For small-town baritone, James Berrian, there is one statement that sums up his feelings about being a part of Veritas. “It is a dream come true. I never thought I would get the opportunity to be a part of something of this magnitude, so I consider myself very blessed.”
For the classically trained baritone, settling for status quo has never been an option. Although growing up in rural Alabama may seem to be a disadvantage to the notion, Berrian has a much different perspective. “I grew up with friends and family who are excellent at what they do, and I’m very proud of them. My dad has owned his own business for 17 years, and he is literally the best at what he does.” Those surroundings have proven to be the foundation for James’s drive and determination to fine-tune his craft and pursue his dream.
It was the dream of becoming a singer that pushed James to study voice at a higher level. In 2005, James moved to Mobile to pursue his undergraduate degree in music education. “At that time, I really didn’t know what degree to pursue. So, I picked the course of study I thought would open the most doors and majored in Music Education.” While at the University of Mobile, James learned many valuable skills by participating in various ensembles and stage productions. Notable credits include ‘Figaro’ in Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”, ‘God’ in Nelson and Farrell’s modern oratorio “Saviour”, and the title role in Puccini’s comedic opera “Gianni Schicchi”.
Although Berrian’s foundation is firmly grounded in the classical style, his training and experience reaches into multiple styles and genres. Pop, gospel, musical theater, and barbershop also make up the pallet of musical stylings that have helped James in his upward pursuit of vocal excellence. “You can’t pigeon-hole yourself musically”, James laughs. “There are so many nuances in different stylings that help make you a better singer. I wouldn’t know what I know today had I not had the opportunity to try different things.” When James isn’t on the road with Veritas, it’s not uncommon to find him searching for the next inspiring performance. “I’m constantly watching concerts or shows to try and glean some information that will allow me to better my craft. I’m looking to find the performances that move me, and I try to figure out why they do.” It’s discovering these heart-felt moments that has helped solidify James’s passion for music, especially singing.
“Music has the ability to reach in and touch the deepest parts of a person’s soul” Berrian says. “As a member of Veritas, I have the special privilege of seeing that truth realized in the way that people are impacted by our music.” There is no denying the power that exudes from the stage at a Veritas concert. The blending of such diverse voices has produced a sound that is one of a kind. The classical styling James brings to the experience only helps to enhance that sound. “You couldn’t find a more unique group of singers. I would have never imagined a soulful tenor, a rock-and-roll guy, a musical theater dude, and two classical singers producing a pleasant sound, but that’s the magic of it. Somehow it works, and the people are really enjoying it!”