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The Story of BarlowGirl

August 25th, 2010 by

BarlowGirl is one of the most inspirational and beloved bands in the Christian Rock industry (stay with me, atheist readers), and they are as famous for their great music as they are for their controversial “no dating” philosophy.

BarlowGirl songs are nearly all classics in the Christian music world, and are adopted by youth groups and tribute bands all over the world. If you are at all open to Christian rock music, you can buy a BarlowGirl CD and love pretty much every track (it’s all killer, no filler).

Meet the Barlow Girls

BarlowGirl is comprised of three sisters: Rebecca “Becca” Barlow, Alyssa Barlow, and Lauren Barlow. Becca plays guitar, Alyssa rocks the keyboard, and Lauren bangs the drums. Each of the sisters are 2-3 years apart in age. Becca is about to turn 31, the Alyssa is 28, and Lauren is 25.

As children, the Barlow sisters sang background vocals for their father (a talented and accomplished musician) who wrote and performed worship music specifically for the children’s youth groups (the Barlow sisters sang the kid’s voices as needed in his songs). As they grew older and wanted to be more involved in the music, they all learned piano, then drifted to their own instruments, toured with their father, and then stepped to the forefront in 2001 to unofficially establish themselves as BarlowGirl, the band. Their dad, Vince Barlow, gracefully demoted himself to band manager.

Despite spending most of their adult lives writing, performing, and appearing as a group, the Barlow sisters are still highly independent women, each with their own battles won and lessons learned (more on that to come in future posts).

About Their “No Dating” Philosophy

Apart from their music, the Barlow sisters are well known for their unique stance on dating and sex: Namely, they do not date, and they do not have sex.

Back when the Barlow sisters were in their early teens, the Barlow Family had a house rule: No dating until you turn 16. Naturally, the girls eagerly awaited their 16th birthdays. But just as Becca and Alyssa were surpassing and approaching their 16th birthdays (each sister is 3 years apart in age), the Barlow parents MaryAnn and Vince Barlow sat the girls down and through them a curve ball….

Facing the reality that their daughters would soon begin to date, MaryAnn and Vince Barlow began to reflect on the dating relationships they had engaged in before they found each other. They both felt that those pre-marriage dating relationships were painful, stressful wastes of time.

So they posed a challenge to their daughters: “What if you didn’t date at all? What if you just focused on yourself until the right person comes along?”, they asked.

Note that they didn’t demand that their daughters not date. They simply posed the idea, and let the Barlow sisters decide for themselves. Although initially appalled, young Becca, Alyssa, and Lauren reflected on the idea and couldn’t get over how right it felt.

So they made the tough decision: they committed their lives to on their music with the hopes that some day marriage and love would find them at the appropriate time, and that they’ll recognize it when it does. In their own words (from their song “Average Girl”): “No more dating, I’m just waiting…my prince will come for me.”

And the rest is Christian Rock history. Through their own personal decision not to date, and the music they’ve penned in defense of their ideals, the Barlow sisters have inspired millions of people.


1980’s: Musician Vince Barlow decides, after the birth of his three daughters, that he’s meant for a higher calling. His wife MaryAnn supports him has he returns to school to pursue a graduate degree that will make him an in-demand new minister.

1990’s: The young Barlow sisters start getting musical


1997-1998: Vince Barlow and “the Barlow girls” tour the country playing their unique worship songs for children at various church events.

Early 1999: After making a name for themselves at their church performances, Vince Barlow (and daughters) start get calls from Christian Music festival promoters.

July 1999: Vince Barlow and the Barlow girls perform at LifeFest ’99, their first festival performance. At the concert, Vince runs into old friend and Superchic[k] founder Max Hsu. The Barlow sisters hang out with Superchic[k]. After noticing the rings on the Barlow girls’ fingers,  Superchic[k] asks “Are you married”. The Barlow sisters explain that the rings represent their commitment not to date until marriage.

Inspired by their commitment not to date, Superchic[k] writes a new song called “BarlowGirl” (lyrics here).

2000: The Barlow sisters start feeling the urge to stop playing background for their dad and perform on their own, as a new band. Vince Barlow steps down gracefully and lets his girls take the spotlight.

2001: BarlowGirl (the band) is officially formed, as the girls set aside their focus on children’s music and step out on their own. Their father, Vince Barlow, gracefully steps into the background, becoming band manager.

