Born in the mid-1950s in Muncie, IN; married; children: Karen, Philip, Elizabeth, Sara. Education: Business and marketing degree, Ball State University, IN. Addresses: Website--Ray Boltz Official Website: http://www.rayboltz.com.
Contemporary Christian music singer Ray Boltz has sold more than one million albums, the result of songs and albums which charted repeatedly throughout the 1980s and 1990s. His inspirational songs have been sung by a number of his colleagues, and Boltz in turn has contributed to popular compilations by multiple artists. In the late 1990s, he assembled a rock-flavored band, thus expanding his inspirational repertoire. Boltz has successfully distinguished himself for his sincerity and integrity in the commercially hyped music culture. In his religious zeal, he undertook a regular battery of public concert tours even as he embraced traditional missionary travels beyond the realm of his musical ministry. In his devotion to the Christian ideal, he embarked on a series of expeditions that sent him to Africa and Asia. While on tour, he collected hundreds of thousands of dollars for food to feed starving people in Calcutta, India.
Boltz, a native of Muncie, Indiana, was born in the mid 1950s. He attended Indiana's Ball State University where he studied a business curriculum and graduated with a degree in business and marketing. Even as a teenager in the early 1970s, Boltz embraced a commitment to Christian ministry. He employed his musical talents to bring a Christian message to shut-ins including prisoners, hospital patients, and convalescent home residents. Likewise, he performed concerts for Christian youth groups. A dozen years passed, and by the mid 1980s Boltz's commitment to a musical gospel ministry was firmly entrenched as the basis of his career. When he released his first album, Watch the Lambin 1986, the message of Christian commitment was clearly evident. Thank Youand The Altar followed by the end of the decade, in 1988 and 1989 respectively. He released Another Child to Hold in 1991.
Boltz released Seasons Changeon Word Records in 1992. Also that year, Boltz emerged as a presence on Christian radio. Among his popular recordings that gained distinction were a series of number one airplay hits including "Seasons Change," "The Altar," and "Thank You." He amassed a following of loyal fans through personal radio appearances throughout the early to mid 1990s. He issued a follow-up album, Allegiance,accompanied by a re-release of Thank You in 1994.
Parallel with the advancement of his musical career, Boltz nurtured his missionary work and eventually combined the two pursuits. When his teen-aged daughter made a six-week missionary visit to Africa in the mid 1990s, Boltz and his wife were inspired to contribute their own talents to the youth organization that sponsored the trip. Ultimately, Boltz penned a spiritual, "I Will Tell the World," which sparked the administrators of the youth group to authorize a video performance of the song to be filmed on location in Africa. The experience of the African shoot left indelible images in Boltz's memory, and he subsequently sought further opportunities to contribute to missionary programs worldwide, both in person and financially. His enthusiasm drove him to step up the glitzy media effects on his live stage shows in order to attract larger audiences. His fund-raising efforts, which occur largely at his concerts, were augmented in the process. Boltz, a natural baritone, transformed his musical bent into a profitable career as well as a full-blown missionary machine. As Boltz incorporated this Christian ministry into his itinerary, his missionary travels landed him beyond Africa and into India.
By 1995, Boltz was an established talent in the Christian recording industry. Indeed, his first five records alone sold more than one million units by 2001. In September of 1995, his Concert of a Lifetimealbum premiered on the BillboardChristian music chart shortly after he embarked on a North American tour by the same name. The promotion culminated nearly one year later, on June 22, 1996, with a concert at the Joe Byrne Memorial Stadium in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland. A video was released soon afterward, and in May of 2001, the video (by that time certified as gold) was released on DVD. The live concert album reigned at the top of the charts for many weeks as well.
Beyond the success of his Concert of a Lifetime tour, 1995 brought Boltz to a sense of new awakening in his non-musical ministry. In the fervor of this epiphany he initiated an affiliation with a worldwide relief agency called Mission of Mercy and successfully raised nearly $500,000 for the Colorado Springs-based organization. With the money raised by Boltz, largely through donations solicited at his concerts, Mission of Mercy purchased food in a quantity estimated at between four and five million meals, which were earmarked for the starving population of Calcutta, India. Much of the fund-raising occurred when Reverend Wayne Francis joined Boltz's tour. Francis later assisted Boltz in arranging a trip to Calcutta to witness the charity drive in action.
In 1997, Boltz embarked on No Greater Sacrifice, a tour of the United States and Asia. Venues for No Greater Sacrifice extended from Dallas, Texas, to Hong Kong and Bangladesh. In Asia, where Boltz performed for free, he transported modified high-tech staging paraphernalia complete with video displays and Asian translations of the song lyrics in an effort to simulate the elaborate concert productions that he performs regularly in the United States. At every American venue, in contrast, Boltz arranged for a collection to be taken. He then designated the proceeds from the collections to be donated to Mission of Mercy.
In 2001, Boltz marked his fifteenth year of musical ministry with the re-release of Moments for the Heartin a special two-volume compilation of his most popular hit songs. A video and a DVD by the same name accompanied the anthology entitled Moments for the Heart, Vol. 1 & 2. The album featured such popular tracks as "The Altar," "Thank You," and "Shepherd Boy," along with Boltz's chart-topping hit, "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb." Other popular singles included "What If I Give All" and "The Anchor Holds." An assortment of eleven key selections featured on the associated DVD included "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb," "Thank You," and "What If I Give All." Likewise, a series of Concert of a Lifetimeitems for children were released at that time, including a CD, cassette recording, and video under the title Jesus Real Loud ...The Concert of a Lifetime for Kids.
by Gloria Cooksey
Ray Boltz's Career
Singing career began as a ministry to hospitals and convalescent homes; released Seasons Change, 1992; released Allegiance, 1994; international tour, 1995-96; No Greater Sacrifice Tour (United States and Asia), 1996-97; released Honor and Glory, 1998; toured eastern U.S., 1999; released Moments for the Heart, Vol. 1 & 2, 2001.
Ray Boltz's Awards
Dove Awards, Song of the Year for "Thank You," 1990, and Inspirational Recorded Song for "I Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb," 1995.
- Billboard, November 14, 1998, p. 20.
- Dallas Morning News, October 5, 1996, p. 6G; November 30, 1996, p. 6G; April 26, 1997, p. 6G.
- "Ray Boltz," Jamsline Archives, http://www.jamsline.com/b_boltz.htm (April 19, 2001).
- "Ray Boltz Biography," TodaysChristianMusic.com, http://todayschristianmusic.com/Profile-RayBoltz.htm (April 19, 2001).