Traversing the worlds of gospel and secular music, multi-talented Howard McCrary has built a solid reputation as an award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and musician whose resume includes some of the most prestigious and important artists in contemporary music. Whether working with the likes of Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Chaka Khan, Edwin Hawkins or Andrae Crouch; performing in the popular gospel show Don't Get God Started; writing for the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra; or participating in successful animated cartoons like Mighty Joe Young, Howard McCrary brings a mix of artistry, enthusiasm, skill and positive energy to each and every project.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Howard grew up in a decidedly musical atmosphere: "My parents Luealfred and Charles McCrary had a great influence on my life. My mother played piano and my father was a choral master and we were associated with the Catherine Kuhlman Foundation, an interdenominational church. That's where I started singing," he recalls. One of ten siblings, Howard became a part of the family group known as The McCrarys with two of his brothers and two of his sisters. The team's initial work was in the gospel field. In the early '70s, the group performed throughout the U.S. Canada and on U.S.O. tours, recording one album Sunshine Day for Light Records.
In 1974, when the family decided to move from gospel to secular music, Howard decided to step out on his own, exploring his talents as a writer, arranger and accompanist. Five years later, he rejoined The McCrarys when the group recorded the album Just For You for Portrait Records. "We toured with The Jacksons, Gladys Knight, The O'Jays…and I stayed with the group for about a year," recalls Howard, who co-wrote the song "In Time" for Earth, Wind & Fire's 1980 gold double album, Faces.
Venturing back into gospel, Howard was hired as musical director for the ministry of evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Baker and after two-and-a-half-years working with the couple, Howard expanded his realm of musical activities: "I started working as a producer in 1985 and the same year, I got my own recording deal with Word Records. I co-produced the album, So Good and I was elated when I was nominated for a Grammy for "Best Gospel Performance, Male" for that record."
Establishing himself as a potent force in the gospel world, Howard worked with such notable artists as Larnelle Harris (on the Dove Award-winning album Give Me More Love In My Heart), Edwin Hawkins, Walter Hawkins and Andrae Crouch (all on various album projects).
During the late '80s, Howard traveled intermittently with various different evangelists and in 1987, he was given ASCAP's Duke Ellington award for most promising writer in gospel music and was commissioned to write a special piece (entitled "Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow") for the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra.
In an expression of his diverse talents, Howard became one of the vocalists for the famed California Raisins in 1988 and was featured on four best-selling albums by the group. In 1989, he became musical director and wrote songs for the highly successful play "Don't Get God Started" (starring The Winans and Vanessa Bell Armstrong) which enjoyed a critically-acclaimed run on Broadway.
As the '80s ended and the '90s began, Howard's workload accelerated considerably: he was featured as a background vocalist on Quincy Jones' best-selling Back On The Block: album, sang on records by James Ingram, Curtis Stigers and Andrae Crouch and arranged songs for BeBe & CeCe Winans' 1991 Different Lifestyles album as well as arranging vocal parts for the song "Keep The Faith" on Michael Jackson's 1992 multi-platinum set Dangerous.
He met Manager Tammy in '92 and began working with her sister, the legendary Chaka Khan in 1993 as keyboardist and musical director. In addition to touring with Chaka throughout the U.S., Howard traveled with her to Japan and Europe and it was during a stint in the U.K. that he appeared with her in the popular musical, Mama, I Want To Sing. Howard took up residence in London and toured throughout Europe performing jazz as well as writing the music and performing in the musical Shared Testament. After a couple of years in Britain, he returned to the U.S. in 1995, initially working as assistant to Bill Maxwell, the musical director for the UPN network show Good News.
Since the mid-'90s, Howard's schedule has been busier than ever. He worked with Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer on the film The Power Of One, lending his voice to characters in that movie, in Mighty Joe Young and in other animated cartoons, Hercules, Cats Don't Dance and Once Upon A Forest. Howard's studio activities have included production work with teen idol Jennifer Love Hewitt, soul diva Sandra St. Victor, gospel great Helen Baylor and successful R&B group Changing Faces.
He co-wrote and co-produced two of the tracks on Chaka Khan's 1998 Come 2 To My House album (including the title cut) and has done session work with Earth, Wind & Fire, Bette Midler, Nina Simone, Diana Ross and Huey Lewis & The News as well as participating with Chaka on producer Jermaine Dupri's 1998 set, 12 Soulful Nights Christmas.
Former Music Minister for the renowned West Angeles church in L.A. (from 1984-88) as well as for the Los Angeles True Faith Christian Center in Compton (2000-2002), Howard had contributed his many talents to supporting numerous important social causes. He started Vertex Entertainment, a record label distributed by EMI Records due to debut in 2003. "My role was to oversee the creative aspects of the label," he noted. "He produced some projects as well as recorded an album of his own. His main focus was to help and mentor young artists and support them in developing and enhancing their musical gifts."
Over the years, Howard also appeared on various TV Shows: Amen, the Jamie Fox Show, Good News, Family matters, In living Color, Dear John, General Hospital, The Tracey Ullman Show, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, etc.
Howard also appeared in the Tom Hanks Hit “Lady Killers” as well as in the Movie “Skeleton Key” with Kate Hudson.
For three years Howard has worked as a Vocal Stylist with the Legendary Seth Riggs.
He just recently spent about 2 year in Hong Kong, performing in various places, Music Clubs and Concert Performances. Commercial Productions with Musicad, Hong Kong.
As a Hong Kong Film debut he performed on the Soundtrack of the Chinese Movie “Confessions of Pain”.
Other plans include launching "a new millennium television network, KX2 which will be youth-oriented with a humanitarian core" and always. As Howard himself says, "I think my main purpose this time on earth is to use my music and my life as a way to bring healing and contribute to world peace. Music is," he notes, "a thread that connects us all, a medium where we can find common ground and celebrate life." As both an entrepreneur and masterful musician, Howard McCrary has much to celebrate as he continues to find new ways to express his boundless artistry and contribute his multiplicity of God-given talents and skills.
|English Name||Howard McCrary|
|Member Since||December 14, 2007|