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Jody McBrayer Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Jody McBrayer lyrics)
Jody McBrayer Biography
If you think you already know Jody McBrayer, think again.
As part of the top-selling vocal group Avalon, Jody appreciates the combined might expressed when four vocal dynamos unite together with a shared principle and purpose. It's only recently, however, that Jody's known the soul-searching that comes in a charge that's given to him alone. A landmark personal event produced the pathway that inspired Jody's first-ever solo effort, This Is Who I Am, the musical reflection of an artist whom fans will forever see in a brand new light.
For six years, Jody's vibrant vocals and on-stage charisma helped Avalon sell nearly two million albums, land seventeen #1 singles, earn two gold records, take home five Dove Awards and even score a Grammy Award nomination. With the group's bond as solid as ever, Jody's devotion to Avalon continues to swell with hopes of even grander accomplishments in the years ahead. Nonetheless, a life-changing occurrence instilled in Jody a message and vision so personal that its musical expression needed to rest in his lone voice. On September 13, 2000, Jody's spiritual mentor, the man who helped him find his faith and realize his calling, died from an undetected internal growth that attacked his brain. The man was Clyde "Sonny" McBrayer, Jody's father.
"My father's passing brought a moment of revelation," says Jody. "I returned home with so much on my heart and a vision for how to express it. Though Avalon has a common mission statement, these are feelings too personal for a group."
Optimizing a break between Avalon albums, Jody sought words to capture his inspired new perspectives and music that would accentuate the songs' emotions and feelings. Working with an elite group of producers - Mark Hammond (Avalon, A*Teens, Nichole Nordeman), Dan Muckala (Mandy Moore, Joy Williams), Tedd T. (ZOEgirl, Stacie Orrico) and Joe Priola (ZOEgirl, Pink) - Jody pushed the pop form with an edgier sound reflecting his deep love for R&B and classic soul. Jody, who co-penned almost every song, forged through several new ideas and spiritual principles in the wake of his father's passing. The album encompasses the entire spectrum of the new insight learned in his life's latest lessons while still delivering amped-up praise.
Setting no limits, individual songs incorporate nuances from house-trance to Latin-salsa, the latter influence a nod to Jody's Spanish heritage on his mother's side (further international flavor was added by shooting the album artwork in London). Ultimately, Jody's creative thrust captured an empowering vigor and vitality that plants This Is Who I Am right smack into the middle of today's eclectic musical landscape.
Jody tackles commitment and values with the song "The Only Thing That Matters," and he shows heartfelt confidence in "There For Me," a song acknowledging that both God and his father's spirit will always be near. Pulling back the velvet rope, the guest list includes fresh new labelmate Jadyn Strand joining the mix on the Latin-laced R&B track "Nunca Solo (Never Alone)" and the Katinas kicking out the octaves in the scorching anti-prejudice anthem "Shake It."
"This Is Who I Am shows solid focus," says Jody, "because it says everything that I wanted to say on each song. It tells my story. The album also conveys the love of Christ and his unconditional acceptance without alienating a non-believer or seeker. This Is Who I Am will help reach people who typically wouldn't listen to Christian music because the album's inspiration starts with the powerful and universal theme of loss."
Turning back the calendars, the Tampa-born Jody McBrayer first realized his musical aptitude in high school when he tried out for "Oklahoma!" and landed the lead. His college years, though, were head high in business books as he majored in business and only minored in music at Virginia's Liberty University. Jody then toured with the vocal group, Truth, before finally moving to California, where he took a job in the casting department of Disney Studios.
Remembered as one of the lowest points in his life, Jody's three-plus years in the Golden State struck the barrel's bottom when a high profile vocal audition coincided with an illtimed throat problem, negating his opportunity. As a result, Jody isolated himself in a beachside hotel for three days during which he got his spiritual priorities back in order.
Not long after, Jody found himself pulled toward the musical lure of Nashville. There he found his calling with Avalon and met his wife, Stephanie. Through all the painful experiences expressed in Jody's new album, Stephanie remained inseparable from her husband making this story as much hers as it is Jody's. And through all the ups and downs, it was Jody's father that always steered him in the right direction.
Jody concludes, "My dad used to wake me up and ask, 'What are you going to do today to change the world?' I always laughed it off. I started thinking about it a lot, though, after he died. I realized that now is my opportunity to do my part to the change the world, even if it's just a small part."
Take the journey with Jody and experience the heart of an artist tested, broken, and recharged in a way that only God's light can lead.