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You know the difference between shame and guilt? Guilt tells you that you did something wrong. Shames tells you that you are the thing that is wrong.

—Russ Taff to Leading Hearts

by doing so, they will make a difference. Russ grew up in a Pentecostal pastor’s home. Upon arriving in a town to take over a new pastorate, life was filled with fresh beginnings. That all would quickly change over a short period of time. Russ recalls, “My dad struggled with alcoholism, and our home was not a happy place. We were told often that we weren’t going to amount to anything.” Russ understands now that the cycle of his own father’s addiction greatly affected the household and his mother’s capacity to provide a loving and stable environment. This resulted in his father’s inability to stay in one pastorate for very long, and his mother was often verbally and physically abusive.

MULTIPLE GRAMMY AWARD WINNING VOCALIST AND SONGWRITER, RUSS TAFF, HAS CREATED SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE SONGS IN GOSPEL MUSIC.

The singer says, “Because of that, I grew up carrying so much shame. Even when I joined the Imperials, there was always this thing that would make me stand back and drop my head, and this voice would say, ‘You’re a fraud. You don’t have any business singing up there.’ You know the difference between shame and guilt? Guilt tells you that you did something wrong. Shame tells you that you are the thing that is wrong. I had so much shame.”

Tori now has a much better understanding of how Having been an integral part of the Imperials, as well Russ’ shame played out in their early years of as having launched an amazing solo career, Russ’ marriage. She remembers, “All of this was before iconic voice of grit and soul is etched upon many of Russ began self-medicating. The shame he was our hearts and minds. What some may not realize carrying wasn’t about the drinking at this point. is that his wife, Tori, is an equally accomplished and Knowledge is power, and finding out what you are gifted artist in her own right, having co-written and dealing with—who the true enemy is—was really arranged multiple award-winning songs. important in our life. The fact that Russ had that low level of self-worth is the reason that alcohol, when it Leading Hearts Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down to speak with this dynamic duo. They have a story to tell, and their desire is that -continued on p. 50-

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Profile for Leading Hearts Magazine

Leading Hearts December 2018 / January 2019