My name is Jason Gray and I’m a singer / songwriter. I also have a speech impediment known as stuttering, obviously. There is a traumatic event that activates it in you. My story it was when my parents divorced is when it showed up in my life. I was in the first grade and I never raised my hand in class. I was afraid that the teacher would call on me. I just became very inward and quiet even though I had things to say. The first time I remember hearing the voice of God through a Simon and Garfunkel song “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” They were my favorite and I loved that song. I was a little boy, maybe in the third grade. I remember hearing that song and something in my heart going; “Pssst…hey, this is how God feels about you.
I didn’t grow up in the church or in a Christian home. I grew up on the road with my Mom with a bar band. There wasn’t anybody to tell me that that’s how I should interpret a song, you know, that I should spiritualize it in some way. So, I think that had to be the Holy Spirit, right?
The first time I recognized God speaking to me, was through a Jewish Agnostic pop singer / songwriter…Paul Simon. I don’t remember a moment where it occurred to me that when I sang my speech issue went away. The healing of music, I knew early on I wanted to be a part of that. It was complicated of course because how is a guy with a speech handicap going to have a career where he’s on a microphone? You know, like, if you get hung up on a “P”, puh, puh, puh, puh, puh, it sounds horrible. I remember a specific moment where after a concert, a person came up to me and they thanked me for having a speech handicap. They told me how much it meant to them and helped them that I had this very obvious imperfection yet I did what I believed I was supposed to be doing. Early on I thought that my speech handicap would have to go away in order for me to have a career as a professional singer / songwriter. I have been so grateful to discover over the years that it’s my speech handicap that actually makes people feel like they can open up their hearts. At my concerts, it’s become the great gift in my life and in my work. Who knew?