Brent Vernon is 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, just read on!
Brent was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but his family moved to Hobe Sound, Florida when he was a toddler. Early on, 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 to sing with them at church and school functions. 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 hit the road full time, sharing over 200 concerts a year in the mid to late 1990's. Their tight harmonies and heartfelt messages resonated with audiences everywhere. On the group's first Christmas tour, Brent was encouraged to incorporate his ventriloquism into the program. Reluctantly, he agreed. His puppet Will was an immediate hit and went on to became an integral part of Vision's concerts. The following summer, Will was retired and Sam took over. Brent and Sam are still a team.
With growing families and geographic challenges, Vision's tour schedule eventually came to a halt. 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 children's album called Sam Songs, and a studio album called Take To The Sky produced by Dove Award winner Don Koch and featuring the City of Prague Philharmonic orchestra.
In 2015, after nearly twenty years on the road, Brent decided to record again. But 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, 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 beloved hymns of invitation and reflection.
Children's Stories & Art
Brent has always appreciated the opportunities to share his music, but in 2010, he felt strongly that his childhood love for great stories and characters should be explored. Late that year, he released his first children's book, Neckless: The Audrey Amaka Story.
For many years, Brent struggled with feelings of inferiority. Like many, he dealt with feelings of inadequacy, wrestling with the same question that haunts most perfectionists: Will I ever be good enough?
Writing Neckless—the tale of a little giraffe who was born without a neck—was therapeutic for Brent. In the story, Audrey (the giraffe) learns to "take what you have and do something good with it." As she discovered, it's easy to worry about what we don't have. Rather, we must use whatever we have—our time, talents, and resources—in good and selfless ways. Following the success of Neckless, two more Audrey Amaka books 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 seasons, his whimsical "Countdown to Christmas" sketches on Instagram were used to raise awareness about 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 young 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 continues to balance his tour schedule with developing products, writing new stories, and designing children's books for other authors. Despite the constant motion, Brent insists there is a point to it all: "My ultimate goal 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. What we do in this life matters 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 to promote healing and wholeness in our hearts and homes."
Every story, a story of redemption. Every song, a testament to Grace.