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John Berry

 

GRAMMY Award-winning country singer/songwriter, John Berry's  new album "Find My Joy"  is  filled with songs based on his own faith.  Berry released his long-awaited faith-based album, a 10-track album  of hymns and other spiritual songs, on Gaither Music.   "Find My Joy",  features heartfelt renditions of Gospel classics and a few new, soon to be classics,  that have inspired him offstage and grounded his lauded musical journey.

 

Best recognized for his hit song, "Your Love Amazes Me" and his incredible rendition of the Christmas classic, "Oh Holy Night," Berry seamlessly delivers with his unmistakable voice, that has garnered Platinum records and twenty hit singles, such timeless standards "How Great Thou Art," "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," "I Surrender All" along with  several new songs sharing his faith entrenched jubilation he has found personally with listeners everywhere.   The uplifting and exhilarating project was arranged and produced by multi-award-winning producer and Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee, Steve Dorff.   

John  had went through  throat cancer treatment during Spring 2019 and as one can imagine, he was not in a good place as it was very hard for him physically, emotionally and mentally. The chemotherapy treatment was a monumental journey which Barry described as one of the most difficult in his life, both for himself and his family.   Barry is amazed at the love and care his wife Robin gave him during his battle  with throat cancer , being by his side and holding his hand every step of the way.   He found a new appreciation of not only what this terrile disease does to the patient but also to the hardships which it inflicts upon their entire family. 

In  2020 and the world was navigating Covid and touring artists like Barry were faced with dealing with the issues of canceling tours and the unknown future as the world as we know it  seemed to shut down. John found himself looking for ways to keep productive and he was ready to dive into recording a new project.  Carrying the burdens felt worldwide as he navigated the touring impacts of the pandemic and submerging himself into his  new faith filled album and hearing and recording the  songs were a big  part of his personal journey to find joy again.   

 

This was the right time, but not the first time that John Berry had contemplated a full Gospel album.  However, this time was obviously the ordained time with all the elements coming together as they never had before.  John Barry having embraced and accepted Jesus as his Savior as a young boy, now needed to rejoice and regain his joy, using his musical gifts,  that would allow him to share his journey with others in a most meaningful way.

The title single of , “Find My Joy,” was written in September 2020 by Steve Dorff and Jack Cassidy. In January 2021, Steve Dorff had the opportunity to play "Find My Joy"  for John and his wife, Robin while meeting to discuss Steve arranging the songs for John’s new project. Berry immediately connected with the message.  Barry having  survived the  hard season in his life, battling throat cancer,  immediately knew he wanted to record this song for his new faith based album.   Steve and John also immediately felt a connection and shortly thereafter they discussed Steve producing the whole project, another missing piece to the completion of this long contemplated album had been put in John's path.  

 

While Dorff had not grown up listening to the traditional (Christian) versions of some of these songs and had not heard a few of them before, but he was immediately drawn to the beautiful melodies.  Not knowing the songs previously allowed him to bring a unique sound and fresh ear to the production of these standards, adding superb  creative elements to the production, including an impressive string orchestra and choir.  The performance of “Something Bigger Than Me” included the 60-piece Utah Symphony Orchestra, arranged by Larry Herbstritt and conducted by Dorff, with piano from award-winning studio musician and recording artist Gordon Mote.  

Steve Dorff has commented, “I loved the idea of putting my musical spin on some of these incredible pieces of musical art.  John was so very collaborative in letting me be inventive in my approach to the overall sound and the production of the project.”

Berry had seen his faith carry him through many struggles in life.   In 1981 Berry hit a low spot as that was the year his mother passed away. Berry's heartfelt loss strengthened his growing dissatisfaction with his job and his part-time musical career but his circumstances got even worse after he was involved in a near-tragic motorcycle accident.  Doctors feared that he might not walk again, Berry was convinced otherwise. During the months spent in slow,  painful, physical therapy working to regain the use of his legs, Berry decided how to turn things around. "That was the same year I turned 22, and when I finally got out of the hospital, I had a direction in my life.  Music. I always knew music was where I should be, but it took a while for me to make a full-time commitment."

