Brent Vernon usually is as a singer-songwriter, ventriloquist, and children's author-illustrator from South Florida. If that's enough for you, please feel free to stop here. But if you'd like to know more about Brent's life and work, feel free to keep reading.
Brent was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. When he was a toddler, Brent's family moved to the small beach town of Hobe Sound, Florida. Early in life, Brent developed a love for the creative arts. In elementary school, he enjoyed drawing cartoon characters and playing the piano. One Christmas, his parents gave him a ventriloquist figure. It didn't take long for Brent to learn the technique and, soon, he was entertaining his friends and family with his puppet "Will."
Music & Ventriloquism
In high school, Brent became interested in sharing his faith through the vehicle of music. He assembled a small vocal group and started writing and arranging music for them to sing at a variety of church and school functions. When he was in the 11th grade, Brent and the group recorded their first album called Anywhere. The group, known as Vision, went on to release three more albums together.
A year after graduating from high school, Brent and Vision went on the road full time, sharing over 200 concerts a year from the mid to late 90's. Their tight harmonies and heartfelt messages resonated with audiences coast to coast. On the group's first Christmas tour, Brent was encouraged to incorporate his ventriloquism into the program. Reluctantly, he agreed. Will, the puppet, was an immediate hit and soon became an integral part of Vision's concerts. The following summer, Will retired and Sam took over. Brent and Sam are still a team.
With growing families and geographic challenges, Vision eventually stopped touring as a group. Despite the sadness of losing the daily camaraderie of dear friends, Brent and Sam continued to travel on their own. In 2001, Brent recorded his first solo album A Thousand Pictures, produced by renowned songwriter Dave Clark. With tracks like "If You're Not In It" and "Resignation" striking a deep chord with listeners, A Thousand Pictures was an independent success. Brent still sings several songs from this project.
Other recordings followed—an instrumental collection called Keys, a recording geared to children called Sam Songs, a big budget studio album called Take To The Sky produced by Dove Award winner Don Koch and featuring the City of Prague Philharmonic, and more.
In 2015, after nearly twenty years on the road, Brent decided to record again. This time, he wanted the project to better reflect his personal journey and musical sensibility. So he learned the ropes and produced Hope & Hunger almost entirely by himself. Nearly all of the writing, programming, digital editing, and final mix was Brent's work. With the help of a seasoned team of recording professionals and orchestral arrangers, Brent delivered the album in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of his previous project. Yet Hope & Hunger is the studio album that Brent considers to be the most meaningful. Standout cuts include "Your Story's Not Over," "The God Who Brought Me Back," and "What You're Asking Of Me."
Most recently, Brent released Keys: Songs from the Altar, a soul-searching follow up to the original Keys instrumental recording. Altar includes songs of invitation and reflection.
Children's Stories & Art
Brent has always appreciated the opportunities to sing and play music, but in 2010, he felt strongly that his love for great stories and characters should finally be realized. Late that year, he released his first children's book, Neckless: The Audrey Amaka Story.
For years leading up to this, Brent struggled with feelings of inferiority. He dealt with those all-too-common feelings of inadequacy, wrestling with the same question that haunts most perfectionists: Will I ever be good enough?
Writing his first book proved to be therapeutic for Brent. It was the tale of a little giraffe who was born without a neck! You read that right. In the story, Audrey (the giraffe) learns to "take what you have and do something good with it." As she discovered, it's too easy to worry about what we don't have. Rather, we should use whatever is in our hands—our time, talents, and resources—in good and selfless ways. Following the success of Neckless, two more books about Audrey Amaka and her friends were released over the next few years. Audrey's adventures continue to delight children around the world.
Brent has always loved the Christmas season. For several years, his whimsical "Countdown to Christmas" sketches on Instagram have been used to support the work of Love And Hope In Action, Inc., a charitable organization based in Stuart, Florida.
In 2015, Brent released a Christmas book, The Gingerbrood—the rollicking tale of five gingerbread cookies on the run. Written in verse, The Gingerbrood is geared to younger readers, but retains a level of humor and sophistication that older children enjoy as well. A delightful follow-up called The Gingerbrood & Little Dart was released in December of 2017 and the educational Cookies and Colors with the Gingerbrood board book in the summer of 2019.
Brent has plenty of dreams and creative projects as he balances a busy tour schedule and develops new products and writes new stories. Despite the constant motion, Brent insists that there is a point to it all. "My ultimate goal," he says, "is to make a meaningful connection with people and point them to a loving God—a God who can change us from the inside out. The decisions we make in this life matter in the next. And because of God's grace revealed to us through Jesus, we have the hope of eternal life. I feel strongly that my talents must be used to share redemptive messages. It might not always be overt, but there will always be, at the very least, a pebble trail to my faith in Christ."
Every story, a story of redemption. Every song, a testament to Grace.