If you have ever been in love, fallen out of love, lost love, and found it again, you need to visit the Newberry Opera House, March 18, 2022 to hear Peabo Bryson, “The Voice of Love.”

This Greenville, South Carolina native is a two-time Grammy winner who will take you right back to THAT moment in your life. Perhaps, it will be the song “Tonight, I Celebrate my Love,” an emotionally charged duet, originally sung with Roberta Flack. Perhaps, it will be “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again” or “Can You Stop the Rain.” There is even the possibility it will be the two soaring Disney hits “Beauty and the Beast,” originally with Celine Dion, and Oscar-winning “A Whole New World” from Aladdin, originally with Regina Belle.

Songwriter Peabo Bryson will also share some of his new songs about love from his latest album “Stand for Love.”  Even after all of these years, Peabo is still writing about love. He said, “Every love is like a snowflake, no two are alike…I will never run out of words to write about love.”

Peabo’s understanding of love first began with his mother Marie Bryson. She had a passionate love of music. He said, “Take my mother out of the equation, and I wouldn’t happen.” She took her children to the Greenville auditorium to hear all of the music greats of the time.

He said, “I bet I saw Sam Cooke 15 times. I saw Jackie Wilson, all the greats.” By five or six years old he was singing along with them.  Folks in the audience would turn around and say, “Listen to that little boy sing.” Even then people could feel the emotion in his voice.

“I knew then that music was going to be my life,” he said. As he grew older, his interest in being a musician was strengthened as he saw how music transcended race, bigotry, prejudice and religion.  He remembered thinking, “What a noble profession.”

He prepared for this noble profession in high school, where his music director thought so much of his talent that he asked him to start a jazz band. His real education, however, began when he, at 14, he began singing backup for Al Freeman and the Upsetters, a local band.

Two years later Peabo began touring with the successful local band, Moses Dillard and his Tex-Town Display. The band required that every member be able to sing backup and front, write, play several instruments, compose, arrange and know his way around a sound studio. It was the equivalent of a master’s degree in musicology and performance. Peabo was an excellent student.

In 1976, Peabo launched his solo career with the song “Underground Music,” and he hasn’t stopped since then. He quickly became a favorite duo partner, beginning with Natalie Cole. He said, “Doing duos is not something you plan to do. It just happened.”

He quickly learned that duets are not a competition. However, it was with Roberta Flack that he truly discovered the secret to great duets. It’s about connecting with your partner, the song, and the audience. Music critics have acclaimed his mastery of “intimate music.” “New York Times” critic Jon Pereles dubbed him the “Pavarotti of Soul.”

September 2-4, 2016 Peabo Bryson was a featured performer at the Greater Charleston Low Country Jazz Festival. The presenters honored him by proclaiming September 4 as Peabo Bryson Day in North Charleston and Charleston, South Carolina.

Peabo Bryson, “The Voice of Love” and the “Pavarotti of Soul” will sing just for you and take you back to THAT moment of love you want to celebrate.


Andy Hawkins