Fourteen years ago, TaRanda Kiser was like most high school seniors. She was headed for college and ready to conquer the world. Little could she have known what the next decade and a half would hold, after she made the decision to forsake college and audition for the popular Southern Gospel Music group, The Greenes. “Singing full-time had always been my dream,” recalls TaRanda, “so I gave up a college scholarship, left Florida, and made my way to the mountains of Boone, NC, to pursue my dream. All I wanted to do was sing!”
The charming, talented soprano quickly captured the hearts of Gospel music lovers across the nation, and it wasn’t very long before she also captured the heart of the young man who was technically her boss. “From the first day I got on the bus to travel with the group, Tony and I hit it off. We became best friends long before we got married,” she admits.
No one was more surprised than TaRanda when Tony proposed to her in front of 20,000 Southern Gospel Music fans during the industry’s premier event in Louisville, KY, at the National Quartet Convention. Just five short months later, the two married on February 13, 2001.
Even before the two wed, Tony had begun to experience major health problems. The couple was told they would never have children, yet God chose to present them with two miracles. The first came in 2004 when their daughter Belle was born and the second in 2008 when they welcomed the arrival of their daughter Josie.
As the couple was adjusting to life on the road with two little girls, their career seemed to continue to blossom. TaRanda was also gaining national attention as a soloist. She achieved the historic honor of being the first female soloist to obtain a Number One ranking on The Singing News Magazine’s Top 40 Radio Airplay Chart with her mega-hit, Sky Full of Angels; however, as their professional lives seemed to prosper, Tony’s physical health was deteriorating. In 2007, doctors discovered that the one functioning kidney Tony had was working at a very low rate. In 2009, TaRanda was cleared to donate her kidney to her husband. Unfortunately, throughout the next year, Tony suffered numerous complications and in September of 2010, Tony passed away. “Tony was my biggest encourager,” TaRanda shares. “Saying goodbye has been the hardest thing I have ever had to face.”
Staring in the face of uncertainty, TaRanda has held to the realization that this next step in her life is one God has been preparing her to take for quite some time. “I have been very blessed over the years with amazing opportunities,” she says with a smile, while fighting back the tears. “The Lord has been faithful to walk through all this with me. I look back on everything we have faced and I know this was a time of preparation for this new day. The very best way I can remember Tony is to do what I know he would want me to do. He always pushed me to sing, and with God’s help, that is what I will continue to do.”
News that the talented vocalist will continue to sing, comes as a delight to those who have grown to love and admire TaRanda’s resilience and perseverance, as well as her God-given musical gift and anointed spirit. She has become a fan favorite among audiences worldwide.
TaRanda is often seen on the popular Bill Gaither Homecoming Video Series and has also made appearances at numerous cities with the Homecoming Tour. She has also become a favorite guest vocalist at the famed Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, NY. She was invited by the Church to be a special featured soloist on the latest two Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir recordings “Declare Your Name” and “A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas”. She was also invited to appear before the United Nations for a special Christmas concert, where she thrilled representatives from around the world with her rousing rendition of O Holy Night.
As TaRanda finds herself transitioning into uncharted territory, she also clings to the faithfulness of a loving Savior who promised to never leave nor forsake. She has a great story to share. It is one that is filled with much heartbreak and uncertainty, as well as promise and hope, as this now single mother of two, is committed to telling that story while holding onto the One who has brought her through each trial she has faced. “It’s a very challenging time, yet I know with all my heart, my life is in God’s hands, and He loves me more than I could ever know.” It’s that combination and that realization that TaRanda knows God will use to touch and stir the souls of each listener.
In 1997, when TaRanda Kiser made the drive from Florida to Boone, NC, little did she know what would lie in store for her over the next 14 years. TaRanda didn’t know, but God did, and He prepared her for each step she would take. As He directs, TaRanda is finding her wings and soaring by the grace and strength of the One who gave her His song to sing.