Born March 16, 1953, in Ogden, UT; married, wife's name Jodi; children: Brandon, Devin. Addresses: Home--Riverside, CA. Agent--Ray Ware Management, 1102 West Main St., Franklin, TN, 37064.
For 25 years, Bryan Duncan has spread the Christian gospel in his songs, concerts, and 17 albums--released both as a solo artist and a member of Sweet Comfort Band. Duncan's music is a mainstay on contemporary Christian radio and has earned him a long list of awards from the industry. He was nominated as male vocalist of the year in the 1994 and 1995 Dove Awards, for example, and named Christian Research Report, male vocalist of the year in 1993.
Baby-boomer Duncan was born in Ogden, Utah, on March 16, 1953. While in college in 1973, he was a founding member of the trio Sweet Comfort, which featured drummer Rick Thomson, bassist Kevin Thomson, and Duncan on keyboards and vocals. The group quickly developed a regional following in Southern California and, in the course of a dozen years together, climbed to the top of the Christian music charts. One writer called Duncan's music "infectious, groove- oriented, blue-eyed soul delivered with passion, emotion and precision."
In 1996, guitarist Randy Thomas joined Sweet Comfort and the band recorded its first song, Golden Ages, for the Maranatha Music label collection Maranatha V. The following year, Maranatha released the group's self-titled debut, which received airplay on Christian radio and on mainstream stations in Southern California. After that first album, Sweet Comfort signed with Light Records and released five albums between 1979 and 1983. Three songs from 1979's Breakin' the Ice reached Christian radio's Top 20. Two years later, Campus Life, Billboard and CCM all named Sweet Comfort's album Hearts of Fire one of 1981's Top 10 Christian recordings. With the release of Perfect Timing in October 1983, it was time for Duncan to go it alone, however. Sweet Comfort announced that it would break up and, in early 1984, said goodbye during a three-month farewell tour.
Duncan launched his solo career by signing with Ray Ware Artist Management in June 1984. The following year, he toured Australia, and Light Records released his solo debut album Have Yourself Committed. The title song as well as "Child's Love" reached the Christian music charts. In the last half of the 1980s, Duncan toured regularly, released videos, and recorded the albums Holy' Rollin', Whistlin' in the Dark, which spawned four singles, and Strong Medicine--which received solid airplay and ranked 16th in sales among 1989's Christian albums.
Duncan then moved to the Myrrh record label and released The Anonymous Confessions of a Lunatic Friend in 1990. The album delivered five singles which topped the Christian music charts. In 1992, Duncan achieved similar success with the record Mercy--which Christian Research Report (CRR) named Album of the Year. On the strength of Mercy, Duncan was voted CRR's male vocalist of the year for 1994 and nominated for the same honor by the Gospel Music Association. His follow-up album, Slow Revival, spawned four more No. 1 hits on the Christian music charts. In 1995, Myrrh released Unidos En El, a Spanish language recording of Duncan compositions, and Christmas is Jesus--on which Duncan performs with a choir and full orchestra. The record also kicked off a Christmas tradition of popular tours on which the singer performs with local choirs and orchestras.
In 1997, Duncan released the upbeat Blue Skies, which he described as the third part of a trilogy that included the records Mercy and Slow Revival. The trilogy recounts Duncan's journey from the recognition of his need for God, through his efforts to deal with that need, and finally to his arrival at spiritual peace. "Blue Skies is saying, 'Hey, there's a clearing in the sky,'" Duncan told interviewer Bob Lupine. "I mean, it doesn't always stay stormy. And sometimes you can't help help but have good things happen to you, even if you're not trying. It's just a matter of recognizing them when they're there.... One of my favorite songs on the record is 'After This Day is Gone.' I like singing it, because in the chorus it goes, 'I believe after this day is gone, long after all the damage is done, there's still a place in your heart for me.' That song is me reaffirming that God loves me, because it's so easy for me to talk myself out of believing that."
Writer Douglas McKelvey called Blue Skies "a portrait of a man who has stumbled upon a reservoir of peace, faith and joy even in the midst of his perseverance.... Running the gamut from plaintive, heartfelt ballads to soulful mid-tempo numbers to upbeat tunes reminiscent of James Brown in his heyday, the songs ... reveal a consummate vocalist and performer." A review in CCM Update described Blue Skies as one of Duncan's best records in years and said it "moves beyond the blue-eyed soul that's become his trademark ... to dig deeper into R&B and jazz influences--think equal parts Smokey Robinson and Sting." Reviewer John M. De Marco, writing in Christian Retailing, said the album "is more organic, less slick, and features fewer effects" than past Duncan releases, while "showcasing his straight-ahead natural voice. The album's lyrical content is intimate."
by Dave Wilkins
Bryan Duncan's Career
Bryan Duncan's Awards
Named Christian Research Report's male vocalist of the year in 1993; twice nominated as male vocalist of the year in Christian music industry's Dove Awards.
