You heard him on “The Voice.” Now get ready to hear the true voice of Geoff McBride, a voice born of tradition.
The powerhouse singer blew away millions of viewers – and judges Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green– with his explosive twist on Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” during the blind auditions phase of NBC’s mega-hit talent competition.
“I want to convey the essence of who I am as a vocalist and an artist,” the singer says, “my love for a variety of music, from pop and R&B to gospel, acoustic, soul and rock. Though my foundation is in soul music, I am not just a soul singer. I believe that all music transcends together.”
McBride, whose rough video demo of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” got him in the door and who sealed the deal singing “Drift Away” for the show’s executive producers, never viewed his time on the show as a competition – but rather an opportunity to share his gift. Having only returned to singing live professionally a few years ago after some years away from the industry, McBride’s rekindled passion inspired his decision to become a recording artist once again. A key part of this was the on-screen encouragement of Aguilera, who snagged McBride for her team after a mini-battle for him with Green.
Immediately after the singer wrapped “Higher Ground,” Aguilera enthused, “The very first note you hit blew me away!” She also emphasized her appreciation of his “amazing level of energy” that brought the audience to its feet. Lionel Richie was also dazzled by McBride’s incredible vocal abilities. “When Geoff walked in... BOOM!” Richie exclaimed excitedly. “His delivery was unbelievable. It was not coming out of a microphone. There was no speaker. I love it.” Judges Blake Shelton and Adam Levine echoed their colleagues' admiration for McBride after each of his appearances. "You can sing your ass off, man. You really... That was Stevie you're messing with there so that's a testament to your ability. Congratulations, man. You're awesome!" (Adam Levine)
With a rich vocal palette that taps as deeply into the church music traditions of his youth as it does the romantic power of legends like Seal, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Donny Hathaway, the North Carolina born singer brings his uncanny storytelling ability – in the tradition of another of his heroes, James Taylor - to his music and his live performances.
McBride's career began when a demo he worked on found its way to the brass at numerous labels, and McBride soon had offers for recording deals from Motown, Atlantic and Arista. Signing with Clive Davis’ label in the late 1980's, he soon found himself mingling with a roster that included Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Teddy Pendergrass, Jermaine Jackson, Carly Simon and Lisa Stansfield. The album he recorded for Arista, "Do You Still Remember Love?" was produced by the late Gerald Levert and spawned the Billboard R&B chart hit “No Sweeter Love.”
Even prior to his days with Arista, McBride had national recognition such as performing for President Jimmy Carter at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville in the late 1970's before he had even graduated from high school.
During a handful of years outside the industry, he eventually found his way back to music and started doing commercial work while performing regularly at Café 290 in Atlanta – a venue that was frequented often by a lot of heavyweights of the music industry.
An opportunity for the McBrides led him to move his family to the Florida Panhandle in 2006. There, he performed for locals and tourists alike at popular elite restaurants, private events, venues and working with the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center for a number of years, performing at various benefits, including three with Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman. Now, he is available in Atlanta, Asheville and across the Southeast, as he has recently relocated with his family to the mountains of Western North Carolina.
“Looking back on those early career experimentations,” McBride says, “I was probably more interested in finding myself than the type of music I would eventually claim as my own. Although I didn’t understand it at the time, those years of personal and professional discovery were a necessary part of my growth as an artist that, only now, I find paying off in this season of my career.
My dad passed away when I was very young, and he was a gentle soul who used to sing to my mom in the kitchen. I learned from them about the power of music to heal and inspire as the universal language. I want to tell the world that there is still real music sung by real singers. We’re still around and still have the chops – so brace yourselves!”