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August 9, 2004

From Payne comes inspiration

From: New York Daily News, NY - Aug 9, 2004


The religion-wary should consider the church of Joshua Payne.

Born deaf, his hearing was restored by doctors when he was 3 - which is a miracle in its own right.

Yet, he testifies: "I'm religious about exercise and eating breakfast and hearing and listening and being a part of my surroundings."

An inspirational singer/songwriter, Payne opens for the pop string quartet Bond tonight and tomorrow at B.B. King Blues Club.

"I have a group of people that I call my church, who are my home, who love me and care for me and tell me when I'm screwing up," he says. "Faith is in the arts, the thing that pushes me to believe that surely somebody out there wants to hear what I want to say."

Payne, whose father is a minister and his best friend, has a handful of ways to express himself. Like classical cutie Josh Groban, Payne's recently released "Your Love, My Home" showcases a set of emotional, hopeful, classical-infused ballads. When he's not singing, Payne, 31, turns to painting watercolors. Then … there are the clothes.

"In terms of fashion, I study all the magazines," says Payne, who owns a boutique in Nashville called Vintage and pillages estate sales for recycled looks. "My mom was a great dresser and I remember a lot of styles from the TV shows I watched growing up. Plus, I have an opera background, so I know about period clothing, makeup and hair."

After a series of back, hip, knee and groin injuries destroyed a college football career at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, Payne turned to music for solace. The baritone, who peppers his conversation with expressions like "Golly!" and "Whoo!" - has played leads in operas, including "Don Giovanni."

His first recollection of music? "Right after my operation, my parents played me 'Peter and the Wolf' and it made me cry," he says. "In my memories before I was 3 I couldn't remember hearing anything. Then there was music. I knew it would always be a part of my life, but never reckoned I would make a career out of it."

All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.