- Selective Works
- Have Yourself Committed, Light Records, 1985.
- Holy Rollin,' Light Records,1986.
- Whistlin' in the Dark, Modern Art Records, 1987.
- Strong Medicine, Modern Art Records, 1989, Modern Art Records.
- Anonymous Confessions of a Lunatic Friend, Myrrh,1990.
- Mercy, Myrrh, 1992.
- Slow Revival, Myrrh, 1994.
- Unidos En El, Myrrh, 1995.
- Christmas is Jesus, Myrrh, 1995.
- Quiet Prayers: My Utmost for his Highest, Myrrh, 1996.
- Blue Skies, Myrrh, 1997.
- With Sweet Comfort Band Sweet Comfort, Maranatha Music, 1977.
- Breakin' the Ice, Light Records, 1979.
- Hold On Tight, Light Records, 1980.
- Hearts of Fire, Light Records, 1981.
- Cuttin' Edge, Light Records, 1982.
- Perfect Timing, Light Records, 1983.
- Christian Retailing, Nov. 11, 1996.
- CCM Update, Nov. 25, 1996.
- Additional material used in this profile came from interviews with Bryan Duncan conducted by Bob Lepine and Douglas McKelvey and published on the Internet.
Visitor Comments Add a comment…
over 11 years ago
Wow! never heard of him searched on youtube and I found a song that really touches my heart 'Come Holy Spirit I need You Now" God bless you Bryan.. Beautiful beautiful voice. Wow!!!! Lisa
over 11 years ago
Been listening to this fella since Love You With My Life... actually a little earlier with Sweet Comfort Band... though I had no idea at the time. =) What a beautiful & soul-reaching voice. Grabbed me by the ears and my heart was swept away into the tide of lively lyrics and mesmerizing music ever since. He's always had that dynamic, impulsive little "something" that has kept my fascination tuned in to make sure I don't miss one syllable or note. What an incredibly beautiful soul he shows through his music. I can hardly wait for more!
over 11 years ago
Discovered Bryan's music in 2001 and have been swept away by the talent and spirit flow throughout his music. My spouse had not appreciated and contemporary Christian music until he listened to Bryan Duncan. Thank you for giving your commitment to Christ. Surely He is using your talents to continue His work on earth. See you in Heaven.
over 12 years ago
wow wow wow. When it comes to love is one of my favorites. I've just recently found Bryan. Never heard of him before. How blessed am i. I have new thoughts of what GREAT christian music is. Bryans music style is what the Lord ordered for me. i listen to his music almost everyday. Top notch production work and studio engineering. Fabulous arraingments on background vocals!!! I wish it was all this good. ;-) oh well God bless us all. Denise p.s. check out Russ Taff 80s music really good too. Different than Bryans sytle but a blessing as well. Russ is a powerful expressionist of lifes experiences in his vocal work. look at his solo work. check out the song "Breath Life Into Me" you'll love this song!
over 12 years ago
Bryan, my favorite song by you has always been "Love You with my Life." I looked for it for about 10-13 years and my husband's friend reintroduced me to it in 2008! I knew I liked the song but I (like Black Gospel music) had no idea who sang the song. I believe I first saw you sing it on Bobby Jones' video in 1992! Thanks again for sharing your God-given talents with the world and blessing so many hearts/lives!
over 12 years ago
i don't know if you will ever read this bryan, but i want to thank you for your beautiful music and voice! i have NEVER had a song move me the way that "after this day is gone", did. the first time i heard it, i sat at my desk and cried uncontrollably, (thank goodness my preschoolers were napping). "long after all the damage is done, there's still a place in your heart for me", just blew me away. these words resonate in my mind everyday, because i listen to your cd literally,..... everyday! thanks for giving me one more way to stay with the Lord and sing to Him my praises! love always!
over 14 years ago
I'm looking for the lyrics to Sweet Comforts first recording..."Golden Ages" It is truly a powerful song and I haven't heard it for many many years! Duncan does a great job on it!