The Grammy Award-winning country artist is proud of his contribution to the new faith-based drama that links the fates of families in Rwanda and Nashville.
When I caught up with John Berry weeks ago at the CMA Fest in Nashville — he's the much handsomer fellow up there on the right — the Grammy Award-winning country star was eager to talk about his current album-in-progress, his fond memories of CMA Festivals past, and Wildfire, the debut EP of his son Sean Berry, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter whose music is described by his proud papa as “a cross between Merle Haggard and The Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd.”
As for his own recent musical endeavors, Berry sounded especially enthusiastic about “Beautifully Broken,” the title song for the well-received faith-based drama that was released last weekend in 650 theaters nationwide. The movie concludes with three unique renditions of “Beautifully Broken” by Dove Award-winning pop singer Plumb (who co-wrote the song with Jenny Slate Lee), Grammy Award-winning gospel artist CeCe Winans — and Berry, who also recorded a solo version of the song with long-time collaborator and producer Chuck Howard.
“Chuck co-produced the movie — and he also produced every song anybody’s every heard me sing on the radio,” Berry said. “So he did a great job, as always. And it’s a fabulous song, just a powerhouse song.
“When I showed up to record it, well, because Chuck had recorded so many songs of mine, he knew what key to put it in, he knew what instruments to wrap around my voice, everything. So the only thing they did when I left was add a background vocalist. That's all they did. I mean, the track was done. So it really came out nice. I’m real proud of it.”
Based on real-life events, Beautifully Broken is an affecting and uplifting drama that skillfully and respectfully entwines the stories of two African families affected by the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, and a well-to-do white Nashville family that faces its own crises while involved with their church’s refugee program.
“Because of the tapestry that God weaves for those three families — they’re literally able to save each other’s lives,” Berry said. “At the end of the film, when they’re all standing around in Africa, they realize that, hey, you saved you, and you saved you, and you saved you.
“It’s an incredibly inspirational story. A beautiful story, a true story. It starts in '94 when the [Rwandan Genocide] took place. One of the things that they told us is that every single person you meet in that area lost somebody. I mean 800,000 people were slaughtered. Think about it: 800,000. In the film, the opening scene is when the genocide starts. These bands of people going through and slaughtering other people — and it’s horrific to watch.
“And I don’t mind saying: It’s horrific to think that I was too concerned about recording my first album with Capitol to even have known about it. I didn’t even know about it. There I am recording ‘Your Love Amazes Me,’ and there's 800,000 people on the other side of the world being slaughtered.
“But like I say: This is a fabulous movie that brings this story to light. And at the same time, it shows this beautiful fabric that was woven, that only God could have woven, with these three families. Unbelievable.”