In early 2019, John Berry revealed that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer, a scary diagnosis for anyone, but especially someone whose entire career revolved around their voice. Although the velvet-voiced singer was later declared cancer-free, and was able to sing again, the treatment did leave Berry with one unfortunate side effect.
“The radiation kind of fried my taste buds,” Berry admits to Everything Nash. “It smoked my saliva glands really bad, the radiation treatments. It’s starting to get back, the taste is coming back, but it doesn’t last long. I can taste things and it’s really good. And then three bites later it’s like maybe not so good.”
There are a lot of foods Berry can’t taste, but one type of food he has found he enjoys, and can fortunately taste, even if it doesn’t make much sense to him.
“Milkshakes are good, but what’s really weird is I can’t eat ice cream,” Berry reveals. “Ice cream off of a spoon does not taste the same as a milkshake through a straw. A milkshake on a spoon doesn’t taste the same. It’s weird.”
Berry released his faith-based Find My Joy album earlier this year. The title, as well as all of the songs, might seem odd for a person who had been through so much, including cancer, followed by the time off of the road because of the pandemic. But the 62-year-old says that it is precisely those reasons that made him want to release the spiritual record.
“When I got my cancer diagnosis, I told my wife — we were talking about it that night,” Berry recalls. “I said every time these things happen — I was in a motorcycle wreck years ago, and I had surgery to remove a polyp from my vocal cord. I had broken shoulder surgery, just lots of medical things. I’m kind of a medical walking disaster. But I said that I just believe that God uses these things to get my attention. And she said, ‘Please, please listen this time.'”
Berry has enjoyed a successful career as a country music singer. But it’s Find My Joy that focuses on the kind of music Berry enjoys listening to the most, even if he never released a faith-based album until now.
“I love Christian music,” Berry tells Everything Nash. “I love singing music about Christ, love for God, and His love for us. I tried it a few times. I tried to put some projects together and it just never happened. It never worked. It wasn’t the right mix of people and songs.”
Find Berry’s music and tour dates at JohnBerry.com.