Face of Defense: Soldier Prepares for Recording Contract

By Army Sgt. Janell Emerson
10th Combat Aviation Brigade

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Jan. 2011 – The origin of Army Spc. Brian Stowe’s military career isn’t much different from other soldiers’ stories.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Spc. Brian Stowe sings a ballad he wrote for his co-workers at Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan’s Logar province, Jan. 4, 2011. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Janell Emerson  
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Stowe, of Elkmont, Ala., joined the Army in June 2008 and attended basic and advanced individual training as a human resources specialist at Fort Jackson, S.C.

He has deployed twice since his enlistment. He spent seven months in Iraq and now is deployed to Forward Operating Base Shank here with Task Force Knighthawk, assigned to the 10th Mountain Division’s 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.

But this is where his story becomes a little bit different: Stowe’s musical ambitions have led him to a recording contract in the Christian Contemporary genre after he simply had sought some feedback.

“I sent my song to them, not really looking for a contract so much,” he explained. “I was really hoping for a critique and just wanting to know what they would think.”

In June, Stowe got a phone call in which executives offered him a recording contract. “I was a bit overjoyed,” he recalled, “then a little disappointed, because we were about to deploy.”

The company’s executives decided they were willing to wait.

“They told me we could start recording once I returned,” Stowe said, “so it looks like [in] November or December … I’ll take some leave and start recording.”

Stowe is not alone in his endeavor. As the lead singer of his group, Sanctify Me, his band includes his younger brother Johnathan on bass and school friend Brittany Gibson on guitar. The trio has played together since high school.

“I can play drums and sing when we record, and I’ll play the keyboard when applicable,” he said.

He laughed as he recalled the moment when his band and family reacted to the news. “They were very happy and excited, of course. They were almost more overjoyed than I was.”

Stowe credits his wife, Evelyn, and the rest of his family in Elkmont as the sustaining factor for his music and ambitions. “I have awesome support with everything. … You know, this is our dream,” he said.

The dream began during his sophomore year of high school. Stowe was given his first instrument, a white First Act electric guitar. He quickly discovered his natural affinity for music by teaching himself to play the guitar, along with picking up the drums, keyboard and bass soon after. Creating a band was a natural evolution.

Stowe said he enjoys the camaraderie and support of his unit and looks to their continued backing as he moves forward with his music. The soft-spoken soldier said his fellow troops encourage his musical aspirations.

“They support me,” he said. “They keep my morale up.” At the prompting of his co-workers, Stowe works on his lyrics and sharpens his skills with several instruments available at the local chapel and, at times, in the office.

“I do it because they ask me to and for their morale,” he explained

Army Spc. Nicholas MacAlpin, Task Force Knighthawk chaplain assistant, said his friend’s goal of succeeding in contemporary Christian music is a no-fail aspiration.

“He is the most amazing guy I have ever known in my life,” said MacAlpin, a native of Painesville, Ohio. “He is a man who encompasses the Army values, and his music surpasses most artists for his age."