John Berry is a GRAMMY Award-winning country star, has been an active recording artist since the late 1970s. He has placed 20 singles on the country charts over the years, earning numerous gold and platinum records. He has also served as the host of the TV show Songs & Stories With John Berry, which airs weekly on Heartland Television, The Family Channel, The Country Network, Roku, AMG TV, New Zealand's Country TV, and the UK's Keep It Country TV.
Berry recently recorded the title track for the exhilarating new feature film, Beautifully Broken. It has been #1 on the Christian Music Weekly Chart, and around the release of that single, the mayor of Athens, Georgia proclaimed June 16, 2018 as "Official John Berry Day"; Berry was also presented with a key to the city. Beautifully Broken also also featured musical contributions from gospel legend Cece Winans and Dove award-winning pop artist Plumb; musician Michael W. Smith notably has an a role within the film.
I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with John Berry about Beautifully Broken, his long-term fandom of the Georgia Bulldogs, and more on behalf of Sportskeeda. More on Berry can be found online at www.johnberry.com.
You're known to be a big fan of the Georgia Bulldogs. When did you first get into them?
John Berry: I grew up in Atlanta and in 1981, and I was watching a Georgia football game on TV with my mom. Herschel Walker was on the team and I was hooked. I moved to Athens, GA in 1984. My audience was students from UGA. I spent the next 8 years playing clubs in downtown Athens.
During that time, I met my wife, Robin, who grew up in Athens and also went to school at UGA. After I got a recording contract in Nashville we chose to remain in Athens and raise our family. It’s hard to live in Athens and not be a Georgia Bulldog.
Are you into all of the Bulldogs athletics or mainly football?
John Berry: I like a lot of sports. When I lived in Athens I would frequently go to football games, gymnastic meets and basketball games at Stegman Coliseum, tennis matches and baseball games. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of student-athletes and coaches and I really enjoyed going out to support and watch them play.
Now that we live in Nashville, Robin and I enjoy travelling to some of the football games. This last year we made it to 2 home games, GA/FL in Jacksonville and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
How is the upcoming Bulldogs season looking?
John Berry: It’s an exciting time in Georgia football. It was an incredible recruiting year, the quarterback position looks to have growth and depth, we have a host of running backs that can step up and fill the shoes of Chubb and Michel and the size of the offensive line looks impressive.
Are you friends with other musicians who are devoted to the Bulldogs?
John Berry: There are a lot of fellow musicians from Georgia who love the Georgia Bulldogs! Last season while in the Dooley’s Suite at the South Carolina game I met Steve Dorff. Steve is an incredible songwriter with a string of hits attached to his name. He lives in California but his daughter goes to UGA.
Since that meeting, I had Steve join me as a guest on my TV show Songs & Stories With John Berry and we have hooked up for some writing appointments.
Are there any other teams you follow as seriously as you do the Georgia Bulldogs?
John Berry: I love baseball and having grown up in Atlanta I follow the Braves.
Were you yourself ever a football player?
John Berry: No, never.
Sports aside, I know you are involved with the film Beautifully Broken and its title track. How did that come about?
John Berry: Chuck Howard produced all my Capitol Records releases. Several years back Chuck began working in film. He called me and asked if I would watch this rough cut of a film he was working on and if I would be interested in recording the title track. He sent me the rough cut of the movie and I was touched by this true story.
I called him that night with tears in my eyes and told him “I would do whatever they wanted, as long as I could be part of this incredible story.” At that point, I hadn’t even heard the song. The next day Chuck sent me the track and it blew me away.
I know you just returned from a mission trip to Rwanda. What was that experience like?
John Berry: It was amazing and eye-opening. Robin and I were part of a mission team with New Beginnings Church in Longview, Texas. We led music in VBS, my wife spoke at a lady’s seminar, we went to two well dedications and visited new well sites. I took a guitar with me everywhere. We sang songs for the people and shared Jesus.
While we were there our mission team went to visit the genocide museum. It really gave us a clear picture of what took place in Rwanda 20 years ago and a greater understanding of the movie Beautifully Broken. We were able to find the family names of our new friends from the movie on the wall in the gardens.
Do you have a favorite part of Beautifully Broken?
John Berry: I would have to say it’s the overall moment of realization of how God weaves this beautiful tapestry of putting three families together from different parts of the world, with different backgrounds, and with different struggles.
Aside from Beautifully Broken, what is coming up for you career-wise?
John Berry: I have been writing the last 18 months for an upcoming project that I’m very excited about. It’s the first time I’ve had a concept for a new project without having written the first song. For me, the songs have always come first, but with this particular project I knew I wanted to tell a specific story. Also coming up is Christmas Tour. This year we will be in 23 cities across America.
Finally, John, any last words for the kids?
John Berry: Read the book of Proverbs. There are 31 chapters and most months have 30 or 31 days. Proverbs is an amazing guide on how we should live our life as moral, decent people. It tells us how to treat others, things to watch out for and teaches us how to gain wisdom.