January 8th, 2002: The song “Barlow Girls” is released as the first track on Superchic[k]’s Karaoke Superstars CD. It becomes huge radio hit, drawing attention to the cause of not dating. Some teens even refer to themselves as “BarlowGirls” because they’ve chosen to wait on sex. Also, this creates instant name recognition for the newly-formed “BarlowGirl”.

Summer 2002: Somewhat insecure about their ability to play on their own, the Barlow girls start looking for opportunities to hone their skills. Through Superchic[k] founder Max Hsu, they find out about the Music in the Rockies seminar, where bands can come and hone their skills (in a healthy competition with professional judges on hand). BarlowGirl makes it to the finals, proving to themselves that they have what it take to “hang with the boys”.

Fall & Winter 2002 (the dark time): A contact at a big record label tell the Barlow girls that he’s interested in signing them to a record contract. Overjoyed and ready to start their future as a signed band, Lauren and Alyssa drop out of college, and Becca quits her job. Six months later, the same guy calls them and says that he’s leaving the label and oh, by the way, nobody else is really interested.

Devastated, and unable to return to their previous lives (Becca had already quit, and it was too late to go back to school for the semester), the girls write the song that would become their most beloved hit: Never Alone.

Early 2003: Another record industry contact has the Barlow girls play a quick private concert for him in a church basement. He likes their sound, and invites them to Nashville to record a Demo.

May 2003: The Barlow girls meet Otto Price, the amazing man who would become their permanent and much-loved producer.

After helping the girls record their first demo, Otto Price introduces them to Susan Riley, the founder of Fervent Records. After hearing their demo (and another private concert), Susan offers BarlowGril a record contract. They take time to think about it, then sign it.

Otto Price also encourages Lauren to take formal drum lessons, makes Alyssa comfortable with being a bassist, and pushes Becca to try more solos.

February 24th, 2004: BarlowGirl’s first album (“BarlowGirl”) is released to rave reviews and massive response from fans.

48 Responses to “The Story of BarlowGirl”

  1. brit says:

    this is unusual to me…why dont they get married…im sure tons of guys would want to marry them.they have to put themselve out there..or maybe they dont want to…cus im only 20 and im planing on get married asap bcus i know that its better to marry then to burn with desire..and another thing…if u dont make an effort to get to know a person through dating how will u ever know if a guy demonstrates Godly reactions…u have to study a mans reactions to see if he can make a Godly man and that can only be done by getting to know him by hanging around him and having dating…that doesnt mean u have to kiss and make luv.i dont agree with this stuff…

  2. Mike says:

    Hi Brit,

    Thanks for the comment! To my understanding, the Barlow Girls still hang out with guys, and still have guys that are close friends — they just don’t kiss/have sex with those guys. They depend on conversation alone to reveal whether or not a guy is THE right guy for them. Like you said, conversation and reactions can reveal A TON. But so far (despite the thousands of guys beating down their door), they haven’t had a guy friend that really stuck them on the “he’s the one” level. I’m sure they’ve had close calls.

    But still, their decision is controversial for a reason — a lot of people think they’re totally insane. But hey, they make great music along the way. Sometimes great artists need to be a little tortured…it keeps them true.

  3. Sarah says:

    Love them and their ideals! I practice the same ones :)

  4. blueyes says:

    I strongly admire these girls and thier ideals. in todays world of materialism and minimalism they are setting a great example and raising the bar for social responsibility and self respect for women in this country. I saw/heard them for the first time in January 2011 at the March for Life rally, and have been a major fan/supporter since. Thier message is brave and strong, and the music blew me away. I look forward to what they will bring in the future. I pray for them that they will remain strong, and have courage in the face of any adversity they may face. God bless these ladies.

  5. Roy says:

    av always loved your music, i always will, am your number 1 fan. but ad like 2 know, what is the relationship between y’all and superchic(k)?

