10 questions with Avalonís
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
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
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.