ATOM Artist Profile - A.J. Masters
Hit Nashville songwriter AJ Masters let's his own voice shine through on Yester Deja Vu.
By: Scott Kinnison
It is with a heavy heart that we tell you AJ Masters died from cancer on January 12, 2015. With AJ’s death the music world lost a kind, humble man who left behind a legacy of great songs and numerous friendships among those in the country music world.
AJ had written hit songs for Faith Hill (Love Ain't Like That), John Berry (Change My Mind) and Randy Travis (An Old Pair Of Shoes). Released in 2013, Yester Deja Vu was AJ's opportunity to go beyond the songwriter role and let his soulful, country voice be heard.
Whether it's original versions of AJ's hit songs, toe tappin' country in Same Ol' River, social commentary in No Ordinary Times or spiritual redemption in A Healin' Song, the 12 tunes on Yester Deja Vu showed why Nashville's top artists chose material written by AJ Masters.
Masters was raised in Southern California and lived in the Nashville, TN area. At age 14 he learned to play bass guitar in his older brother’s band. Over the next twenty years, he wrote songs and performed in various bands, duos, and as a soloist. Being both a singer and a songwriter was a very important part of his musical development. AJ signed with an independent record label, Bermuda Dunes Records. Within three years he had 10 charted singles, was voted Independent Male Vocalist of the Year, and was nominated by the Academy of Country Music for New Male Vocalist. He also performed on the New Faces Show with Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakum, Keith Whitley and Sweet Hearts of the Rodeo.
Some of AJ's songwriting honors include BMI Millionaire Award for "Change My Mind", multi platinum award for "Love Ain't Like That", independent song of the year for "We're Here to Stay", and nominated for a Nammy for "Buffalo". During the early 90's, AJ played acoustic guitar for the great Charlie Rich.
Prior to his passing, AJ could be found singing and playing songwriter shows, festivals, and house concerts throughout the country. He also played guitar or bass on the road or in the studio with Jennifer Hanson, Ray Scott, Steve Azar, or Charlie Rich Jr. AJ was a lifetime member of NSAI and in addition to Hill, Berry and Travis, he wrote songs performed by The Oak Ridge Boys, Diamond Rio, Charlie Rich Jr., Ronna Reeves, Gene Watson, Ray Scott, Zona Jones, Steve Azar, Jo-El Sonnier, Fat Boy, Frazier River Band, Jennifer Hanson, and Georgia Middleman.
AJ will be greatly missed, but his music will live on forever. Heaven gained a special soul when AJ passed.