Front Porch Interview: Bob Sellers

Bob-Sellers-headshot-240x300

Bob Sellers was born in Tuscaloosa, AL on February 26, 1976 and is a lifelong resident of neighboring Pickens County. Unlike many musical artists, Bob was a rather late bloomer. His mother, Helen, taught him and his sister, Stephanie, to sing parts from the time they were old enough to speak, and his childhood was filled with performances mostly at his home church from their family trio. Prior to joining The Kingsmen, Bob managed and sang lead for eight years in The Capstone Quartet, a group he would eventually come to own. Bob credits his parents, Robert and Helen, for the Christian influence they placed on his life and for keeping him involved in church and music. Bob currently sings lead for the legendary Kingsmen quartet.

SGM- Was being a southern gospel artist something you aspired to do as a child?

BS- Definitely not. I had a lot of exposure to gospel music as a child. My aunt Delois Stephens on my mom’s side played piano and sang in a group and my great-uncle Tiny Hickman played guitar and sang in a group. My mother played piano and sang all the time, and I sang as a kid with my mother and sister in our home church. I was exposed to it all around but in my teenage years I got really shy and did not sing for years. Nobody I graduated high school with had any clue that I sang. A few years out of school my wife and late mother-in-law discovered that I did and their prodding and encouragement is what got me back into it. I started singing a few solos and getting involved with our local quartet scene and was eventually asked to join a part-time regional group in 2004. My real job was commercial loan officer at a bank, and I never aspired to or thought it would even be possible to sing for a living. God had plans I just didn’t know about.

SGM- Who were the biggest musical influences upon you growing up?

BS- Without a doubt, my mom, Helen Sellers. She taught me everything I know about singing and singing parts. She always had to sing the melody if she was playing piano (which was the only way we ever sang), so she’d teach my big sister Stephanie and I what part to sing in order to make the trio. I still love to gather around the piano and sing with my mom and sis!

SGM- Can you give us a brief summary of how you were selected by the Kingsmen as their new lead singer?

BS- Whew, long story! I’ll try to make it short as possible. The Kingsmen actually worked for me in the first concert I ever promoted. I got to know them a little then, but with the advent of social media mainly, I got to be friends with a few of the guys. I’d go see them every chance I got and visit a little. My group would even open for them now and then, so they’d heard me sing some. Bryan Hutson, lead singer at the time, emailed me once asked me about filling in for him one Thursday night when the group was coming to south Alabama to sing. Of course, I said I would, so I snuck out of the office a couple hours early and headed to whatever little town that was that they were in that night. It was about a two hour drive. My whole family, pastor and about half of my church came down. Everything went great and it felt like we’d sung together forever. A few months later Bryan announced his departure from the group, and after traveling with them several weeks filling in, Ray offered it to me. At the time I had become unhappy and had been praying for a way out of Banking. My wife Kansas and I prayed long and hard over the decision and after getting peace about it took the leap of faith. One of the main things we prayed about was taking the job yet being able to stay in Alabama. My wife and I have both been in Pickens County our entire lives and so has all our immediate family. She is an elementary school teacher and has great benefits, our kids are all involved in school here, etc. It’s just HOME, so I talked to Ray about that and he said he didn’t care where I lived as long as I could get to the bus every week. That was when I knew it was meant to be. We have not regretted it one bit.

SGM- Battle Cry was the 2014 release for you guys. When can we expect the next CD release?

BS- Well, we’re currently in search of a permanent tenor singer. We hope to finalize that soon, and we’ll be heading back to the studio just as soon as we can then.

SGM- What current events are coming up for the Kingsmen that you are most excited about?

BS-  I normally don’t have hardly any idea what’s coming up until I look at our schedule on Tuesday or so to figure out my logistics for the next tour. It’s over 450 miles from my home to The Kingsmen’s bus lot, so I meet them in all kind of different places a lot. My little car sits in a WalMart parking lot most of the time. I know the Daywind Quartet Festival at the amazing Greenbrier Resort in White Sulpher Springs, WV is coming up in April. That’s always a great event. We sing in my hometown of Gordo, AL at Highland Baptist Church the first Sunday in May. It’s always a special treat to sing at home and see so many friends and people near and dear to my heart. Then, there is the Memphis Quartet Show in June, the big Jackson, TN sing in July as well as the James D. Vaughan Festival. Everybody can visit our website at Kingsmen quartet website to find out more info on these and all the other events we have coming up.

SGM- Lastly, as a devoted family man, how do you balance life on the road and spending time with your family? 

BS- When I was working and singing, I was spending 40-50 hours every week at the bank and then singing all weekend. Sometimes we’d have 110-115 singing dates a year. Obviously I’m away from home more now, but at least when I am home, I can set my own schedule. I do some work on the side (painting, flooring, etc.), but I do it when I want to, not when I have to. Kansas and the kids are usually at school from 7 am to 5 or 6 in the evening, but I am home as much as possible when they are home. Summers are really great when she and the kids are out of school. We get to do a lot together then, especially, usually staying up to crazy hours of the morning. We’re a very close family (even with my soon-to-be 16-yr. old, thankfully!) and we have a lot of fun. I believe with all my heart that as God was preparing me for this season, He was also preparing Kansas, Corley, Ellie, Will and our families. We’ve made a LOT of changes, but the transition has been relatively seamless. Being away from home during stressful times is the worst part of traveling full time. If someone back home is sick, got hurt physically or emotionally, the car won’t start, water heater is leaking, had a bad day and so on, that’s where my heart is, no matter where I may be. Those are the times when just being gone is hard enough, much less putting on a suit and going in wearing a smile for a few hours. God always provides, though, and the positive aspects far outweigh the negative. My mom and dad, bless their hearts, are so good to help with things that can’t wait for me to get home. I don’t know what we’d do without them!

Editors note: For more information on the Kingsmen quartet and to keep up with lead singer Bob Sellers, check out the following links:

 

 

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