Wayburn Dean Bio & Interview - ChristianMusic.com
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Fans of Wayburn Dean know that he’s “not really supposed to be here.” He was born with rheumatic fever and wasn’t expected to live more than a few days. “Nowadays, they have remedies. But, back when I was born, they fully expected me to die,” Wayburn tells ChristianMusic.com. “It was in Hobbs, New Mexico. My Mom prayed for my life, the prayer of Hannah. And God spared my life. He gave me life and he gave me a voice.”

Dean used that voice from an early age. He sang the National Anthem at the start of a high school football game when he was only eight. He was director of his church choir even in high school.

The first time he walked away from music, Wayburn says, was in college. He studied it, but he majored in business at Southwestern Christian College, in Terrell, Texas, and then went into the oil business.

He never stopped singing in church and eventually helped form the renowned Gospel quartet, Acappella. “The group was two black guys and two white guys. That was one of the draws.” Wayburn claims, “People saw that color doesn’t matter.”

In 1994, though, after five and a half years, eight records and numerous awards, Wayburn Dean quit Acappella, supposing that would be the end of his performing career. “We were extremely busy, only home ten days a month,” Wayburn says. “It was time to do something else. I needed some rest.”

He went back into business, working on development, mostly for charitable organizations. He was also CEO of an abstinence organization called Enlighten Communications, out of his home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, which had speakers that went across the country presenting the message of abstinence.

“Then, after 9/11, the funds dried up,” Wayburn says. “My wife, Janae, said, ‘I think God wants us back in music.’ Once we decided to do that, the doors flew open.” The couple contacted some of their old friends back in Nashville, who had been encouraging them to “come back” for years.

“It was like a God-ordered thing. God was calling us back,” Wayburn says. “It is my natural purpose so God made the road easy.” The first task was to get out an album. Wayburn built on the beautiful, intriguing melodies that helped make Acappella successful.

He also teamed up with Janae Dean on many of the songs. “Sometimes we scour the nation for a song and it is right here in our living room,” he says. “Janae writes the lyrics and I write the melodies and do the arrangements. I couldn’t do it without her. We travel together. The ministry is our baby, guided by God. We ask God how best can we reach the people that are seeking Him.”

They are reaching the people, too. Both of his recent albums, his second solo, “Immeasurable,” as well as the recently released “Through the Rain,” have songs at the top of the charts.

“I love praise music. But with some people, they’re not there yet,” explains Wayburn. “They’re hurting on the inside and it’s difficult to praise. We want to reach those people, too, so it’s a blend of music. Some of it’s upbeat, some of it’s not. A blend and mix of rhythms and tempos.”

Whatever style of music Wayburn and Janae Dean choose in the future, they know that they are doing God’s work. Says Wayburn, “Our true calling is to make music and reach the hearts of men.”

By Nate Lee

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