Bryan White Biography
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In life and in love, Bryan White knows he's a lucky man. Not only has he racked up a pack of chart-topping hits and a mantle full of major awards, the buoyant multi-platinum selling Oklahoman, cited by People magazine as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People In The World", is in love with his fiancé, One Life To Live actress Erika Page. With his fourth album How Lucky I Am, White marks his production debut and shouts his joie de vive to the world with twelve head-over-heels, crazy-in-love songs.
"Being in love has opened my eyes to so much. I don't look at anything the same way. I wanted this to be a positive, light, uplifting romantic project. We've had a lot of success with some great sad ballads, but for this one project, I wanted to keep a positive vibe happening."
On How Lucky I Am, each song reflects a different facet of true love. "You're Still Beautiful To Me," the sizzling, sensuous song, co-penned by Bryan Adams and legendary producer Robert "Mutt" Lang, features two of white's "biggest heroes"- Steve Wariner and Jack Mack & the Heart Attack's Max Carl- promises that beauty never fades when seen through the eyes of the heart. White co-wrote the explosive and gutsy "Shari Ann," with Carl, which features Carl on keyboards and vocals. The groove-infused advice of "The Stayin'," reminds us that "It ain't the fallin' in love, it's the stayin'" that keeps love a long-term affair; while "That Good," is a love song of symphonic force. "Heaven Sent" is a simple, warmly romantic waltz that fulfills the longing White so plaintively expressed in his first number on single, "Some Else's Star."
White chose "Everywhere I turn" because he says, "I swear everything I do every day reminds me of Erika," and got the idea for "You'll Always Be Loved By Me" from a long-distance phone conversation he had with her. In it, a man promises his lover, "It's not going to be easy, but I want you to know that every step of the way when I'm not with you, I am thinking about you. When you're down and out and upset, just remember that I'll always be there for you. You'll always be loved by me."
Six of the cuts on How Lucky I Am were co-produced by White and his guitarist Derek George; the rest were produced by Dan huff, known for his work on Lonestar's record breaking cross-over hit "Amazed" and his work with Faith Hill, Lari White and SHeDAISY. White confides that the project challenged him as a producer and provoked him to stretch vocally. "As an artist, I had to ask myself (the producer) the question, 'Is that good?' instead of asking someone else. Wearing two hats like that was really hard for me," laughs the self-admitted perfectionist, "I'd be still working on the album if my alter ego (the producer) hadn't given me a deadline.
White, the oldest son of two professional musicians - Anita Wilson and Bud White - who amicably divorced when he was a toddler, learned early that success takes equal parts guts, grit, and talent. He was five when his father taught him how to play drums. At ten, he watched his mother open for Loretta Lynn, a show he now says, "pretty much set me on fire." He was performing professionally in his parents' bands before he reached his teens: R & B with his mother and country with his dad. At 16, he switched form drums to guitar, and formed a trio. A year later he loaded up his car and headed to Nashville.
Things moved at warp speed in Music City. With in three months, he'd landed a staff songwriting gig with Glen Campbell Music and a management contract with GC Management, the same companies that helped launch Alan Jackson's career. Through a family friend, White was introduced to noted producer and guitarist Billy Joe Walker Jr. Walker arranged a meeting where White met Asylum's then co-president Kyle Lehning who encouraged the talented and handsome teen to write for a year, then return. White bided his time singing $40 demos and selling T-shirts for Liberty Records' country band Pearl River, and honing his songwriting skills.
In 1993, he signed with Asylum Records and began opening shows acoustically for Pam Tillis, Tracy Lawerence, and Diamond Rio. His expressive vocals endearing vulnerability and strong songs left his new found fans literally screaming for more. A string of number one hits ensued, earning accolades and an armful of music industry awards, including the Country Music Association's prestigious 1996 Horizon Award and the Academy of Country Music's 1996 Top New Male Vocalist Award. That same year, Entertainment Radio Networks name him the Best New Artist and his number one hit, "Rebecca Lynn," Single of the Year. White toured with Vince Gill in 1997, then joined forces with teen sensation LeAnn Rimes on their wildly successful "Something To Talk About Tour." He continues headlining on the concert circuit in 1999.
White recorded a duet with Amy grant on "With These Hands" from the Atlantic Records project titled The Civil War: The Nashville Sessions; and joined with fellow country stars and NFL players to sing "We're All In This Together," a song and video celebrating the 25-year old affiliation between the National Football League and the United Way. "From This Moment On," a duet recorded with Shania Twain, topped the charts and earned the duo a 1999 Canadian Country Music Award for Best Vocal Collaboration. He teamed with his hero Steve Wariner, to record "Talk To Her Heart," a Wariner/Bill Anderson-penned duet appearing on Wariner's album. Bryan sang the "I'll Fly Away," medley on Sparrow records' Amazing Grace II: A Country Salute To Gospel, the sequel to gold-certifies Amazing Grace: A Country Salute To Gospel, which received a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album.
White's current romantic relationship has increased his empathy for the problem of the world. "It has taught me that there's just so much more to life than what's going on here," he explains. Following the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma city, White hosted a benefit concert and celebrity auction which raised more than $75,000 for the Federal employee Education & Assistance Find (FEEA), A fund providing scholarships to children injured or orphaned buy the blast.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the cause, Bryan was the recipient of Entertainment Radio Networks' 1997 Humanitarian Award and a special FEEA Humanitarian Award presented to him at the organization's 1998 Washington D.C., gala "A Salute To FEEA's Shining Stars." He helped FEEA reach its $11 million dollar goal through several benefit concerts, radio specials and celebrity auctions and is now helping to build the on-site memorial. White also actively participates in benefits for United Cerebral Palsy, the T.J. Martell Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, "Country CARES," the Native American Clothing Drive and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Funny, likable and polite to a fault, White confesses that he and his band still have "peanut butter and jelly" tastes. Though he quips, "people never grow up - they just learn how to act in public," he says he's learned who he is. "Once you come into your own and start getting the whole picture of life and what you're supposed to do, you realize (life) is just too short...I'm going to have fun and I'm going to treat people the way I want to be treated. I'm not going to be fake and if people don't like me for who I am, I'm still gonna have fun being myself. Since I've realized this, I've become a much happier person." And a very lucky guy.
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