Southwest Oklahoma's Resource For News and Entertainment
Saturday September 23rd 2017

BEVERLY PERRY: READY TO TAKE A CHANCE

Beverly Perry is taking chances. But for her, the reward for her endeavors is worth the risk.

With the release “River,” Perry is revealing her innermost thoughts and getting back to where she belongs. Because it has been a while since her last venture into the recording studio as an artist, Perry said she is treading with care.

“I haven’t done music in years,” she confides. “I have been supporting everybody else. I finally decided to do my own thing.”

Doing her own thing meant creating her own very personal music: her compilation consists of the last seven songs she has written over the course of three or four months. Her songs serve as a snapshot of her present, but Perry also chronicles her past within her music.

She began singing as a teen, and in her freshman year of high school, she found success in Heartsong—one of the first contemporary Christian acts to hit mainstream radio. One of their singles was a hit on Christian radio charts.

“It was big on Christian radio because there was nobody then,” Perry said. “There was nobody. We were hated by a lot of people because we had drums, and back then it was very controversial to have drums and electric guitars in church.”

After touring with the band, Perry said she went home to everyday life. Perry worked as a

leader in Surgeon Education and R&D for Alcon—the largest ophthalmic pharmaceutical and medical device company worldwide—for over 17 years across 50 countries, and was training LASIK surgeons overseas before the procedure was legal in the United States. She was always following musicians and Perry said, she would occasionally drop in at the Warwick Melrose Hotel in Dallas to sing standards at The Library Bar.

“I always wanted to pursue music, but it does always pay the bills,” she said. “I know that there are a lot of struggling musicians that are trying to do their thing and make a go of it—it is really hard to make it your career.”

After witnessing reality impede her own burgeoning career, Perry said she put her energy toward developing an online resource for artists. According to Perry, BPMusic Network functions as a global platform, and the roster includes songwriters, musicians, studio artists, music producers and music lovers of all genres. Perry is launching her site and releasing her music in tandem, and she is inviting other musicians to showcase their work at her launch party.

“I didn’t want to just roll out my own music and then that was it. I wanted to find a way to weave in my passion—helping other musicians get their music out there and be known—while launching my own record.”

For her, the titular song of her record traverses sacred territory and crosses genres. Strings

beckon before the percussion starts, and a gentle guitar riff sets the song in motion. This

cinematic instrumentation compliments her voice, and when the sound meets the melody it elicits chills. Perry said the song resonates within her because it is her own confession.

“That song was about going through experiences and feeling out of sorts,” Perry said. “It is kind of a prayer and a spiritual song, but it is just about me wanting to get back to feeling normal again. I think everyone has been at that place before.”

Memories of her parents divorcing and the subsequent departure of her father manifest into another song, “To Forget.”

“The song is about me remembering my sister grieving over my father leaving,” Perry said. “She was really little. I have memories of things like the feel of our carpet and the sound of our screen door, and I mix these snippets with remembering her sadness.”

Perry reminisces while singing, but she evades nostalgia on this track by looking back on these memories with aching clarity: she pairs a sparse arrangement with intensifying vocals and poignant lyrics before the tune ebbs back into a lullaby.

“Funny what we remember when we try so hard to forget,” she sings. “Funny what we hold on to when we try so hard to forget—when we try so hard to forgive.”

She went in to record the song with Executive Producer and Arranger Matthew Gaskins, her cousin. The string players from the Colorado Symphony Orchestra came in to play on her memoir in sonic form. It was an emotional moment, Perry said, and her voice mirrors what she felt.

“‘Don’t worry about your pitch, don’t worry about singing it perfectly—just feel it,’” Perry said, recalling his words.

Not only did Gaskins produce the album, but he was also on hand playing piano, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, traditional and stand-up bass, drums and percussion. And he knows music when he hears it—he holds a Master’s in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas.

Perry is thankful for his involvement on her work, a record that combines country, folk and pop elements, and she is in awe of his talent.

“Watching him create track after track in the studio will take your breath away,” Perry said. “He is truly a musical genius. Because he is often behind the scenes, people have no idea how talented he truly is.”

In one song she wrote, ‘Beautiful Loneliness,’ Perry found inspiration after watching Oprah Winfrey interview Adam Levine and Blake Shelton on television. On this song, the horns give the upbeat track its groove, but the lyrics lament the lack of commitment. Events that would soon followed made the situation ironic.

“Blake is making fun of Adam because he was a super model serial-dater,” Perry said. “While I was recording that song, Adam Levine gets engaged. He must have known I was recording this song to make fun of him.”

Another song whisks her back to the Caribbean Islands, and the song encapsulates that excursion like a postcard illustrates a picturesque vacation scene.

“I have one about going on a trip to Anguilla; it’s called ‘Get Away,’” Perry said. “I sang it at a reggae grill there with a scratch band. Someone came up to me at the table while I was singing it. He was doing the wolf whistle in his bare feet with shorts on. It was Steven Spielberg. He came over and shook my hand and said, “I love that song.’”

While it humbles her to earn on-the-spot accolades from a legendary film director,

screenwriter and producer, Perry said she is indulging in her own desire to create—she is not striving to become an overnight sensation.

“When I first started putting it out there that I was going to release a cd, everyone started

messaging me, giving me advice on how to make it in the music industry. I said, ‘let me clarify—my goal is not to make it in the music business; it is to do what has always been my heart’s desire, and that is to create.”

Lending her expertise to other musicians made her evaluate her purpose. After reading “Daring Greatly” Dr. Brené Brown, Perry said she soon made the decision to stop living vicariously through other musicians. Venturing into the studio made her feel vulnerable, Perry said, but she was ready to channel her fears into music.

“Vulnerability is the beginning of creativity; without vulnerability, you can’t truly be creative,’” Perry said, quoting author Dr. Brené Brown. “I decided to let myself be vulnerable.

photos taken by Lisa Siciliano @Dog Daze Photo