Kristi Sayles is the song leader for the True Gospel Mission Church in Camden, Tennessee. She has taught at Camden Elementary School since 1995. Kristi is married to Terry Sayles and has two sons, one step-son, and five grandchildren.
Kristi’s entrance into the music recording scene was purely by accident, as she herself explains: “One night, I visited my sister-in-law’s church and was asked to sing. I hadn’t prepared anything or brought any performance tracks, so I sang “Higher Ground” out of the songbook. I truly thought I sounded awful since the piano player and I were not exactly on the same wave length, but afterwards these two people approached me and asked if I would like to record a Christian album! They owned New Life Temple Records in Waverly, Tennessee. Wow! Talk about an unexpected surprise! They said they felt the anointing in my singing. What better compliment could a gospel singer get?”
The ‘these two people’ she refers to are none other than James Hedge and Janie Burkett for whom Kristi continues to hold deep love and appreciation. She continues: “First, we recorded nine cover songs that I loved. Since Dare to Believe was one of the songs on the CD, I loved the title and put it as the name of the CD. I didn’t try to sell them. I simply gave those CD’s away to friends and family because they weren’t truly my songs anyway.”
The following year, Kristi’s husband, Terry, asked about her recording her own originals. He said that he would love to have a CD of her own songs. And this is where Kristi’s story takes a more heartfelt turn.
Terry is being treated for stage 4 colon cancer in Georgia, as Kristi explains; “Thanks to James, Janie, and my son, Jason – we made it happen! Now, I can’t say exactly why, but I felt led to name this CD “Dare to Believe” as well. I guess I just love the challenge of believing God’s word against all odds.”
Kristi Sayles, who has no desire to be famous as she loves her teaching job, adores her husband and wants to fulfill his every wish. She is trying to use whatever resources she has to be able to raise money for her husband’s cancer treatments, which include daily chemo and radiation treatments.
The Dare to Believe CD forms an integral part of that quest, and moreover it also fulfills Terry’s wish for his wife to create a CD of original songs. Now add-in the fact that Kristi’s son, Jason Mangrum played keyboards and took care of all the music on the album, and you almost have a match made in heaven.
In a family where wishes, necessities, and fulfillment coincide with faith, the will of reaching any preset goals will be hard to suppress. And it’s evident right off the bat, from the title of Kristi’s CD, Dare to Believe.
The CD contains 13 tracks, where each song has a strong story and personal theme all of its own. The music is inspirational, spiritual, life-changing, and obviously Kristi’s inner truth! Hearing her sing, regardless of whether or not you like her voice, or even this kind of music, you can feel Kristi’s spiritual heart throughout the songs.
It is extremely rare to find artists where you believe the music they sing, is really a part of their daily living processes. This here is definitely that rarity! You can feel that Kristi has an intimacy with God that transcends audiences and congregational interaction.
Kristi’s voice is so rich and her styling so pure you feel like you’re in the room with her worshiping and praising our Savior. I also liked the production because her country-styled sound has a different flavor than most contemporary gospel artists. And of course I can’t stress enough how the message of each song is so dynamic.
Once again, this is not an album where you choose highlights or standout tacks, though I could obviously name a few of my favorites. The point being, that each song is like a chapter in a novel, you have to experience them all, to perfectly grasp the global theme.
There is freshness and truth in her approach, as Kristi Sayles works her magic, to benefit her ailing husband Terry, the rest of her family, and ultimately the glory of Christ. You could easily be a supporting, positive and redeeming part of this touching story, by purchasing the “Dare to Believe” CD on the first occasion that presents itself!