  6. me says:

    i’m just using them for a music project at school…

  7. Anonymous says:

    HA! Their dad works at the church I attended (before I converted to Islam)…gives me hope. For the longest time, I’ve found it hard to believe that there were any women out there who waited and whom I found attractive on more that just a physical level (if at that). This give me hope that I might find the one…just gotta learn to enjoy life and grow as a person…thanks for the article…definitley helps…

  8. Popcicle says:

    I love these girls!! i listen to them just about every single day and my favorite song is “never alone”!!!! barlow girl rocks

  9. Daisy says:

    Barlowgirl is super awesome and I take that idea too. I’m only 15 but right now its like the only thing that matters is that I get closer to God and develop myself as a young woman. Guys can xome later they will always be there. I’m just confident that when I meet the right guy God will show me that. I’m sure that is along the lines of what they were thinking when they made their decision. Plus they’re music rocks

  10. Matt says:

    I listen to BarlowGirl all the time. I found them on YouTube trying to find something to take me away from the world’s desires(all kinds). Struggling with my faith in God and found, “I need you to love me.” ever since then I have been pouring myself into the word of God and giving him all the right and wrong I’ve done. I actually had a bad relationship get worse when I told her I was a devote Christian. She cursed me down and asked the old question, “if you had to choose me or God?!” well God without a doubt. And she broke up with me. And ever since I’ve been doing God’s work to evangelise. I was curious if these girls were married and found this info. Thank you for doing this research. Sometimes God has plans made for some that they aren’t meant to be with someone but, instead serve the Lord and be an example and positive influence. I pray for everyone here that’s posted and the author and these girls. So that you may become closer to God and for those that drifted away, find your way back to Christ Jesus the King.

  11. Rosey says:

    What happened to Joshua? (their older brother?) No mention of him…

  12. whasican says:

    for all you haters out there for your information barlow girl is a great ban and have great ideas dont be jelous cuz your not them they are great rolemodels and you know it you should give them a chance and listen to the lyrics nd the messages this is not ment for just the haters its also for the people who just like the way the song sounds come on listen to the good message they are giving you

  13. whasican says:

    aha p.s i love their musica

  14. Js says:

    I thought Becca and Alyssa were married? Are they? I saw rings on their fingers…

  15. Mike says:

    Hey Js,

    Those might just be promise rings, but if you can find me and article confirming Becca and/or Alyssa’s marriage, I’ll throw you $20 in reward money ($10 for each sister you prove is married).

  16. Emo-Cowgirl says:

    Js & Mike,

    None of them are married. Instead of wearing purity rings their parents bought them a wedding set with a small diamond. So it’s like they’re more or less married just to God right now.

    I’ve always loved their music. I’ve grown up listening to them. I’m 22 and haven’t had a boyfriend or anything. I have a lot of guy friends from the different youth ministried I attend around my university.

  17. Mike says:

    Thanks for the update, Emo-Cowgirl! The BarlowGirls continue to amaze.

  18. God's Girl says:

    I am their number one fan! I love their music, I love their stand on purity, and I love their passion for Christ!!! We share the same passion!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I know the “Love & War” record was a 2009 release, but that thing should still be purchased and listened to by any believer who has never heard it. Seriously, track three is straight-up powerful! I just heard it for the first time right at the end of 2011, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it at least two or three times a day! Thanks a ton for recording it, and making it so about glorifying Christ! You girls are like the Tim Tebows of Christian rock! Heck, maybe one of you should start hanging out with him. Talk about a couple that would advance God’s Kingdom. Sheesh. God would be über-glorified, the devil would be supremely angry, and a bunch of souls would be snatched from the gates of hell! God bless you all richly in Christ!

  20. Bethany says:

    Thank you soo mcuh Barlow Girl!!! U have brought me closer to God, nd helped me whenever i strayed away!! I am 15, nd life is hard to live by what you guys live for, and alothough im not perfect, im up to your challenge!! Starting now! God Bless!!! Pray for me please!!! :):)

  21. Claude says:

    I have just read this inspiring article. I am looking for a wife and am often ridiculed for waiting as long as I have. We live in a world were you are not looked at as sane if you don’t have sex. I have never heard of the BarlowGirls but after reading this article and [really this website as a whole] I feel encouraged to carry on until I find a helpmeet. Thank you so much.

  22. Ariette says:

    I love the barlowgirls!! actually, never alone was the first Christian song I ever heard and from then on their music has really helped me with my relationship with GOD. But this whole not dating thing is getting weird now. Its easy to vow never to date when your in your early 20s but Becca is like 31 now. Its not cute anyone, and its not inspiring any more either. I’m sure as a woman she has needs that are not going to be fulfilled by wearing purity rings. I did the whole non dating thing, until I realised that dating/not doesn’t make me a better or worse Christian. its being sexually pure that we should aim at achieving whether or not we date. Im 22 now and im happy I made that decision, even though I haven’t found the right guy yet, I know I will because i don’t wanna end up 31 and single.

