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John
Berry

Following a year where the world was rocked by a pandemic that  took musicians off the road, John Berry has a new and fresh outlook.  It was an honor for me to catch up with John Berry while he was enjoying some much deserved family time with his granddaughter delightfully calling for his attention now and again.   John Berry  thankfully continues to live his passion for Country music, not allowing a pandemic nor his fight with cancer  stop him from touring, performing and  recording.  

2022 saw John emerge with a host of new projects in development and with his sights firmly set on his 26th Anniversary of his legendary Christmas Tour, with a grand new presentation planned that will leave audiences amazed and full of joy and  hope for the future.  Also 2022  saw John Berry's  release of  his new faith based album, “Find My Joy”  on Gaither Music with a multitude of touring dates including many churches in support of this new project,  along with his normal solo and band dates,

As John himself says, “I stll Iove what I do, with a passion not seen in quite some time. 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.”

 

He and his family moved back to Music City after several years in Georgia in 2019 and John has been pursuing a touring and personal appearance schedule that is more active than ever. Given his wide range of music and number of releases, John is fortunate in that he can book a solo show with just himself and guitar, a small-band acoustic show or a full-band engagement and has more than enough hit material to captivate a crowd and deliver an evening full of musical memories.

 

The singer-songwriter rose to stardom on the Country charts of the 1990s with such mega hits as "Your Love Amazes Me",  "Standing on the Edge of Goodbye" and "She’s Taken a Shine".  During this star-making decade, John placed 20 singles on the County charts, 6 of which went Top 5, with "Your Love Amazes Me", scoring a number one  on the Country Charts as well as "Standing on the Edge of Goodbye"  and "She’s Taken a Shine" earning the #1 slot in Radio & Records .

 

Earning multiple Gold and Platinum records over the years. John was nominated for the ACM Top New Male Vocalist in 1994, won a Grammy Award in 1996 for his participation in "Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel Vol. 1", was nominated for another Grammy in 1995 for his smash hit "Your Love Amazes Me" and was nominated for the CMA Horizon Award and Top Male Vocalist Award in 1995. In 1997 he was nominated for Vocal Event of the Year for "Long Haired Country Boy" with Charlie Daniels and Hal Ketchum and in 2013 John was nominated for the Mainstream Country Male Artist by the ICM Awards.

 

John’s enduringly powerful performances draw on a lifetime of making music and living life.  Born in South Carolina and raised in Georgia, he began playing guitar at 13, performing shows at age 14 and making records at age 19.  “By the time I was 17, I knew that music was what I wanted to do with my life”; and he has done it well ever since.

 

Between 1979 and 1990 he recorded and marketed six albums on his own labels. "The Graduation Song" which he wrote during his senior year in high school, became a perennial favorite at graduation ceremonies and  appeared on two of his early collections.

Those early discs and John’s strong regional popularity attracted attention on Music Row. Capitol Records signed him to his first major label contract in 1992. Berry’s co-written hits "A Mind of Her Own" and "Kiss Me in the Car" introduced him to radio audiences in 1993.  Then "Your Love Amazes Me",  "What’s in it for Me" and "You and Only You" catapulted Berry  to stardom in 1994.  "Standing on the Edge of Goodbye",  "I Think About it all the Time", and "If I Had Any Pride Left at All" were all major hits the following year, with "Standing on the Edge of Goodbye" earning John the coveted 1995 Grammy nomination.

John's stunning  performance of the title track of the 1995 CD "O’ Holy Night" that led to his most enduring legacy to date, his annual  Christmas Tours.   Berry  has also issued three more Christmas-music collections since then.  According to Berry,  "If O’ Holy Night is all that anyone remembers of me, that’s fine with me.  It is a truly inspired piece of music.”

But of course with John Berry's talents there were many  more successes to come.  The hit "Change My Mind"  earned John a Top-5 spot on the Country music charts in 1996 and "She’s Taken a Shine" became an even bigger hit in 1997.  Both fans and the media took note again when through the magic of modern technology John released "There He Goes"  a 1999 duet with Patsy Cline.

In 2002, Berry returned to making records for his own company, Clear Sky Records with  "Songs and Stories" a double CD issued that year.  In 2003, John Berry released his "I Give My Heart" collection and its critically applauded wedding anthem "Will You Marry Me".  Also included on the disc were John's  versions of such classic love songs as "Time in a Bottle", "If", "Love Look What You’ve Done to Me", "Faithfully", "Lady" and "Let’s Stay Together".  "I Give My Heart"  inspired still another popular concert series aptly named, The Love Tour.

In 2008, "Those Were the Days", was released, marking John’s return to mainstream Country music.  In 2011 John  released his first Christian-music CD.   In 2012, John published  coa unique combination of book and CD, again titled "Songs and Stories".   Berry has  continued to tour steadily over the years noting, “We just have a great group of fans who welcome us every year.  They are always there.”

