Mark Bright (record producer)

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Mark Bright
Genres Country
Occupations Record producer
Years active 1990s-present
Associated acts Carrie Underwood

Mark Bright is an American record producer, former label head, and successful publisher. Known for his impact in the country music genre producing acts like Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, Lonestar, Reba McEntire, and American Idol winners Carrie Underwood and Scotty McCreery. Bright has also worked with diverse artists such as Peter Cetera, Sting, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Alan Menken, Steven Tyler, and Keith Urban.

Early life[edit]

Mark Bright was born in Texas in 1959. His family, including father, Delbert Bright, mother, Jean Williamson Bright, brother, Kevin Dale Bright (1958) and sister, Lyndell Lucille McAllister (1955), moved to Longview, TX in 1961, when their father bought a small natural gas distribution company (Southern Gas Co.).

Bright attended Bramlette Elementary School, Judson Middle School, and Longview High School graduating in 1979. He struggled academically, suffering from an undiagnosed case of dyslexia. After diagnosis in 1974, Bright made grades just high enough to graduate. Despite his dyslexia, Bright excelled in various music courses. He participated in band and chorus both of which earned him All-State honors. Outside of school, he fostered his musicality by playing in rock bands formed with childhood friend, Kevin Humphries.

First Time In the Studio[edit]

His first recording experience came while attending a Small Liberal Arts College, Lon Morris College, in East Texas. Bright and fellow Longview High School graduate, Bruce Greer, began recording music together in the neighboring town of Tyler, TX where a mutual acquaintance owned an eight track-recording studio. After acquiring basic recording skills from the experience, Bright began renting studio time from the much larger commercial recording studio, RobinHood Recording, also in Tyler, TX.

Nashville[edit]

In the spring of 1981, Bright moved to Nashville, TN to attend Belmont College (now Belmont University). While at Belmont, Bright became friends with a classmate named John Briggs. Briggs held a job in the tape room of Screen Gems/EMI Music, and also had a well-known older brother, David Briggs, who owned a recording studio House of David. Upon graduating Belmont, the younger Briggs accepted a job at ASCAP, leaving his job at Screen Gems. Bright was then appointed the job at Screen Gems by Charlie Feldman, the general manager of the local company. Feldman acted as taskmaster for Bright, and a valued mentor as well.

Although Bright never graduated from Belmont, he was successful nonetheless. While at Belmont, Bright also met his college sweetheart, Anna Marie Sullivan, a Brentwood TN native who majored in accounting and earned her CPA certification in 1987. The two were married on June 14, 1986 and still reside in Brentwood with their two children, Onally Olivia Bright (19) and William David Bright (17).

Career[edit]

First Production Credit[edit]

His first official production credit was a Europe only release with Henry Gross, I Keep On Rockin', for Sonet Records. The project allowed Bright much needed time and experience behind the recording console, even if it was just in the basement of his home.

EMI[edit]

Bright started at the bottom of the totem pole when he began employment at EMI Music Publishing. Over a 12-year period he moved up the executive ladder rising to the position of Vice President EMI Music Publishing. He was also Vice President of EMI Nashville Productions and briefly had a joint-venture record label (1997) with Mike Curb called SoundStream Records. The label recorded and released one act, Cactus Choir, during the brief duration.

BlackHawk[edit]

In 1992 Bright signed artist/writer, Henry Paul to a publishing deal at EMI setting into motion series of introductions to fellow songwriters Van Stephenson and Dave Robbins. The three talented artists formed a group and were signed to a production deal via another mutual friend, Tim DuBois, head of Arista Records. Dubois gave Bright the break he had been waiting for. The group already had a producer on board to produce their first album, but Dubois decided to bring Bright in to co-produce the project. The group named themselves BlackHawk and the first single "Goodbye Says It All”, went to No. 11 on the US Country Chart. The band went on to sell 4 million records over six studio albums and one greatest hits compilation. Bright produced all of the band's albums, his first commercial production credits.

Teracel[edit]

Bright left EMI in late 1998 and co-founded his first joint venture publishing company with Donna Hilley and Sony/ATV Tree. Mr. Bright, along with partner, Marty Williams, founded Teracel Music in the spring of 1999. They signed Brett James, whom Bright had a prior relationship with at EMI Music Publishing. James had released a full length EP on Arista Career Records, which was a commercial failure and left him without a record deal or a publishing home. Bright agreed to sign James to a publishing deal even though James had moved back to Oklahoma to attend Medical School. The signing proved to be a wise one, as Brett James secured 44 recorded songs in the first year of his publishing deal, including Love is A Sweet Thing, off Faith Hill’s Breathe album, Martina McBride’s Blessed, and Jessica Andrews' Who I Am.

