Jack Wright fell in love with the spotlight and the microphone as a small child, and the pure joy of being on the stage has been at the heart of his performing career for decades. He started out as a boy soprano entertaining at church events for nothing more than milk and cookies. The “entertainer” in him found expression from high school through college in musical theater and classical music performance, and that might have been his career path – except for the economic reality that pop singers in lounge acts make more money.
So -- following one of the most challenging lead roles in musical theater, as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, he literally “took his act on the road.” During a continuous 13-year stint as a cover artist, he went from playing behind chicken wire in a cowboy bar to years of repeat bookings at luxury hotels and resorts throughout the U.S. and Canada. And Neil Diamond songs were the big draw. Looking back – that was probably a sign of things to come.
Life on the road eventually takes its toll. The path to a “new life adventure” led him to pursue a degree in broadcast communications. But instead of moving on to a career in television production, his creative writing skills led him into the world of advertising. It was a natural fit; producing radio and television spots was, in many ways, an extension of his live performance experience.
He progressed from copywriter, to producer, to agency creative director, and eventually to the world of corporate marketing and advertising. But the strong desire to “put on a show” never left him. Soon, he was producing and directing corporate business shows throughout the U.S, Europe, Japan and Australia.
His answer to “what’s next?” led him to a new form of creative expression – documentary video production. Why not? The creative skills of the performer, musician, writer, producer, director seemed to fit perfectly into the world of cinematography and editing. The need for custom music scoring was apparent – the need for musical expression was still being fulfilled. And while he was very successful in the “moving picture” business, the yearning for live musical performance was never far from his heart. There had to be another “what’s next?”
How about a completely unexpected transition to contemporary Christian music? Part of the appeal was the wide-open opportunities to create original songs and arrangements in any genre – classical, pop, country, folk, jazz. And the chance to make a difference, eventually as a World Vision performing artist.
The day the music stopped was not something that he could have imagined or foreseen. His loving wife, business partner and co-performer was taken away by ovarian cancer in 2007. And that was that. Or so it seemed. But God always has a next something special – just in case.
The struggle to reestablish some kind of business life led to Napa, California. And there from the beginning of this new chapter of life, was Julie. Fearless, direct, observant, disciplined, meticulous – and nurturing. Six years of following a new life-path as a husband-and-wife production team resulted in more than 100 videos for non-profit organizations, and a one-hour eco-documentary shot on location in the Fiji Islands. And the importance of music, especially to encourage compassionate giving, had never been more important.
So here we are at yet another “next.” The ever-present attraction to live performance led to a whimsical offer to put together some Neil Diamond songs for a small charity event. And it worked! That led to an “open mic” event. Six Neil Diamond songs later, the audience reaction was surprising – and almost overwhelming. The timing is right. Neil Diamond is one of the most beloved performers in the past five decades. His music crosses generations of fans. And they can’t seem to get enough of it.
Jack's tribute to Neil, in many ways, a coming together of a lifetime of experiences. The boy singer became the young musician, the musical theater performer, the pop singer, the show and video producer, the composer and arranger. And now, in the realization of yet another of his life dreams, Jack Wright has emerged, not as an impersonator, but as a natural live performer of the best of Neil Diamond’s music. His voice is remarkably similar. His musical arrangements are accurate and powerful.
His “gut feeling” for Neil’s music probably comes from the same place as it was originally written: a need to express life’s ups and downs, hopes and aspirations, love found and love lost -- through words, melodies and expressive musical arrangements. It’s a natural fit. And it comes through honestly and passionately in every performance.