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10 questions with Avalonís Jody McBrayer
October 8, 2001
By Zik Jackson
Photos by Andy Argyrakis

The Phantom Tollbooth spoke with Avalonís Jody McBrayer while he was visiting his motherís house in Tampa, Florida on a break. McBrayer grew up in Bradenton, Florida, but now resides with Stephanie, his wife of two years, in the Nashville area. Stephanie McBrayer is a Creative Director at Reunion Records and sometimes joins Avalon on the road when she can. Here are the ten questions we asked Jody about life, ministry, and Avalonís new album, Oxygen.

1. What is your favorite song on the new album, Oxygen?

Stylistically, I love "Never Givin' Up." It makes me feel like flying. I love to feel like I'm flying. It feels like a big blue sky. The word is encouragingÖ God is always there. I love the message and the way the song feels. Thatís my style. The whole record in general is probably my favorite. I love Janaís song, ďI Donít Wanna Go,Ē too.

2. How has success or fame affected your life?
All of that stuff is not really real. The ministry aspect of what Avalon does is real. In Christian music, fame is a by-product, but it's not really about fame. What weíre called to do is talk to people. Itís not our responsibility to be superstars.

3. What was it like to work with Brown Bannister?
Heaven. Itís heaven. Brown is very open and honest and speaks his mind. He makes you feel like youíve known him your entire life. He puts us at ease. He gives us insight and freedom to express ourselves. I would rather sing live any day than sing in the studio. In the studio, you're trying to inspire a microphone instead of 3,000 people.

4. How do you keep a fresh level of energy for each new city?
Honestly it's not easy to do that. There are nights when we feel we donít have the energy. Even though weíre called to sing, people forget that weíre human and we get tired. The wonderful thing is our immediate supervisor is God. He is always encouraging and He always shows up. As soon as that music starts Iím encouraged. Itís because of His faithfulness and His strength. Heís truly faithful to us to help us. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

5. How did being in Truth for 2 ½ years prepare you for Avalon?
All you do on Truth is travel. It gets you prepared for that and what life on the road is like. Itís a lot harder. Youíre constantly traveling on a bus with sixteen people. It's definitely boot camp for Christian artists. Roger Breland [Truthís founder] doesnít like to be seen as a trainer, but itís a good training ground for people.

6. What has been the highlight of being in Avalon for you spiritually?
The highlight for any Christian artist is to see God work through your music, the fruits of your labor. It took us a year to make the new CD. Losing my dad during the creative process was hard, but through adverse conditions a lot of true inspiration is born. To see that affect people is the payoff. A woman was going to commit suicide and heard ďCanít Live A DayĒ on KLTY in Dallas. She pulled over crying and decided not to kill herself. God can use anything, but he chose to use our song to show life is more.

7. What do you do to relax on the road, off the road?
You really have to find down time especially when youíre on the road. Looking for a couple of hours in the days when you actually focus. I love to read ­ especially the Left Behind series. I enjoy good fiction. Iím thankful for that. Off the road, we all love not doing anything.

8. How did you first get involved in music?
I started singing in college at Liberty with The Sounds of Liberty. Itís Jerry Falwellís college representative. We sang on his television show. College wasnít the best experience for me. I was into more of the social aspect.

9. Who wrote ďThe GloryĒ?
Regie Hamm and Bo Cooper wrote it. We found this song midway through the process. We heard the song and lyrically it was one of the strongest songs Iíve heard in a long time. It was a no-brainer. It almost didnít make it because Truth had recorded it two years before.

10. How did you become a Christian?
I grew up in a Christian family. My father was called to be a pastor. He worked full-time for the Postal Service and part-time as a pastor. My father led me to the Lord when I was 16. I was one of the people that believed I was a Christian because I went to church. I remember kneeling by my bed with him. He prayed with me. My parents were wonderful examples of Christ.


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