Rarely does an up-and-coming artist impress industry and fans so readily as to be recognized with a New Artist Of The Year nomination before releasing a single project. Such is the legacy of Nashville-based vocal group No Other Name. The 2011 Dove Award-nominated act impacted audiences not only with its music but also its heart for sharing the gospel.
Comprised of brother-sister duo, Sam and Laura Allen, along with their friend Chad Smith, the group met at a Nashville music conference. All three admit to knowing early on they shared a musical chemistry.
“During a break in classes, we decided to be tourists and visit the Ryman Auditorium,” says Laura of their decision to check out the legendary Nashville concert venue. “They were letting people get up on stage that day, so we were all taking turns. Then Chad got up there and sang. Sam and I looked and each other and said ‘Wow! He is good!’”
Sam and Laura soon recruited Chad to audition for a special concert to be held at the event’s conclusion. “We auditioned and made it on the program,” recalls Sam. “It was good to partner with somebody like Chad because so often you meet people who are great singers but can’t hear harmonies. Chad could do both really well.”
Sam and Laura not only realized how well Chad’s voice blended with theirs but how his commitment to ministry mirrored their own. Within a few months the siblings left the Christmas tree farm they had grown up on near Tampa, Florida, while Chad said goodbye to family in Louisiana. Soon all three young singers took up residence in Music City. Though No Other Name could easily have found success as a country or pop act, the style of music they wanted to sing was never in question.
“I was a music major in college and involved in every ensemble you could imagine,” says Sam, “but I think there is something special about using the gift God gave you as a specific ministry. I truly believe that you can minister with any kind of music.”
Laura agrees, “I would never say that music can take the place of preaching God’s word,” says Laura, “but at the same time people will listen to a song where they might not listen to a sermon. Music is clearly a language that can communicate to everybody.”
While Sam was attending Nashville’s famed Belmont University as a commercial music major, he caught the attention of legendary record executive Mike Curb who soon tapped No Other Name to become part of the Curb Records roster that includes Natalie Grant, Selah, Plumb, and other Christian music notables. The group’s national debut, The Other Side, released on Curb in October 2011.
Shooting music videos for “Lead You To The Cross” in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and “Let It Start With Me” in Bangkok, Thailand served to underscore the group’s aim to spread the gospel worldwide. No Other Name was a strong proponent of international missions and partnered with the International Mission Board to help recruit missionaries while joining the organization on trips to Nicaragua as well as Brazil.
No Other Name's follow-up album, Four:Twelve, released in 2014. The album was based on the group's favorite verse, Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
The group played their final concert in December 2014.