In late 2015 John launched a crowd funded Kickstarter project that proved very successful. Overwhelmed by his fan's response, John assembled an all-star studio team and cut both a Country album entitled "What I Love the Most" and a new album simply titled "Christmas" and released both in late 2016.  Blessed with the ability to make the music he wanted to make (and not what a label dictated) allowed John the time to write and create.    Berry released the new music and brought it to his fans through a new distribution agreement with Sony RED. It was a new time in the music business and technology and John Berry used it to the best of purposes allowing him to be closer to interact with his  fans in new ways.  John gave credit to God,  as he always does saying, "You know, God just keeps blessing me. There are new opportunities coming at every turn.”

2017 found John touring in several configurations, as he is today, acoustic solo, acoustic trio and full band,  culminating in the year-ending legendary Christmas Tour, which in that year marked its 21st year.

Also, in August of 2017 John launched a new, weekly internationally syndicated television show entitled Songs and Stories with John Berry that explored the songs and stories that changed the lives of his weekly guest. Superstar guests in Season 1 of the show include Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Dean, Mo Pitney, Neal McCoy, Suzy Bogguss, Collin Raye, Craig Morgan, Mark Wills, Delbert McClinton, Clay Walker and Lee Roy Parnell. He followed up a successful Season 1 with Season 2 that showcased artists like Steve Dorff, Mac McAnally, Bryan White, John Schneider, Radney Foster, Terri Clark, Tracy Lawrence, Darryl Worley, Pam Tillis, Rhonda Vincent, newcomers Sean Berry, Preston James and Blane Howard and closing out the season with the legendary group, Exile.

Songs and Stories with John Berry aired for two years, multiple times weekly to over 105 million homes across the United States as well as the UK and New Zealand on great networks like Heartland Television, The Family Channel, The Country Channel, Phil Mack’s Keep it Country (UK), Country TV (New Zealand) and Ride TV. 

Along with Season 2 of Songs and Stories with John Berry, 2018 saw John celebrating his 25th anniversary since signing his major label deal, touring the country, being recognized by the State of Georgia with a proclamation naming a day in his honor, receiving the key to the city in his old hometown of Athens, Georgia after a sold out return show there (celebration his first show in an Athens club in 25 years).   

 

Along with all those watermarks that year John Berry  was featured in the critically acclaimed major motion picture “Beautifully Broken” by singing the title cut.   This  amazing song certainly brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye the first time I heard it, and saw John Berry  notch his first Top 30 Country hit in 22 years.  Berry also released a new recording project which contained several songs John co-wrote that celebrates his life, entitled “Thomas Road” and ended with his celebrated Christmas tour, that year his  22nd annual tour.

2019 proved to be another surprising year, with health challenges leaping into John's life. In January, John was diagnosed with cancer of his tonsils and had them removed. That was followed by 7 rounds of chemo and 35 rounds of radiation. He took the first 4 months of the year off to recuperate and his treatments successfully removed the cancer before resuming and singing as if it never happened.  John has said that the lifesaving Chemo was one of the biggest challenges of his life to get through, but he did leaning on his faith.

John took advantage of being off the road for the bigger part of 2020 due to the pandemic and created new opportunities to continue his reach to his fan base and reach new ones.  Highlights included partnering with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for his weekly series, “Songs and Stories For Kids,” which charted multiple times on the Pollstar Live Stream Chart.  

He released a new video and re-recorded a new single for “The Graduation Song,” and with his wife Robin, launched a new podcast, Faith Family & Friends with John & Robin Berry, which to date has featured an array of interesting and famous guests from across the spectrum of interests including Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Richie Furay, Country & Gospel Music Hall of Fame member (and former Statler Brother) Jimmy Fortune, Country Music Hall of Fame member (and Oak Ridge Boy) Duane Allen, Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, former University of Georgia College Football coaching legend Vince Dooley, Country Music greats Billy Dean, Darryl Worley, Charlie Daniels (in his last public interview). Also featured are best selling authors Kim Campbell (widow of music great Glen Campbell) and Megan Alexander (Inside Edition National correspondent & co-host of Circle TV’s Coffee Country & Cody show) and many others.

 

His annual Christmas tours has brightened the holidays for thousands, as does his electrifying rendition of "O’ Holy Night".  Now in its 26th year John just keeps adding to it  making a unique and awesome experience each and every time for his fans and the fans continue to respond with their adoration,  with many of the performances selling out.  The tour dates for the Christmas Tour can be found in an extra page of this edition of Nashville Country Music Magazine and on Berry's website at johnberry.com where you can also purchase tickets. 

With time,  John Berry has learned that the road to fulfillment is doing what he was called to do, loves to do, and doing it the best  he can, regardless of the circumstances.   For John Berry , that is using his God given gifts and making music and singing for people. Once you experience a John Berry live performance you will agree that God has blesed John Berry with very special talents that he has given thanks for all continuosly.  

                                                                                        By Deborah Gibson