Over the course of his career, John Tesh has become a leading and well-respected figure in the entertainment and broadcast industries. An Emmy Award-winning and Grammy-nominated musician/composer and broadcast journalist, Tesh is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show and head of his own highly successful media company. He can also be seen as a frequent guest on such national shows as The Tonight Show, Live with Regis, The Today Show, Hour of Power, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Larry King Live.
With two gold albums, more than a dozen Top 10 bestsellers, several pop radio hits and three hit Public Television specials, Tesh's music crosses several genres, reaching an ever-expanding audience of listeners. In September of 2000 Tesh ventured into new, yet familiar musical territory with the release of Pure Hymns, a collection of inspirational songs of worship, many of which he performed growing up at Westbury Methodist Church in Garden City, New York. Through Pure Hymns, Tesh offers a collection of both traditional hymns and contemporary songs, performed as instrumentals with orchestral and acoustic accompaniment. A special highlight includes a guest appearance by the Dove Award-winning Christian group, 4HIM. Pure Hymns is one in a series of "The John Tesh Project" albums and will be released through his FaithMD Music label.
Pure Hymns follows John's last CD, Pure Movies 2, which was released this past April and quickly hit #1 on the Billboard New Age Charts. In 1999, Tesh released his One World CD in conjunction with a hit PBS special of the same name. Again, the album went to number one on the Billboard chart and the PBS special became one of the most successful programs of the year. The project brought about Tesh's first tour in over two and a half years, which ran from August 1999 to January 2000. This past May, Tesh announced the formation of The TeshMedia Group, the parent company which oversees his growing music and touring, broadcast, production, publication and Internet divisions. The music and touring division is comprised of three music labels, each created to appeal to different segments of his audience. Garden City Music will release all solo, project and presents albums by Tesh; FaithMD Music will service the Christian community.
Tesh's broadcast division includes his nationally syndicated "The John Tesh Radio Show" which is heard in over 145 markets across the county. The three-hour program has been dubbed "Music and Intelligence for your Life" and features music from today's top artists along with celebrity interviews and the latest entertainment news. The TeshMedia Group recently launched FaithMD, a project Tesh began this year with his pastor Louis Lapides. FaithMD presents expert advice and experiences from influential Christian leaders through interviews on an array of issues and topics within the Christian faith. The information is then presented through a number of different published formats. The FaithMD Newsletter published monthly by the TeshMedia Group can be previewed online at www.FaithMD.com. According to Tesh, FaithMD represents the title and vision of the project because "we need, at all times, a strong prescription for our walk with God, and faith is truly the answer."
The TeshMedia Group has also recently launched HealingMD, the primary source for the most reliable and scientifically validated health information and nutritional formulas available. The on-line site, www.HealingMD.com, combines the best of traditional and alternative medicine, with the most current and reliable information on the best ways to stay healthy. Hundreds of the most respected practitioners and researchers deliver the most current health and lifestyle information which provides the foundation for the company.
For many, Tesh was a revelation when he first appeared on PBS with Live At Red Rocks. Ironically, television, which first made him a household name, had for some time sidetracked Tesh from his true love, music.
His life began in the New York City suburb of Garden City. Playing piano and trumpet from the age of 6, he studied with teachers from the Juilliard School of Music and was named to the New York State Symphonic Orchestra in high school, while also playing organ in a rock band. He continued to play while at North Carolina State (his family's from the area). In 1975, a degree in communications in hand, his voice landed him jobs in local TV news, shuffling from Nashville (where Oprah Winfrey was at a competing station) to Raleigh to Orlando and finally to New York's WCBS where, at age 23, he was its youngest reporter.
After two local Emmys and an Associated Press Award for investigative journalism, the three-sport high school varsity athlete joined CBS Sports in 1981. Reporting on the Tour de France the next year, he offered to compose original music to underscore the coverage. Viewers contacted the network, asking where they could purchase a tape. Wondering if there was a market, Tesh placed an ad in two bicycling magazines. Receiving 5,000 responses, he began manufacturing cassettes for mail orders and sold 30,000 out of his garage.
Ironically, television, which first made him a household name, had for some time sidetracked Tesh from his true love, music. "I was defined by 'Entertainment Tonight' for years," he says. "I loved that show, but it had less to do with my life than anything."
In 1983, he won an Emmy for Best Musical Composition with his Pan American Games Theme. Even as he became co-host of Entertainment Tonight in 1986, he continued to compose and perform. His original music has been heard on broadcasts of the Olympics, Wimbledon, the NBA (his "Roundball Rock" theme is NBC's signature music), NFL, World Gymnastics Championships and Ironman Triathlon, as well as the animated series "Bobby's World" for five years. In 1987, he won an Emmy for his Tour de France music which, when released on his first album, was a Top 5 New Age hit. After being named "Best New Artist" by Keyboard Magazine in 1988, Garden City (1989), his second album on Private Music, again went Top 5, and at the New York Music Awards won the "Best Jazz Album" category, with Tesh named "Best Instrumental Composer." He took home his third Emmy in 1991, for "Best Opening Music" for NBC Sports' World Track and Field Championships.
In 1992, Tesh formed GTS Records and released the music he composed for the Barcelona Olympics on his CD The Games. The same year, A Romantic Christmas became his first gold record. "But it was time to do something huge. I wanted to go to the next level, to prove to people that I was serious about music." Live At Red Rocks did just that. Ranked as one of the most successful fundraising programs for PBS, stations broadcast the program repeatedly. "The people who watch PBS, and they are numerous and varied, are the people who come to my concerts," says Tesh. "Some of them are dragged there by their wives or girlfriends but then they'll come backstage and say, 'Wow, this was far less boring than I thought it would be.' I'll take it as a compliment!" Suddenly, Live At Red Rocks was a gold album, a double platinum home video, and the Adult Contemporary star was a phenomenon.
Also in 1995, PolyGram purchased a half-interest in his company and GTS (named for stepson Gib, himself, and wife Connie Sellecca) was renamed GTSP (with the addition of his newborn daughter Prima). The next year, GTSP was honored as the #1 Contemporary Jazz Label on Billboard's Top Independent Chart. Then, in 1996, Tesh boldly left "E.T." and its seven-figure salary: "I finally decided that I wanted to be a full-time musician and that I had to quit the TV job." He then set out on a 60-city, three-month tour prior to the release of Avalon. In 1998, Grand Passion became his third consecutive original album to hit #1 on the New Age charts and was nominated for both a Grammy and a Dove Award.
His mix of classical, pop, rock and jazz has sold more than five million albums and sold out innumerable concerts. He has a mailing list of over 250,000 fans, an 800 number, and a web site selling everything from CD's to tour jackets.
"Living in Nashville for a while I picked up one very important tip from country artists' "The fan," says Tesh, "It's all about the fan and I'll never forget that. I believe in myself but I don't believe any of this is really happening. I'm certainly the anybody in anybody can do this." But 'anybody' doesn't get a genre of music named for him: Teshmusic, big but not intimidating, familiar yet original, intense but still fun.
His music is very much like himself.