Jon Vezner

Jon Vezner's Biography

Award winning songwriter Jon Vezner is a tunesmith of rare sensitivity and dry wit. His catalog of recorded songs, topped by the poignant "Where've You Been", reflects his "Straight to the Heart" ballad sensibility. Vezner weaves the particulars of his own feelings and the lives of people he has known into universal themes that deeply touch listeners' emotions.

Born June 6, 1951 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Vezner was lead singer and bassist in bands through high school and earned his B.A. degree in Music Theory and Music Education from Minnesota Southwest State University in the mid '70's. He was prepared for a career as a music educator, but his main interest was writing songs. Being so far from the music capitals of New York, Nashville and Los Angeles, he didn't realize that writing music was a career option.

In 1984, Vezner located Wrensong, a Song Publisher in Minnesota. He made weekend trips to Nashville to attend seminars sponsors by the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), but didn't consider moving there until Wrensong got a couple of his songs recorded by country acts Dave & Sugar and Mel McDaniel. Wrensong set up offices on the ground floor of a house on Nashville's Music Row. Living in the apartment upstairs was a former waitress and demo singer who had just begun her career as a recording artist: Kathy Mattea.

"Her car battery went dead one day, so I 'jumped' her," explains Vezner. When he moved to Nashville in 1986, he and Mattea became friends and dated for a while. Friendship grew into love and they married on Valentine's Day in 1988.

Mattea at first resisted recording her husband's songs, but not because she didn't love them. The songs were powerfully emotional for her, but she didn't want people to think she was buoying up her husband's career through nepotism.

His catalog of recorded tunes extended to album cuts by Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, a top 20 single by Lorrie Morgan and a single by the Cannons before Mattea finally overcame her resistance and recorded a couple of Vezner's songs. Her gamble paid off with "Where've You Been," a hit that lifted her career to new heights with a 2nd consecutive CMA Female Vocalist Award, a Grammy for Best Female Country Performance and sales to gold record levels.

"Where've You Been", which he co-wrote with fellow singer/songwriter Don Henry, told the true story of Vezner's grandparents so powerfully that it earned Song of the Year honors in both the Country Music Association and The Academy of Country Music for 1990. The song was also honored with the Grammy as Best Country Song that year. Vezner was subsequently named Songwriter of the Year by the NSAI. Other co-penned songs recorded by mattea include "A Few Good Things Remain", "Time Passes By", "Whole Lotta Holes", "Who's Gonna Know" and "All Roads to the River."

Vezner resides in Nashville and writes for Warner-Chappell Music. He has had various songs recorded by Janis Ian, John Mellencamp, Steve Wariner, McBride and the Ride, Faith Hill & Victoria Shaw. In 1998 Clay Walker's hit single "Then What" quickly moved up the charts to be #1! And also in '98, Diamond Rio recorded the song "You're Gone" by Jon and co-writer Paul Williams.

In the spring of '99, Paul Williams and Jon were asked by David Kelly (writer/producer of Ally McBeal, The Practice, Picket Fences) to write the closing title song for the Season Finale of Ally McBeal. The song "I Know Him by Heart" was beautifully sung by Vonda Sheppard.

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