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Imagine spending 10 days at a French castle, where your only concern is to wake up and decide with whom you want to make music that day.
John Berry knows the feeling. He recently attended a songwriting retreat where he got to compose tune with such luminaries as pop legend Carole King.
"It was one of the most amazing times of my life," recalls 43-year-old John, best known for his 1994 chart-topping classic "Your Love Amazes Me." "It's like being at songwriting camp. We all live together in the castle, and after breakfast they divide us into groups of two, and that's who you write with all day."
The fruits of John's labor can be heard on his album All the Way to There, which was recorded at his home in Athens, Ga. He's also about to release a live album from last year's Acoustic Songs and Stories Tour, available within the next few weeks on his website, johnberry.net. It's where you can also get the latest CD recorded on his annual holiday tour, Christmas Live.
With John's busy schedule, it's no wonder he's contemplating reducing his workload. He wants to spend more time with wife Robin and their three children, TaylorMarie, 13, Sean, 8, and Caelan, 7, so he can write songs and enjoy his leisure time. "My hobbies are my kids' hobbies Ã¢ÂÂ I have one that races motocross and one that rides horses, so my hobby is strapping motorcycles to a trailer and getting a horse onto a trailer," he laughs. "It's a lot of fun. And of course they play soccer and football and baseball. I was a Little League coach last year and the official national anthem singer at the games!"
But he'll be delaying those plans at least for the summer. In May, John will embark on his 30-40 city Painting the Town Tour with David Lee Murphy and Lee Roy Parnell. The tour lasts through September. And he's also doing his part for charity, hosting a golf tournament in Athens, Ga., on April 24 for St. Mary's Hospice House.
John is grateful for his family and his health Ã¢ÂÂ especially following the 1994 removal of a brain cyst that could have killed him. While he's healthy and happy, John admits he'd still like to add to the long list of hits he racked up in the 1990s, including "She's Taken a Shine," "Standing on the Edge of Goodbye" and "I Think About It All the Time."
"I just want to stay in the game," he says. "I think I have something to offer, and I hope to find something that will strike a chord with listeners."