John Stoddart

    Genre : Miscellaneous

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About This Act :

Heaven sent, John Stoddart is an irresistible new talent with a voice that is utterly disarming, drenched in romance, soulful and soothing. An accomplished producer, writer, composer and instrumentalist, he has graced the albums of numerous Grammy/Dove and Soul Train nominees and winners with his considerable gifts. Now he takes center stage, emerging as an extraordinary solo artist on Wings To Walk This Road.

Stoddart's major label debut on Reprise Records, Wings To Walk This Road is an amazingly diverse and yet wonderfully cohesive collection of 16 compositions. Scattered throughout the album are five interludes ranging from 33 to 56 seconds. 'These were a way to make 'comments' that support other songs on the record…a little diversion,' explains Stoddart. 'It also gave me a chance to visit other areas of my musical heritage.'

Encompassing classic R&B, gospel, neo-soul, and even spoken word, Stoddart's brilliantly crafted and richly layered songs resonate with love, healing and hope. Wings To Walk This Road blends and crosses genres, expanding and at times defying customary classifications. 'I have a classical background so I'm comfortable with things that don't always fit into traditional musical structures,' Stoddart muses.

Stoddart produced or co-produced 13 of the 16 tracks including the first single 'Angel,' and key tracks 'Fly Away' and 'Have You Ever Been Lonely.' He wrote or co-wrote all the album's songs with the exception of the reggae-tinged 'O-o-h Child' and a 35-second version of the traditional 'Swing Low.' The first is a cover of the Five Stairsteps' 1971 million-selling hit. The latter is more a tour-de-force than a side comment, with Stoddart delivering seven-part harmony on the hauntingly beautiful Negro spiritual.

All of the connecting interludes were produced by Stoddart, with his wife Helen providing the melody and dueting with him on 'Now I Know.' Friend and chart-topping sax player Kirk Whalum guests on 'No Greater Love,' and Stoddart delivers another harmonic blitz on The Take-6-ish 'You Can Call Me.' The last of his short but sparkling gems is 'How Much I Love You.' 'I wanted to leave that message on the record…we'll never be able to understand how much God loves us.'
That faith has informed Stoddart's art from the beginning. He grew up in a musical family and was singing and playing piano in church, almost as soon as he could walk. He began classical piano at age thirteen and studied at the prestigious Settlement School of Music, a conservatory in Philadelphia, later refining his piano and organ skills at Blue Mountain Academy during which time he collected three first place awards at classical competitions.

He attended college at Columbia Union, and while there debuted as a conductor with Pro Music and the National Symphony Orchestra at the JFK Center for the Arts. Even before graduating with his degree in music, he founded his own production company, Urban Junction East Music and launched a career of composing, arranging and producing. Still in college, he also began a succession of positions as artist in residence and/or conductor at a number of churches and universities, and later took a position as adjunct faculty at Oakwood College.

Through the years Stoddart has produced, arranged, performed and contributed songs for (and with) top names in gospel, urban, pop and contemporary Christian music, including renowned baritone Wintley Phipps, diva Diana Ross and vocal stylist Patti Austin. Stoddart's songs were included on both Sandi Patty's 1998 Dove Award-winning Inspirational Album of the Year, Artist Of My Soul, and on Boney James Gold-selling Soul Train winner, Sweet Thing. He was co-producer, keyboardist and arranger on two of Kirk Whalum's urban/gospel flavored Grammy-nominated albums, Hymns In The Garden and The Christmas Message. Most recently, he demonstrated the range of his talent with a song, arrangements, keyboards, background vocals and drum programming on Norman Brown's 2002 Grammy-winning Just Chillin'.

As an instrumentalist and accompanist, he has played at The Trumpet Awards, The Stellar Awards, and at The Inaugural Prayer Breakfast and National Prayer Breakfast during the Clinton presidency. His innate sense of harmony and vocal nuance has made him a first-call choice for background vocals. In 2002, he lent his stellar talents to Celine Dion, Michael McDonald and Al Jarreau, among many others.

But it was impossible for Stoddart and his richly emotive vocals to remain in the background. He was destined to shine and Wings To Walk This Road provides the necessary lift-off for a brand new chapter in his already eventful history. Like every true artist—brilliant as his music is—his vision transcends even his voice. With myriad layers of meaning and harmony, refreshing takes on universal themes and infectious rhythms, he has created an album of uncommon depth and power.

Management Contact: Earl Cole Cole Classic Management PO Box 231 Canoga Park, CA 91305