  23. Emily says:

    I am so greatful for the BarlowGirls and their testimony. I was at a point in my life that hurt extremly. I was close to sucicide. After almost losing my mother to a glass window in my school building in third grade and having to care for her most of my life, losing my great grandma to a stroke on christmas eve, being bullied, and having my dad come home and be angry every night i was close to the edge. The music of the barlowgirls has helped me to start surviving along with friends that i made at a new church. I made the commitment to be a Barlow Girl and i thought i had a friend following as well but now even though im struggling with it following through and actually helping other girls to commit as well.

  24. Fr. Mike Solazzo says:

    Stumbled across this article. What a great and pleasant surprise. So happy to see the girls grown and doing so well. So proud of them and the family. Proud to know you. Keep doing God’s work.

  25. jessa says:

    i really appreciate you all …..all called to be God’s holy people …thanks cuz your article is really amazing it helps me to get closer to G0d …how i loved it…… much …….

  26. Erin says:

    While I admire the values of the Barlowgirls…. I think their dating rules are not logical. You can “date” a man without kissing or having sex. I dated my husband for a full year without doing either of these things, but we were still committed to each other. Maybe to each his or her own, but I do not think that there is anything wrong with Christian dating.

  27. Emmanuella Ogbonna says:

    I think some of us here are getting their values wrongly! I am 24, still a virgin by God’s grace,in the ministry and i share that life with them. 1thes.5:22 says we should flee every appearance of evil. They said they won’t date until marriage meaning until a man who is fit by the Lord to marry them comes along,they will remain single and not the other way round most ladies do,keep dating anyone they meet,some partners dissappoint them,they keep dating until they date one as long enough he decides to marry them. The commitment of no dating until marriage is not a ‘hostile’ launch on men but simply that you keep all men as friends,no special outings with one until a right man comes in for marriage ONLY,that’s only when getting to know a man comes in,but most times this process depends on your walk with the God. When you see the right man if your Spiritual you will know,then a little knowing,declare intensions and straight to the aile. The idea is to eradicate any breeding ground that leads to premarital sex. You don’t date just every man that shows interest in you,no! Most people date purposelessly,just to have fun or know each other,that’s subtle,what does the guy want? And that’s where premarital sex breeds. I believe their spirit haven’t seen their husbands and in rare cases some people may never marry.

  28. Zaire says:

    So… does anybody know if they did get married? I mean, they probably are married by now right? I heard they retired.

  29. marielle dias says:

    uma linda historia…

  30. Sarai Torres says:

    They truly are an example to today’s females. I’m almost 26 and still waiting for the right one. It’s better to wait I’m gods time and for the right person :/

  31. Cierra says:

    I’m almost 27 and never had a boy fiend never been kissed and never had sex. One day God lead me on YouTube to watch the Barlow girls and I learned they are waiting on God just like me. I get teased for never having a date but I know God called me for a life of purity. Wait on God cause when he bless US it will be great and everybody will see that waiting is on God is a great thing. Stay encouraged and wait on God!!:)

  32. Lucy says:

    It’s all very well and good to sit and say, “God will bring the right one,” but he may or he may NOT. Sometimes God answers prayers in the negative with “No.” Sometimes the answer is no. But sometimes the answer turns out to be no because we wasted too much time doing nothing. I mean, if you were wanting that perfect job, would you sit back doing nothing but waiting for God to bring you the perfect job or would you go out and actively LOOK for a job? Sure, pray for that perfect job but GO LOOK FOR A JOB, right??

    I’m a Christian who dated several guys before I married and, yes, I was a virgin when I did. There is no biblical mandate against dating and Jesus had no opinion on it. Premarital sex is a no-no, but I think it’s naive to sit back and wait, hoping for God to bring your “prince” to you. I learned something valuable from each dating relationship and I especially learned the qualities I was looking for in a mate. Your discernment in that area sharpens the more it’s put to use and it isn’t put to use sitting back and waiting for God to simply deliver your prince with a bow wrapped around him. I know people a while back were jumping up and down about Joshua Harris’s book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” but even HE has back off some of those principles and I personally know a few people in that book who followed a “courtship” model and are now DIVORCED, so kissing dating goodbye is NO guarantee of success or happiness.

