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Paging Dr. James!
It has a nice ring to it, right? Had Brett James' career path taken a slightly different turn back in the late 90s, he probably WOULD be a doctor today. But the medical field's loss is the music world's gain. Brett has become one of the most prominent song-writers in Nashville, though the path that led him there was full of twists and turns.
Brett comes by his musical talent naturally - his father sang in a gospel choir and his mother is a classically trained pianist. Music was always a part of his life, from singing with the family in church to singing in high school. When he headed to Baylor University to study pre-med, he learned to play guitar, played in local bands and began writing songs. After two years of med school at the University of Oklahoma, he made a demo tape. That tape eventually made it's way to Tim DuBois, of Arista Records. Tim convinced Brett that he needed to be in Nashville, and soon after Brett left med school and headed to Music City.
Once in Nashville, Brett landed a publishing deal with Patrick Joseph music, and soon after that a deal with Career Records, a subsidiary of Arista. His self-titled debut was released in 1995. A few singles were released, but they didn't garner much chart success. A second album was recorded but never released, and Brett & Career parted ways in 1997.
Brett kept writing. A publishing deal with EMI led to another with Teracel Music in 1998, but there still wasn't a lot going on. Concerned about the future, as he and his wife now had a family to support, Brett decided to go back to med school. His wife and kids stayed behind in Nashville to sell their house while he returned to Oklahoma. Less than a week after leaving, he got his first "meaningful" cut with Teracel - a song on Faith Hill's 'Breathe' CD called "Love Is A Sweet Thing." Over the next 7 months, Teracel got him about 25 more cuts. By the spring of 2000, things were going so well that Brett left med school, returned to Nashville and took his house off the market. He signed another record deal, with Arista, and recorded an album. Two singles were released to radio, but once again, chart success remained elusive and he and Arista parted ways. Despite the difficulties with his recording career, Brett continued to find success having his songs cut by country's biggest super-stars.
Today the list of artists who have recorded songs written by Brett James reads as a 'who's who' in country music: Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Bon Jovi, Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, Jo Dee Messina, Sara Evans, Lonestar, Wynonna, Billy Currington, Josh Gracin and Carrie Underwood are just a few. Several of his songs have topped the country charts, including "Who I Am" (Jessica Andrews), "Blessed" (Martina McBride), "When The Sun Goes Down" (Kenny Chesney) and most recently "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (Carrie Underwood) which also garnered nominations for single and song of the year at both the ACM and the CMA awards, and was awarded a Grammy for Country Song Of The Year.
In addition to his writing, Brett is also involved in the areas of artist development and producing, and he serves on the board of directors of the CMA. And if that didn't keep him busy enough, Brett and his wife are the proud parents of 4 beautiful children.
That doctor 'gig' may not have panned out, but there's no doubt that Brett James ended up where he was destined to be.and the Nashville music community is certainly lucky that he did!
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