More than likely you’ve seen Ann Downing as a regular on the popular Gaither Homecoming Video series, however the majority of her time is spent maintaining a schedule of church concerts and planning for her weekly Thursday night online sing-a-long, "It Is What It Is...LIVE!".
Raised on a cotton farm in rural Mississippi, Ann dreamed of the day she’d sing Gospel music all over the world. Fresh out of high school she began to realize her dream upon securing a position with the legendary Speer Family. Five years later Paul Downing's booming bass voice singing "There She Is Miss America" in the middle of a restaurant captured Ann's attention, and later, her heart. Paul eventually proposed- twice. That's quite the story! Soon after marriage, Ann and Paul co-founded a group that helped shape Gospel music as it exists today and is credited by many as being the root that sprouted the Contemporary Christian genre. Ann became the winner of her industry’s highest honor—the Dove Award—for Female Vocalist within a year of co-founding the Downings. She is a Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame inductee for her work with the Speer Family. In September 2018, Ann was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame as a soloist.
Today, Ann continues to expand her mark on Gospel music through solo ministry. She is also a speaker and author (Skidmarks on the Road of Life). She is thankful God entrusted her with Middle Tennessee Women's Retreat for nearly thirty years. She and Paul were planning the first retreat just before he passed away. Sadly, the retreat was a victim of the 2020 COVID pandemic, but the spirit of MTWR lives on through the relationships and memories formed during those life-changing weekends.