Stephen Pate Bray (born December 23, 1956 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American songwriter, drummer, and record producer. He is best known for his collaborations with Madonna and for winning the 2017 Grammy Award for the Best Musical Theater Album of the Tony Award-winning revival of The Color Purple. Bray owns and operates Saturn Sound recording studios and the Soultone Records record label.
Collaborations with Madonna
Bray met Madonna before her fame when she was attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for dance. He moved to New York after receiving a call from Madonna two years later; at that time she was a member of the band Breakfast Club in New York City. Madonna wanted to form a new band and invited Bray to play the drums. They formed the band Emmy and the Emmys.
Madonna obtained her recording contract with Gotham Management, managed by Camille Barbone. The music she was producing with them was more rock oriented but Madonna had her eyes set on dance music. She and Stephen Bray continued working on a parallel project, more club oriented. After being signed to Sire Records, Madonna continued collaborating with Bray.
Together, they wrote and produced some of the biggest hit songs of the 1980s, including several of Madonna's biggest hits. The songs Bray and Madonna composed often followed a distinctive structure, many of which repeat the song's second verse and bridge before fading out with the chorus. Their partnership concluded with their work on Madonna's Like a Prayer.
The Breakfast Club
Following Madonna's rise to stardom, Bray rejoined Breakfast Club, and the quartet signed first with ZE Records and later with MCA. The band's eponymous first album was released in early 1987, preceded by the Top 10 hit "Right on Track". Bray co-wrote most of the albums' songs with bandmate Dan Gilroy, and Bray produced several songs. The band's second album was not released, and Breakfast Club broke up shortly afterward.
The Color Purple
- "Ain't No Big Deal" by Barracuda (original demo by Madonna) on Epic Records 1982
- "Angel", Madonna
- "Stay", Madonna
- "Pretender", Madonna
- "Over and Over", Madonna
- "Into the Groove", Madonna
- "Say It, Say It", E.G. Daily
- "Baby Love", Regina, later covered by Dannii Minogue
- "True Blue", Madonna
- "Jimmy Jimmy", Madonna
- "Where's the Party", Madonna
- "Spotlight", Madonna
- "Cross My Broken Heart, The Jets
- "Sendin' All My Love", The Jets
- "Each Time You Break My Heart", Nick Kamen with Madonna (original demo by Madonna)
- "Right on Track", Breakfast Club
- "Causing a Commotion", Madonna
- "Can't Stop", Madonna
- "Express Yourself", Madonna
- "Keep It Together", Madonna
- "Baby Gonna Shake", Royalty
- "Get Over", Nick Scotti (original demo by Madonna)
- "Count the Days", "Rhythm Of Love", Kylie Minogue
- "Little Black Book", Gina G
- "That's Why", The Party
- "Needin' Someone", The Party
- "Change on Me", The Party
- "Most of All", Jody Watley
- "Warning Signs", Madonna
- "Desperately Seeking Susan", Madonna
- "Working My Fingers to the Bone", Madonna
- "Pipeline", Madonna
- "Love Attack", Madonna
- "First Is a Kiss", Madonna
- Azizian, Carol (May 17, 2008). "Broadway musical 'The Color Purple' heading to Fox Theatre in Detroit". Flint Journal. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- "Complete list of nominees for Tony Awards". USA Today. May 17, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
- Sclafani, Tony (March 7, 2008). "Madonna true blue enough for Rock Hall". Today.com. Retrieved October 19, 2013.