Terri Gibbs Inspired By Ray Charles

While growing up, country singer Terri Gibbs often drew inspiration from the story of Ray Charles, and in fact there are a lot of similarities in the lives of the two artists. Although Gibbs was born in Florida, she grew up in Charles’ home state of Georgia, and both had extensive backgrounds in gospel music before hitting mainstream stardom. And of course, both were blind — Charles from early childhood and Gibbs from birth.

Even as a toddler, Teresa Fay Gibbs began to show her aptitude for the piano. And as she grew up in the Fifties and Sixties, she began to appreciate every kind of music — not only gospel, but rock and roll and the blues. But she also loved country music and often listened to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio, which might have helped lead her into her initial career choice. With the encouragement of Chet Atkins — who had caught her performance with her church choir — Gibbs decided to try her luck in Nashville as soon as she turned 18.

She was unable to find much career traction, and over the next few years spent some time in Florida and Georgia, attending college for a while while continuing to perform as much as possible. Finally able to secure a recording contract, she struck gold in 1981 with her unforgettable debut, “Somebody’s Knockin’.”

For a while everything was working for Terri Gibbs. Her Granny-nominated-song was a crossover hit, and her debut album helped her win the CMA Top Female Vocalist award. Another song from the album — “Rich Man” — also did well on the charts, as did several of the songs on her followup album. She also fulfilled a dream by appearing on the Grand Ole Opry, and even went on tour with the legendary George Jones. (Video below.) (Later: video no longer available.)

Within a few years she began to return to the gospel music she loved, and eventually also began spending more of her time as a wife and mother. In recent years, she has returned to a more active musical life and continues even now to entertain her many fans.

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