    I do think it’s important to see if there is some physical chemistry between you and a potential mate before marriage. I DON’T think this needs to involve sex. I mean, come on. Set boundaries. Have self-control. It’s not impossible. I did it. But I also kissed guys I dated and, let me tell you, kissing tells you a LOT. You’ll know if there’s chemistry or not just from that. Kissing is also something that’s rather private. You don’t want your first kiss to be at your wedding in front of hundreds of gawking people who are *kinda* secretly hoping it’ll be a trainwreck. If you’ve never kissed, you MAY very well have an awkward AWKWARD moment at the altar committed to video forever. (That reminds me of that couple on 60 Minutes or whatever it was who didn’t kiss before marriage and had a horribly embarrassing first kiss on the wedding day. Yeah. You don’t want to be them. Trust me, a bad first kiss is hard to get over. You will ALWAYS remember it.)

    Please don’t go treating a stance like this as the more “biblical” option when the Bible has no opinion on whether or not you date. It does have an opinion on premarital sex, but don’t confuse the two. Dating does not equal sex. I personally think you should date because you learn from each experience — about yourself, about love, about how to BE in a relationship. That’s important stuff. Sure, there may be pain along the way, but life is pain and pain is growth. Avoidance of pain is avoidance of growth.

    These women are now in their late 20’s, early 30’s. If they’re hoping for some kids to go along with that prepackaged Prince Charming, they’d best be a little more proactive about finding a mate.

    But, eh, what do I know? I’ve only been married 20 years so don’t listen to me. 😉

  33. I pray 4 the barlows er Day says:

    These gırls are awesome,ıts a pıty they are not a band anymore but they have really had an effect on the whole world wıth just beıng themselves,ı should know,am from afrıca and love the barlow gırls.God bless them..Love them 2 pıeces..

  34. God is extremely proud of the Barlow Girls says:

    I just wish i could tell the barlows how much God loves them and is extremely proud of them,in a world where christianity and purity are slowly fading,they just give you hope that there is still some good in this world.namely Alyssa,Lauren and Rebecca Barlow.God bless them where ever they are.please never lose your faith.

  35. Jessy says:

    Dearies,u ladies are simply awesome,yea:very very.Your life’s principles are unique,i also hav similar principles guiding my life’s actions.Am proud of you guys,coz you are interested in ‘pleasing GOD and not necessarily men’.You’ve worked very hard for our Father’s kingdom,may GOD embarass your lives with eternal Blessings.(Amen).Am jst gonna fill my entire m-card in my mobile fone with barlow,barlow & barlowgirl songs…love ‘Never Alone’ so much.Though i reside in Africa,really hope to see u ladies someday by GOD’s grace..wish y’all the ultimate Best in Life.much Love.

  36. nicole says:

    hi im 14 and i love your songs they are very touching and amazing i will always keep listening to your songs forever and have faith and god belss you guys

  37. Nichole says:

    Im 41and proud to be a virgin..called and honored to be Gods wife. BG has the right idea;0)

  38. Nichole says:

    PS.1 Peter2:9

  39. Christina says:

    Just leave them alone they don’t want to get married or maybe they are

  40. T.j says:

    hi iam 14 and i think what they are doing is a good thing because you have to trust that God will provide for you and he has a plan and yes i know you all are probibly thimking what do you know? i know this becuuse when i lived with my aunt and uncle i was raped by my cosient and God has been giving me the strangth to get through it and he gave me loving parents by letting them adoupting me

  41. faith says:

    Love barlow girl!!!!!!!

  42. Ally says:

    I love Barlow girl my favorite song is love is marching I am 11 and I love your music I wish you still made music Barlow girl I listen to it every single day

  43. […] Infos (auf englisch): […]

  44. maggy says:

    i love your type of music barlow girl,am 14 and really dont know if realationships are good or not?YOU MUST BE VERY STRONG LADIES OF FAITH,God mightly bless you,

  45. […] hits #3 on the Christian Billboard Chart. Goes on Tour with fellow Christian superstars BarlowGirl.  Also records the official theme song for the National Day of Prayer. Her longtime label […]

  46. Timothy says:

    The Barlow Girls are Awesome as well as Gorgeous!
    I love their music!

  47. […] Infos (auf englisch): […]

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