Don Bryant

Don Bryant Biography

If you're ever blessed enough to meet Don Bryant, I don't imagine you'll ever feel as much friendliness pour out of one simple handshake. When he sings, you'll feel your soul effortlessly lifted to heaven by a voice pouring out the spirit of God out with the force of a perfect storm. When he performs, there's a Stadium packing energy that surges through him like European voltage, and yet intimate enough to make you feel like you're standing right there in his living room. And that's just the beginning of what Don Bryant's all about.

Born in Memphis Tennessee on April 2, 1942, Don Bryant discovered his voice at the age of five in a small church known as Carnegie through the old spiritual, Sweet Little Jesus Boy. By the spring of `57, Don had captured the attention of producing legend/trumpeter Willie Mitchell, and all it took was one audition to know Don was an instant hit as he drove his audience into a dancing frenzy with covers of Rufus Thomas, James Brown, The Five Royals, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and Garnett Mimms.

Soon Don was building a reputation for one of the hottest singers and entertainers around and from 1964 to 1968, his voice ignited the wax with an inferno of Soul, singing on a string of blistering Hi Records singles while he and Willie Mitchell packed houses and shook up audiences across the country, combining Mitchell's powerhouse arrangements with the Don's electrifying performances.

Around that same period, Don Bryant had also gained a keen sense for writing, and once Mitchell discovered those talents, he expanded Don position at Hi Records to staff writer and head of A&R, penning songs for O.V. Wright, Otis Clay, Soul Children member Norman West and of course his future wife Ann Peebles. Don's amazing talent as a writer has constantly proven itself in a staggering catalog of penned and co-penned hits including Ann Peebles' Grammy Nominated classic titled, I Can't Stand The Rain. Just that song alone has been featured in at least three blockbuster movies and covered by over twenty-five artist including Tina Turner, Humble Pie and Booker T and the MGs.

By 1971, Don was beginning to turn a great deal more of his focus on writing rather than being The Artist, penning classic's like A Love Vibration, 99 Pounds, and Fill This World With Love.

After the fall of Hi Records in 1979, Don continued to work in various studios by singing on a succession of demos and commercials, but Don was also starting to feel a major change-taking place within him. Over the years Don recalls, I'd tried the fame, the traveling, the shows, the money, the glory, it was all there for me but there was something else I needed, something much greater. So I did some serious thinking on it and I came to the conclusion that studying The Word of God was the only thing I hadn't tried. And so it wasn't long before an older, more wiser Brother Bryant found himself back in Carnegie where he'd long since discovered his gift, devoting more and more time to The Word of God along with his musical ministry. In 1987 Don started his own label called By Faith Records, penning enough Gospel Lyrics to record a six-song testimonial titled, What Do You Think About Jesus. Don returned to his self-built studio in `89 to record a second album titled; I'm Gonna Praise Him. Though neither albums were commercially released, it was unmistakably evident now that Don's voice was as much his own as it was a direct link to God's, as he masterfully praised his way through all eight of its brilliantly written tracks.

Don remained somewhat on the secular side of music but mostly writing and session work including Ann Peebles' critically acclaimed 1992 album titled Full Time Love. Then in 1994, he and Ann recorded two incredibly powerful duets together on her Fill This World With Love release. One in particular however titled; I Wouldn't Take Nothing For One Moment I've Spent With You was a timeless masterpiece. From the first breathtaking yet subtle opening line, to the final romantic cries of She and Don echoing the deep and endless love between them, it was a remarkable work of art. But it was also captured a glimpse of the true complexity and incomparable growth in Don's voice as every note he sang embraced the core of every word with a genuinely priceless technique.

Even though Don Bryant's kept himself strongly committed to his Gospel Ministry for the past twenty years, his songs over the past forty are still heard through every possible form of media imaginable. From music beds for hit shows like Beverly Hills 90120, to Blockbuster movies like The Commitments and even late night shows like David Letterman.

In 2000, Don Bryant teamed up with long time keyboardist/producer for Ann Peebles, Paul Brown to produce his greatest achievement yet titled, "It's All In The Word". This album not only highlights Don's anointed talent as a gospel songwriter but also presents the remarkable abilities of his voice through fifteen tracks of awesome, powerful testimony. From the passionate soul stirring melody lines of Rest Well, to the Mountain moving, Holy Ghost driven adlibs on He's Alright, it is apparent that God has seasoned every note on this recording with sanctified soul-drenched spirit. When you listen to all the classic singles that Willie Mitchell released on Don Bryant, it's evident that he was born to Love singing. But to hear the voice of Don Bryant now is to began comprehending the changes he's been through from the days of singing at the Flamingo Club with Willie Mitchell, to the coming into The Word Of God, and ultimately to the mountain Don's climbed to make it where he is today. And if you are ever blessed enough to hear the voice of Don Bryant, be ready for a true spiritual awakening.

Paul Brown

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