Jenny Oaks Baker
Photo from Shadow Mountain Records
The daughter of apostle Dallin H. Oaks, Jenny Oaks Baker is one of the world's most successful violinists. She's released albums covering everything from Disney tunes to rock classics, and many of them have ended up on Billboard charts, including her 2010 album Then Sings My Soul, her 2012 album, Noël: Carols of Christmas Past, and her 2014 album Classic: The Rock Album.
Her 10th album, Wish Upon a Star: A Tribute to the Music of Walt Disney, was nominated for the 54th Grammy Awards’ Best Pop Instrumental Album. The album is a compilation of Disney classics such as “God Help the Outcasts” and “Beauty and the Beast,” arranged by Emmy-winning composer Kurt Bestor.
Classic: The Rock Album features classic rock favorites like "Stairway to Heaven" (Led Zeppelin), "Sweet Child of Mine" (Guns and Roses), and "Yesterday" (The Beatles). Her upcoming album, Awakening, will be released at the end of April.
Speaking with LDS Living about her music she said, "When I perform music that is uplifting and edifying, I feel the Spirit very powerfully. I hope that people who hear my music can feel this Spirit and it brings them peace, comfort and joy. I hope my music can touch hearts and help people feel the love of The Lord. My favorite thing to hear from the audience as a performer is not the applause—it is the tears."
► You'll also like: Just Asking: Jenny Oaks Baker
Baker performed as a first violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra for seven years before resigning in 2007 to devote more time to her family. Jenny and her husband have four children and reside in Utah.
Photo from TODAY
After coming in a close 2nd place on the seventh season of American Idol, David Archuleta's first single, “Crush,” debuted at #2 on the "Hot 100" chart and sold nearly 2 million copies. His self-titled debut album also debuted at #2 on the "Billboard 200" chart. His 2010 album, The Other Side of Down, reached #13 on the "Billboard 200" chart, and his 2012 album, BEGIN, reached #28.
In 2012, Archuleta put his music career on a two-year hiatus to serve a mission in Chile. (In the DVD David Archuleta: Called to Serve, you can see the pop star proselyting on the streets of Chile, as well as hear why he decided to serve and how his faith directs every decision in his life.)
► You'll also like: Behind the Scenes with David Archuleta
After he returned from his mission, Archuleta recorded "Glorious" for the 2014 documentary Meet the Mormons. Watch him perform it below:
Photo courtesy of Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight's epic musical career spans more than six decades. In fact, over the years, she's had 28 albums and 35 songs reach the Billboard charts.
Knight began singing at age 4, and at just 7 years old had her first taste of fame when she won Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour TV show contest in 1952. The next year, she, her sister Brenda, her brother Merald, and cousins Eleanor and William Guest formed a musical group called the Pips—named after her cousin, James “Pip” Woods.
After some changes in band members, Gladys Knight & the Pips eventually enjoyed several hit singles, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Friendship Train,” “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong," R&B chart-topper and Grammy-winning “Midnight Train to Georgia,” as well as “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” The group amicably disbanded in 1989, with the Pips retiring and Knight embarking on a successful solo career. (They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.)
In 1991, Knight released a successful solo LP, Good Woman, which hit #1 on the "R&B Album" chart and featured the #2 R&B hit "Men." She has also won four Grammy Awards.
Knight joined the Church in 1997. Her desire to add “a little something” to Church music eventually inspired her to create an all-volunteer, multicultural LDS choir that would bring a new level of energy and cultural awareness to traditional hymns. The choir, called the Saints Unified Voices, is comprised of more than 100 people and has a two-fold purpose. First, they aim to spread the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ by providing an opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise enter an LDS meetinghouse to feel the Spirit. Second, they desire to help members of the Church embrace the cultural diversity of people worldwide coming into the Lord’s kingdom. “Never in a million years did I ever dream that I would be the director of a choir like this—one that showcases the energy, the fire, and the heart of the music of our culture,” she told LDS Living. Gladys Knight & the Saints Unified Voices won a Grammy Award in 2005 for their album One Voice.
► You'll also like: How Gladys Knight Became a Mormon
In 2014, Knight completed a new solo album titled Where My Heart Belongs—a heartfelt mix of gospel and inspirational songs. “This is my testimony,” she says of the album. “I wanted to remind people of Christ and what He’s done for us. We need to be reminded all the time of His grace, His mercy, His love, and the way back home.”
Photo from the Salt Lake Tribune
When Paul Cardall was born in 1973, doctors only gave him days to live.
“When I was born, the doctors said I had half a heart,” he told LDS Living. “And essentially, that was right.”
Cardall, who was born with congenital heart defect (CHD), says doctors didn’t know if he had long to live. His tiny heart was missing the tricuspid valve (a condition called tricuspid atresia), a vital passageway that carries blood from the right atrium to the right ventricle. Without it, the heart cannot properly oxygenate blood for the rest of the body. Cardall pulled through—when he was 22 hours old, doctors performed an open heart surgery that allowed him to live.
“I knew my heart had problems, and that was always in the back of my mind,” he says. “But my parents used it as a teaching tool. I’d always get priesthood blessings before treatments, and we came to see it as a blessing God gave us.”
Cardall received a heart transplant in September 2009. Now almost 43 years old, Cardall is a highly successful composer and pianist who's had seven albums hit Billboard's "Top New Age Albums" chart, with Sacred Piano reaching #5 and New Life and 40 Hymns for Forty Days hitting #1. His albums have also appeared on the "Top Christian Albums," "Top Independent Albums," and "Top Heatseekers" charts.