, powerful voices. Have you had to make any adjustments to your singing style to match the volume and intensity of their power vocals and harmonies?

Tyler: Having been a bass singer before, there were definitely some adjustments; however, it has also helped expand my range quite a bit.

Daniel: If you could put together a dream team quartet of any vocalist currently in Southern Gospel, who would you pick? (Let’s say “any vocalist other than Josh and John,” just so you don’t feel obligated to name them!) 🙂

Tyler: Hmmmm. This is a tough one but I think I would start with Gene McDonald on bass, Michael English at lead, Josh Cobb at tenor, Taranda Greene at Soprano and Gordan Mote on the piano.

Daniel: How can people keep up with Freedom?

Tyler: We can be reached on the web at www.freedomtrio.com. We also have a Facebook and Twitter page and have recently started our own Youtube channel.

Daniel: Thank you!