This is the most listened to episode in Speak UP history. Not quite sure why this seemed to go viral with over 17,000 listens, but it was a very good show. It must have really resonated with those “old country” roots.
LaDonna is the sister of the Gatlin Brothers and was part of the famous team until a split took place right before the Gatlin Brothers went Gold with “All the Gold in California.” She still loves her brothers dearly and talks about their success after she left the group.
LaDonna now is a motivational speaker across the country as well as uses her amazing voice to bless the crowds who book her.
More about LaDonna from her website: ladonnagatlin.com.
I was born into a family of entertainers…the Gatlin family. By the time I arrived on the scene, my three older brothers—Larry, Steve, and Rudy—were already “old pros” in the music business. They were appearing weekly on a local television show earning a whopping five cents each! As soon as I could carry a tune, I joined the group…and the Gatlin Trio became the Gatlin Quartet.
My parents’ love of Gospel music was the driving force behind us. So with dad at the steering wheel and mom at the piano we…
Sang…and sang…and sang. All over the country we sang. It was a fabulous way to grow up.
Fast forward to the early 1970’s…my big brother Larry ventured off to Nashville to make his mark in country music. He invited Steve, Rudy, and me to join him in that pursuit. So away we went. And we sang… and sang…and sang. The combination of our family harmony and Larry’s amazing songwriting was rewarded in 1976 when he received a Grammy Award for Country Song of the Year “Broken Lady.”
At the Opry
Gatlins at the Grand Ole Opry: 1975
Yes, we sang…and sang…and sang…until one day a funny thing happened on the road to stardom. I got married. That’s when it happened…the DEFINING MOMENT THAT RE-DEFINED MY LIFE. Even though I loved making music with my brothers, I realized that I had a different path to follow…a different “song to sing,” if you will. So in 1976 I took a giant leap of faith and said goodbye to a career in country music.
My brothers went on to produce hit records…I went on to produce two kids!
My brothers got famous…I got stretch marks!
But very simply put…I had a different song to sing!
I believe we each have that “song” within us. And that’s what I’m all about…helping people find their voice and “sing the song” they were born to sing!
I love my work, and I love my life. I live in a Dallas suburb with my husband (and best friend!) of 40 years, Tim Johnson. We have two adult children Caleb and Annie who have blessed us with five precious gifts from God…our grandchildren Hayden, Madilyn, Turner, Emma, and Harper.