John Stoddart, a classically trained pianist, is in the forefront of establishing a style of Christian contemporary music that melds the wide variety of musical experiences that have shaped him into a gospel music with contemporary orchestral elements, ethereal singing, and intricate yet expressive rhythms.
A musical prodigy, Stoddart was raised in Philadelphia. By the time he graduated from Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania, where he had studied and played classical music, he seemed to be looking at a career as an organist and concert pianist.
As his musical horizons widened, however, he became intrigued with the vast palette of sound afforded by other instruments, and while he was a student at Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, he founded Urban Junction East, a production company. Following graduation, he taught music for a while as an adjunct faculty member at Oakwood College, now University.
In the past decade, in addition to being a pianist, Stoddart has enjoyed a variety of musical experiences, from songwriting to background singing, plus being a producer for soul and jazz acts with Diana Ross, Patti Austin, Michael McDonald, and Kirk Whalum.
His 2003 CD, Wings to Walk this Road, is a virtuoso display of talent and creativity that departs from the usual gospel music releases. Its balladry and emotion-laden lyrics, which have been described by one listener as mellow and soulful, showcases his expressive voice, creative orchestration, thoughtful and heartfelt lyrics, and skillful piano improvisations.
Sources: Jeff Trubey, "Making Waves," Adventist Review, 17 July 1997, 8-13; Reger Smith, Jr., "In All Directions," Adventist Review, May 2005; Online Sources.