Grammy nomination for former Valley resident

KAREN WATKINS

A former SACS headboy who grew up in Constantia has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song category.

Brenton Brown, 42, was nominated for his song Soul on Fire. He now lives in Malibu, California, with his wife, Jude, and two daughters. He has previously been nominated for two American Dove Awards for his songs Everlasting God and Soul on Fire. This is his first Grammy nomination and he was among the top five in America to be nomi- nated.

Brown studied for four years at UCT, winning a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where he studied philosophy, politics and economics, be- fore going on to complete a diploma in theology at Wycliffe Hall.

From Oxford, he graduated into work life as a worship leader at the Oxford Vineyard Church, where he began to write songs with song writing mentors Paul Baloche and Brian Doerksen. Some of those songs were picked up for the Vineyard Britain worship series, which subsequently took his songs around the world.

Apart from recording his own albums, Brown has also had his songs covered by leading American Christian artists, such as Chris Tomlin, Third Day, Jeremy Camp and Amy Grant. His song Undo was picked up for the then South African Idols winner Heinz Winckler’s second album and Blow Me Away was used in the movie Pride featuring Terrance Howard, which was directed by fellow South African and longtime friend Sunu Gonera. To date, his songs have appeared on over two hundred albums.

According to the American Billboard Charts, Soul on Fire was the most-played Christian song there in 2015, propelling album sales of Lead Us Back to peak at number one on the American Billboard Christian album chart and number 20 on the overall top-200 chart.

“It’s been an incredible year. I’m still in shock”, said Brown. “As a young musician, my goal was just to make a living play- ing the music I love. To have that music recognised at the Grammy’s is crazy. After calling my parents, the first person I got in touch with was my high school music teacher Sandee Grieve (who now teaches music at Bishops). I guess practising scales really does pay off. It takes a lot of people to get a monkey into space, and I’m grateful to every one of the large group of people who have helped me pursue music,” he said.

Brown’s dad is well-known Constantia artist Bill Brown. He told the Bulletin that despite getting the news at 3am he and his wife Jen are delighted and very proud of their son. “Getting into the final five in the whole of America against many many heavyweights, is a great achievement. It’s a big deal. He has applied himself for many years to arrive at this point.”

* The Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance Song category was won by Francesca Battistelli for Holy Spirit.