Growing up in a household filled with musical talent, Aaron Terrell was destined to inherit the natural gift of singing. Watching his father, who is also a singer, gave the Kentucky State University alumnus the tools he needed to work on his craft at an early age.
It didn’t take Terrell long to master his skills. By the age of five, he was directing the choir at his home church in Aurora, Illinois. His raw musical abilities, along with the teachings of his father, put him on pace to have a gifted career in music.
“I’ve had a love for singing and music for a very long time,” said Terrell, who graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in public administration in 2007. “Music has always been in my family. My dad is a singer as well, and he won many competitions as a child. So it was natural for me to be attracted to the craft.”
As Terrell grew, his undeniable talents as a singer and a choir director led to early opportunities that helped shape that he is today. During his teenage years, he directed the Inspirational Choir from Waubonise Valley High School that grew to over 120 voices under his leadership. Taking on this task was Terrell’s way of giving back and showing appreciation to those who praised his gifts.
“It was a way to give back to my school and community by sharing my musical talents with others. From this group, I was asked to start coaching voices in the choir and have been doing it ever since.”
When it was time for Terrell to pick the college where he’d further his education, he hoped to find a place that had people who could advance his musical skills. Kentucky State was perfect for him because of Dr. Carl H. Smith and Dr. Vernell Bennett, two voice coaches who took Terrell under their wings. Terrell credits his mentors for helping him add to his musical repertoire.
“I owe a lot of my musical advancements to them. The musicality, interpretation, and mentorship I received from those two helped turn me into the musician I am today.”
Smith said Terrell worked in his office during his undergraduate career.
“Very reliable. Very sharp. Very efficient,” Smith said. “He’s a fine young man.”
Today, Terrell is the worship pastor, leader of the Praise and Worship Team, and a choir director at Logan Street Baptist Church in Illinois. He also mentors a youth choir and participates yearly as a judge of the NAACP Act-So competition in the category of Vocal Classical Contemporary.
Terrell advises other budding singers and directors to keep learning to develop their musical ear.
“Learn different types of music because it will help mature your musical ear. I would also share with them that we are always learning. You have not arrived, and frankly, you don’t want to because when you believe you have, you’re saying that there’s nothing else you can learn.”