About My Gospel/Inspirational Music
I started playing piano in my father's church when I was 9 years old. I practically grew up in church since we attended church services three times a week. I enjoyed playing for the church choir but was very impressed whenever I heard gospel singing groups performed on special Sundays. These singer groups would perform in the church and were equipped with four or five guys and had full instrumentation such as guitars, bass, and drums. Although I appreciated some of the old spirituals and black gospel sounds of those earlier days, I knew that there was a sound or style of "gospel" that would be more appealing to me and to a younger generation.
As a high school student, I was heavily influenced by the music of such artist as Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Carol King, The Carpenters, Chicago, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. So when I became a born again Christian in September of 1970, I started writing songs that had the contemporary sounds that I heard on the radio but with words of inspiration. I started performing my brand of gospel music in churches, youth camps, revivals and at other church-related functions in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The sound was mostly pleasing to all who heard me. But when I started traveling nation-wide in 1974, I went to churches in states like Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa where the congregations were a bit more conservative. There where a few times that my rocking, jazzy style of music raised eyebrows by folks who thought that songs about Jesus should be more reverent. But like a real trooped, I kept pressing on with my happy jazz sound.
In the summer of 1975, I began recording my debut album entitled, "Shine Your Love" at Associated Recording Studios in Oklahoma, City. There I met musicians such as Bruce Hibbard, Mike and Nancy Demus, Harlan Rogers, Kelly Willard, Bob and Jayne Farrell, and others, who would later have an influence on the contemporary Christian music scene in the seventies. Although I was offered a national recording contract with a Christian music record label of which I never signed, my music received airplay in cities throughout the United States. Today thanks to the Internet, the Percy Mays "Shine Your Love" LP is a collector's item. I am very proud that this private label work of art has achieved such status and recognition. - Lee Mays