Teracel Music was sold in the Spring of 2005, the highest multiple ever paid for a joint-venture at the time. Songs in the catalog included, multi-week number one hit for Kenny Chesney, When the Sun Goes Down, Rascal Flatts' Bless the Broken Road, Martina McBride Blessed, Jessica Andrews Who I Am, and Carrie Underwood’s Jesus, Take the Wheel.

Rascal Flatts[edit]

Around this time, former Atlantic recording artist Mila Mason suggested that Bright and Williams check out a group she knew that often played on Printer's Alley. They did check the group out and were quite impressed. After taking a meeting with the currently unnamed band, Bright and Williams decided to offer them a publishing/production deal. They quickly went into the studio to record three songs, and chose the name Rascal Flatts. A Meeting was set up with Rascal Flatts and Doug Howard at Lyric Street Records, and a deal was secured shortly thereafter. Bright produced the first three studio albums, Rascal Flatts, I Melt, and Feels Like Today.

Rascal Flatts has gone on to sell over 17 million records, scored nine number one singles and seventeen top ten hits, with each of their five albums being multi platinum sellers.

Carrie Underwood[edit]

In the spring of 2005, Bright received a call from Joe Galante, chairman of Sony BMG Nashville, while Galante was meeting with Clive Davis. They called Bright to see if he would be interested in producing that year’s American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood. Bright flew Kansas City with Galante and Renee Bell, VP of Sony’s A&R, to meet Underwood. Two weeks later, they were in the studio making Some Hearts, Carrie’s first studio album, which went on to sell nearly 8 million units, was named Billboard's Country Album of the Decade. The collaboration to date has yielded 13 number one singles, over 14 million in sales, CMA Single of the Year for Jesus Take The Wheel, ACM Song Of The Year for Before He Cheats, and four Grammy awards.

Word Entertainment[edit]

In 2008 Bright received the opportunity to act as CEO of Word Entertainment. He accepted and served as president and CEO of Word from 2008 until 2010, when Bright decided to focus solely on his production and publishing company, My Good Girl Music.

Scotty McCreery[edit]

In 2011 Bright was contacted by Jimmy Iovine to produce the debut album of American Idol contestant (now winner), Scotty McCreery. Bright accepted the opportunity and looked forward to the collaboration. He produced McCreery’s debut album, Clear as Day. The album rose to the number one spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart. McCreery is the youngest artist to chart the number one position in Billboard history. The album was certified gold as of 11/15/11.

Currently[edit]

In January 2012, Bright began a new Joint-Venture/Master Rights Company with EMI Music Publishing, Chatterbox/EMI. He is the sole producer on Carrie Underwood's 2012 album, "Blown Away."

References[edit]

    1. Rea, James. “The Producer’s Chair: Mark Bright”. RowFax. 4 August 2011.
    2. Coan, Bob. “Mark Bright”. Nashville Music Guide. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
    3. Date, Frances and Harry. “Mark Bright-Interview”. Song Matchmakers Network. 22 January 2011.
    4. "Mark Bright Credits".ARTISTdirect. Retrieved 15 November 2011
    5. "Mark Bright Named CEO Of Word Entertainment.Nashville Business Journal. 10 November 2008.
    6. Cooper, Michael. "Q&A: Mark Bright & Stephen J. Finfer". Electronic Musician. 13 October 2011.
    7. "Mark Bright Discography". DISCOGS. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
    8. "Scotty McCreery "Honored" To Be Part Of The Music Scene In Nashville". Nashville Music Scene. 27 July 2011.
    9. "Country Music Producer Mark Bright Will Lead Christian Music Company". CMT NEWS. 10 October 2008.
    10. Mansfield, Brian. "Scotty McCreery Will Release 'Clear As Day' Oct. 4. USA TODAY. 12 August 2011.
    11. Dauphin, Chuck. "Carrie Underwood Sets Release Date For New Album". Covering Country Music From The 615. Billboard. 2 February 2012.
    12. Harr, Dan. "Scotty McCreery Breaks Billboard Chart Record. Music News Nashville. 5 June 2011.

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