Award-winning gospel group The Isaacs have spent five decades creating the undeniable family harmonies and distinct sound that have made them a favorite among audiences everywhere.
As matriarch Lily and her three children Ben Isaacs, Sonya Isaacs Yeary, and Becky Isaacs Bowman celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, the 2021 Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees continue to build on the legacy first launched by the family back in 1971, with a newfound excitement and never-waning passion for the music they love to make.
The masterful vocalists, instrumentalists and songwriters are known for their ability to bridge and blend genres, and their sound has led to invites from high-profile contemporaries including Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Paul Simon and many more to sing on numerous albums and share stages across the country.
The group’s origins reach back decades. Matriarch Lily Isaacs was born to parents who were Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors who moved to America in 1949 and became American citizens at Ellis Island in 1955. She got her start in the industry as an off-Broadway actress at the Woodstock Playhouse and a folk singer recording for Columbia Records in the early days of her career. Patriarch co-founder Joe Isaacs was a former Decca Recording artist who played with many legendary bluegrass artists, including Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks and Ralph Stanley when his brother Carter Stanley passed away. Lily first came to know the Lord in 1971 when a death in the family brought her to church for the first time, attending with then husband Joe. Soon after, they were inspired to begin singing Christian music, and laid the foundation upon which the Isaacs ministry has been built. Also a 30-year breast cancer survivor, she was the inspiration for the hit country song “I'm Gonna Love You Through It,” co-written by daughter Sonya and Jimmy Yeary and recorded by Martina McBride. Lily's testimony has been an inspiration to people around the world. Ben Isaacs, the bass player and vocalist for the group, spends much of his time off the road in the studio producing not only The Isaacs, but also other artists including The Gaither Vocal Band, The Oak Ridge Boys, Karen Peck, and the Cherryholmes, among others. He has been nominated for six Grammys and voted Producer of the Year several times in the Absolutely Gospel Awards, and has produced several Dove award-winning albums. Ben has also played and sung on projects for Don Williams, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Trace Adkins, Doyle Lawson, JD Crowe, and Paul Williams and has been voted Male Vocalist of the Year and Musician of the Year in a number of prominent award shows.
Sonya Isaacs is the mandolin player and vocalist for the Isaacs. After her solo country stint with Lyric Street Records, she concentrated on writing songs and has had cuts by Trisha Yearwood, Leann Rimes, Martina McBride, Vince Gill and more, along with numerous gospel cuts. Sonya has won several Dove Awards for her songs, and also enjoys singing backing vocals for such artists like Reba, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill, and more. She was also a background singer for Miley Cyrus in the Hannah Montana movie, and appeared on soundtracks on the Disney Films Geppetto and My Neighbor Totoro. The IBMA, SGMA, and CCMA have nominated Sonya for Female Vocalist for many years running, and she has won numerous awards in all these genres.
Becky Isaacs serves as guitar player and vocalist for the group. She started writing songs as a teen and landed her first number one with “Stand Still.” She often writes with sister Sonya and has had songs recorded by many fellow artists. Sonya and Becky have penned “Heroes,” which won Bluegrass Song of the Year from the Dove Awards, “Waiting in the Water,” “Your Cries Have Awoken The Master,” and “A Miracle Today.” She has also provided backing vocals for a variety of artists including Paul Simon, Alabama, Dolly Parton, Don Williams, Merle Haggard, Trace Adkins, and Russ Taff, and has received several Female Vocalist and Songwriter of the Year nominations.
The Isaacs first started playing on the Grand Ole Opry as special guests of Porter Wagner 30 years ago and are frequent guests on the weekly show. They also play over 100 dates a year for fans around the world, and have performed on prestigious stages like Carnegie Hall, and entertained fans at CMA Fan Fest, the Michael W. Smith 35th Anniversary Event, on “The Huckabee Show,” the "CMA Country Christmas" special, and many more. They often tour internationally, traveling to South Africa, Norway, Holland, Scotland, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the Faroe Islands, and more to bring their musical messages to fans around the globe. They are also desired performers of the National Anthem at many professional sporting events, including MLB games, NBA games, NFL games, and Nashville Predators games.
The much-lauded group has also been nominated at and performed on numerous awards shows, including the Grammys, GMA Dove Awards, where they have earned 19 Dove Awards collectively in various categories. They have also won trophies at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, the Singing News Fan Awards and the Inspirational Christian Country Awards. Three of their recent projects received consecutive GRAMMY nominations for “Best Roots Gospel Album” and “Best Roots Gospel Song.”
The Isaacs started a non-profit organization called The Isaacs Foundation to bless the less fortunate in America. They have also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to bless Israel, specifically Holocaust survivors, orphans and “lone” soldiers.
They also frequently guide hundreds of guests on a pilgrimage to Israel and explore the Holy Land through a unique and exclusive lens. “Our goal is to bring the message of hope to all seeking the love of our God,” says the family.