By others' standards, Lillian Lilly lives a simple,
happy life. But by her definition, her life and musical mission have been
marvels, if not small miracles. Born Lillian Jointer in Wesson, Mississippi,
Lilly has been singing since the age of six. She recalls, "I'd sit up at
night and dream of being a professional singer. That was my dream." The
middle child of thirteen children, Lillian and her twin sister, Carolyn,
began singing duets in local churches during elementary school. "My mom
and aunt were called The Two Star Singers, so my sister and I called
ourselves The Two Star Juniors."
Lillian's teen-age years, The Two Star Juniors expanded and became known as
The Traveling Stars. The reason for the change in name was that the group was
going to start traveling all over the country. "But we only sang one
service outside Mississippi - in Flint, Michigan," Lillian said. The
group eventually broke up as the members got married. Lillian wed her high
school sweetheart, Waldo Lilly Sr.
1973, Lillian again raised her voice for praising God's name, as she was now
a mother and a singer. On weekends, she sang solos across Mississippi and
Louisiana. At the same time, she worked 19 years, in nearby Brookhaven, at a
lawn mower factory. For the next decade, she continued to sing at Mississippi
and Louisiana churches on weekends and opened concerts promoted by Leon
"Pop" Williams (father of gospel pioneer Frank Williams) in nearby
McComb, Mississippi. "I used to open a lot of concerts for him when the
big acts would come in - The Jackson Southernaires, The William Brothers,
Slim & The Supreme Angels, The Mighty Clouds Of Joy…"
1988, Frank Williams formed Malaco's Mississippi Mass Choir and signed up
Lillian as an original member. Lillian went on to become a principal vocalist
on all five widely successful albums by the Grammy-nominated choir and sang
lead on many of its hits. In 1993, the lawn mower factory closed and the
choir became Lillian's job. In addition to touring as a soloist, she remains
a principal vocalist for the choir. Her son, Waldo Lilly Jr., follows in her
footsteps. He sings in the Mississippi Mass Choir and performs a duet with
Lillian, Holy City, on the choir's album; I'll See You In The Rapture.
largest personal achievement came when she became the first solo recording
artist to break out from the world's Number 1 Mississippi Mass Choir. Critics
and fans continue to rave about Lilly's powerful vocals. "It's just now
beginning to sink in," the long time Mississippi Mass lead singer said,
"But I guess I'm a person who always has hope."