Twila Paris (born December 28, 1958) is a Contemporary Christian Music singer-songwriter, author, and pianist. Since 1980, Paris has released 22 albums, amassed 33 number one Christian Radio singles, and was named the Gospel Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year three years in a row. Many of her earlier songs such as "He Is Exalted", "We Will Glorify", "Lamb of God", and "We Bow Down", are found in church hymnals or otherwise sung in church settings. She was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in May 2015.
As a child she released her first album, Little Twila Paris, in 1965. The album included songs drawn from among those she sang with her family in their evangelistic outreaches.
Paris released her first full-length album, Knowin' You're Around, in 1981, and along the way she has written books, recorded children's music, and created worship songs.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Paris released mainly contemporary Christian pop songs. But in recent years, she has focused on recording new versions of some of her worship standards and writing new praise and worship music. Her 2005 album He Is Exalted: Live Worship collects a number of favorite songs commonly used in praise and worship of Paris's and presents them in a more typical style of live worship music. After her song "He Is Exalted" was used in churches in Brazil, Paris re-recorded it in the Portuguese translation they were using. This version appears on her 1992 album Sanctuary. Sanctuary won the GMA Praise & Worship Album of the Year, and in 1995, her song "God Is In Control" won a GMA Song of the Year award. She has won five GMA Dove Awards and three American Songwriter Awards.
Although associated for much of her career with Star Song Communications, EMI switched her to Sparrow Records in 1996, before her contract ended after 2003. In 2005, she switched to the praise and worship label Integrity Music for He Is Exalted: Live Worship.
Paris released Small Sacrifice on December 26, 2007, which was available only through her Web site and at Lifeway Christian Stores. This album married the two parts of her career by including both inspirational pop/adult contemporary songs and original praise and worship compositions. Her first radio single from Small Sacrifice was "Live to Praise". Small Sacrifice was released for wider distribution by Koch Records on February 24, 2009.
In 2012, Paris released a patriotic-themed project that includes two new cuts ("God of Our Fathers" and "America the Beautiful") and ten cuts that Paris hand-picked from other projects. The purpose of the project is to inspire patriots with themes of God's protection and love, even in difficult times.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Paris toured extensively. As a new artist, she opened for the Imperials. After receiving her first No. 1 hit, she began headlining her own concert tours, with such notable opening artists as Wayne Watson, Clay Crosse, Phil Keaggy, Avalon, Aaron-Jeoffrey, Fernando Ortega, and Out of the Grey. She was featured in the "Young Messiah" tour and co-hosted with Steven Curtis Chapman both the My Utmost For His Highest and Child of the Promise tours. In the 2000s, she continues to tour but not as extensively. For the past few years, Paris has joined Steve Green, Wayne Watson, Larnelle Harris and Michael Card for the Christian Classics Tour.
Paris has created a body of work in a modern hymn style. Her compositions are included in hymnals used by several Christian denominations and various Charismatic churches. Kelly Willard and Jamie Owens-Collins sang background vocals for her on her Keeping My Eyes On You album and sang as a trio on the hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" on The Warrior Is a Child.
She is the daughter of Oren II and Rachel Inez Paris. Oren Paris II is the founder and Chancellor of Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arkansas. Paris married her manager Jack Wright in 1985. Paris indicated in an interview that Wright had contracted the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) causing him chronic fatigue.
Paris and Wright have a son.
1965: Little Twila Paris
1980: Knowin' You're Around
1982: Keepin' My Eyes On You
1984: The Warrior Is a Child
1985: Kingdom Seekers
1987: Same Girl
1988: For Every Heart
1989: It's the Thought... (Christmas album)
1990: Cry for the Desert
1992: A Heart That Knows You
1993: Beyond a Dream
1995: The Time Is Now (EP)
1996: Where I Stand
1998: Perennial: Songs for the Seasons of Life
1999: True North
2001: Bedtime Prayers, Lullabies and Peaceful Worship (children's album)
2003: House of Worship
2005: He Is Exalted: Live Worship
2007: Small Sacrifice
2014: Hymns (EP)
1996: The Early Years (selections from Kingdom Seekers and Same Girl)
2000: Signature Songs
2001: Greatest Hits: Time & Again
2004: 8 Great Hits
2006: Ultimate Collection
2012: God Shed His Grace (with two new tracks)
2014: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection
Top-ten singles (Adult Contemporary Christian Charts)
No. 1 "The Warrior is a Child" (1984-11-02)
No. 2 "Do I Trust You" (1984-12-26)
No. 1 "Runner" (1986-04-01)
No. 2 "Lamb of God" (1986-06-25)
No. 10 "He is Exalted" (1986-10-20)
No. 1 "Prince of Peace" (1987-09-07)
No. 7 "Holy is the Lord" (1987-11-16)
No. 2 "Bonded Together" (1988-03-21)
No. 4 "Send Me" (1988-06-13)
No. 1 "Every Heart That is Breaking" (1988-10-31)
No. 1 "True Friend" (1989-02-06)
No. 3 "Never Ending Love" (1989-05-15)
No. 1 "Sweet Victory" (1989-09-04)
No. 1 "I See You Standing" (1990-09-17)
No. 6 "How Beautiful" (1991-01-07)
No. 7 "Cry For the Desert" (1991-03-18)
No. 1 "Nothing But Love" (1991-07-22)
No. 7 "Undivided Heart" (1991-10-14)
No. 1 "The Joy of the Lord" (1992-02-10)
No. 1 "I'm Still Here" (with Bruce Carroll) (1992-05-25)
No. 1 "Destiny" (1993-01-18)
No. 5 "A Heart That Knows You" (1993-04-12)
No. 1 "God is in Control" (1994-02-21)
No. 1 "Neither Will I" (1994-06-13)
No. 2 "Watch and Pray" (1994-09-19)
No. 4 "Seventy Years Ago" (1995-01-23)
No. 1 "The Time is Now" (1995-04-24)
No. 4 "Faithful Friend" (with Steven Curtis Chapman) (1996-05-13)
No. 1 "(I Am) Not Afraid Anymore" (1996-08-26)
No. 1 "Run to You" (1999-10-25)
GMA Dove Awards
1992: Praise and Worship Album of the Year, Sanctuary
1993: Female Vocalist of the Year
1994: Female Vocalist of the Year
1995: Female Vocalist of the Year
1995: Song of the Year, "God is in Control"
1996: Special Event Album of the Year – My Utmost For His Highest (various artists) (shared)
1997: Special Event Album of the Year – Tribute: The Songs of Andrae Crouch (various artists) (shared)
1998: Special Event Album of the Year – God With Us: A Celebration of Christmas Carols (various artists) (shared)
1999: Long Form Music Video of the Year – My Utmost for His Highest (various artists) (shared)
2002: Children's Music Album of the Year – Bedtime Prayers, Lullabies and Peaceful Worship
Making a Christmas Memory (1990) (With Jeanie Price)
In This Sanctuary: An Invitation to Worship the Savior (1992) (co-authored with Dr. Robert Webber)
Celebrate the Gift of Jesus Every Day (1993, 1994)
Perennial: Meditations for the Seasons of Life (1998)
Bedtime Prayers and Lullabies (2001)