|Born on: 05.05.1963
James LaBrie (born May 5, 1963) is a Canadian vocalist who is best known for being the lead singer in progressive metal band Dream Theater.
Kevin James LaBrie was born in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada and started singing and playing drums at age 5. By his mid-teens, he was a member of several bands as a singer and/or drummer, and in 1981, at age 18, he moved to Toronto to further his musical pursuits. He currently resides in Midland, Ontario, with his wife Karen, daughter Chloe, and son Chance.
After stints with various bands, he became the vocalist for glam metal band Winter Rose, who released a self-titled album in 1987.
In 1991 he learned that an American progressive metal band called Dream Theater was in the market for a singer, so he sent down a tape and was quickly flown to New York for a full audition. The trial went well, and he was chosen ahead of 200 other hopefuls to fill the full-time vocalist position in that band.
Having two Johns (Myung and Petrucci) in the band already, and with another Kevin in the band, LaBrie dropped his first name and adopted his current stage name of James LaBrie.
LaBrie has since had a significant impact on the vocal melodies on each Dream Theater album, but continues to have little input into the musical side of Dream Theater. To date he has written lyrics for at least one song on each album (excluding Images and Words) Dream Theater has released with him in the band.
On December 29, 1994, while vacationing in Cuba, LaBrie suffered a severe case of food poisoning and while vomiting, ruptured his vocal cords. He saw three throat specialists who all said there was nothing they could do for him and the only thing he could do was rest his voice as much as possible. However, on January 12, 1995, and against doctor's orders, he was on the "Awake" tour in Japan with his voice far from normal. LaBrie has said he didn't feel vocally "normal" until at least 1997. But in 2000, the "Scenes from a Memory" tour almost destroyed his voice completely. LaBrie has said that this was a very hard time for him as a singer. He got a bit depressed and wanted to leave the band. His bandmates supported him and told him to stay. After the "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" tour he discovered that his voice was back. He has said that his voice was fully healed by time and training. It is very notable in his live performances, for example the 20th anniversary DVD Score.
His musical inspiration comes from many different genres, including such artists as Metallica, Ludwig van Beethoven, Nat King Cole , Queen and Sting, whose inspiration, according to LaBrie, is shown on the Dream Theater's album, Octavarium.
Throughout his career with Dream Theater, he has lent his voice to many other artists' records as well as tribute albums to some influential artists. In 1991, not long after joining Dream Theater (and before ever appearing on a Dream Theater recording), he sang background vocals on the song "Life in Still Water" on Fates Warning's "Parallels" album.. He has appeared on many Trent Gardner releases (including Leonardo: The Absolute Man and Explorer's Club), as well as appearing on albums by such artists as Ayreon (The Human Equation, released 2004), Shadow Gallery, Tim Donohue and Frameshift.
With Matt Guillory and Mike Mangini, LaBrie has released three solo albums under various names (Mullmuzzler, James LaBrie's Mullmuzzler, and simply James LaBrie). His latest, Elements of Persuasion, was released in March, 2005. A fourth solo album is widely rumored to be in the works.
Since 2004, LaBrie has been working with the True Symphonic Rockestra project, along with Thomas Dewald, Vladimir Grishko, Dirk Ulrich, Christopher Jesidero, Sandro Martinez, Paul Mayland, Marvin Philippi, and Igor Marin. Their album, "Concerto In True Minor - 3 Rock Tenors" was released on iTunes and for download on Amazon on March 28, 2008 by Brainworx and Marinsound.
LaBrie is also a featured vocalist on Henning Pauly's "Babysteps" project released in 2006, LaBrie plays the role of the arrogant doctor.
James has said in many older interviews that he is Christian, and actively practices the religion. However, more recent interviews, along with some of his lyrics (including "Undecided" on Elements of Persuasion) imply a more spiritual and deist perspective, separate from any form of organized religion.