It took a lot of hard work and in May 1994  Berry's , "Your Love Amazes Me," rose to number one on the Country listings. At the time the single topped the charts, Berry was in the hospital, having been diagnosed with a cyst in the third ventricle of his brain. While the condition left him with minor short term memory loss, he was blessed to otherwise enjoyed a full recovery. 

Two more singles from John Berry, "What's in It for Me" and "You and Only You," reached the Country Top Five, and the album was certified platinum. In 1995,  Standing on the Edge, produced two more Top Five Country singles, the title track and "I Think About It All the Time," and the album went gold.  Later the same year, the label released Berry's first Christmas album, "O Holy Night".   Berry's "Faces", appeared on Capitol Nashville in September 1996 and went gold and produced three hit singles.     Ark 21 released  Berry's second Christmas album, "My Heart Is Bethlehem", in October 2000.

Berry had a healthy following as a live act, especially for his annual Christmas concerts, he decided it was time to take control of his recording career. After briefly reuniting with Capitol Nashville to release "Christmas Live in 2002, he founded his own label, Clear Sky Records.  Through Clear Sky, he released 2004's "I Give My Heart " and 2008's "Those Were the Days", as well as another holiday album, 2003's "O Holy Night Live". A committed Christian, Berry also recorded an album reflecting his beliefs, "Real Man, Real Life, Real Good", for Daywind Records in 2012. 

 

Although the thrill of making it in Nashville kept him going, family and friends were concerned about the toll his music was taking on his health.   At the end of one show in Philadelphia, the singer knew something was wrong when he blacked out during a solo.  Meanwhile, "Your Love Amazes Me" became the biggest hit single off his first album topping  the Country charts, hanging on to the Number One spot for several weeks.   Then in early 2019 came the very real cancer diagnosis.

Berry says he started feeling like there was a “catch” in his throat and  looked and saw his tonsils were swollen. He went to doctor and was put on antibiotics and steroids for a tonsil infection, but the problem persisted. He did his entire Christmas tour and sounded fine, but didn’t feel well.  After another round of antibiotics and steroids, his wife, Robin, made an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist. A CT scan revealed two tumors in his tonsils and following surgery to remove both tonsils and part of his soft palate, Berry got the biopsy results and was told he had tonsil cancer.   Although the diagnosis was devastating, Berry felt an odd reassurance that the specialist that was now treating him was actually an intern that attended in his previous surgery, and remembered John clearly.    This is the backdrop to John Berry's full Gospel album "Find My Joy" coming to fruition.  

 

 “Gaither Music Group is honored to partner with John and his team for this special recording,” stated Paul Sizelove, president of Gaither Music Group.  “John has impacted countless people with his songwriting, performances and radio hits.  He has developed a brand of faith and family that brings uplifting entertainment as well as encouragement to listeners, and we are excited to introduce his renditions of these timeless songs on the Gaither platforms.”

John Berry's annual Christmas tour, entering its 26th year, brightens the holidays for thousands.  

“I’m hopeful and excited about the future. I love singing and always will. I have a bus, an incredible stage presentation, a great band, hands-on management team and I’m always all dressed up and ready to go.” 

Throughout all of his challenges in life John Berry has clung to his faith, songs about his faith and kept his faith, expressing all through his God given musical talents.    It seems particularly poignant and appropriate that he release his amazing Gospel album, so aptly named "Find My Joy" after the traumas life has presented to him over the last several years  allowing  him to share his life and faith journey with others in a most meaningful way

The album is available to purchase on Johnberry.com, Gaither.com and Amazon.com, as well as independent Christian retailers and is available for download and streaming on all digital music platforms. 

                                                                                        By Deborah Gibson