Joseph Habedank - In His Own Words
It was a great privilege to sit down with Joseph Habedank of the Perrys to "get to know" him this week. He is a great talent that has a humble spirit and attitude, and I believe that is one reason God has chosen to bless this young man in so many ways. Although Joseph began singing the baritone part for the Perrys, he is now the lead vocalist with this exciting family group and his story is remarkable! Let’s take a look.
Joseph began singing with his mother’s side of the family, The Sandlins. His grandfather would preach various revival and campmeeting services and at the age of 5, Joseph joined them. He can remember singing as a trio with his brothers, Tim and Nate, for the very first time at the age of 4 where they sang the Hemphill classic, "He's Still Working On Me" at First Baptist Church in Forest, Ohio. That was the beginning for Joseph’s singing ministry, and he has put it, "God has given me the desire of my heart."
Years later, while vacationing in California, Joseph received a call that the Perrys were looking for a baritone singer. Joseph remembers that he was immediately interested although he had begun a solo ministry and was ministering in that way at the time. Friends played a great role in Joseph joining the Perrys. One friend called him to tell him about the vacancy and another took a solo CD to Tracy Stuffle in Tennessee at the Gatlinburg Gathering. Tracy asked Joseph at that point if he would like to audition for the group during NQC. With the Perrys being one of Joseph’s favorite groups, he jumped at the opportunity. Although a bit hesitant about Joseph’s age, 17, Tracy gave him the opportunity. Joseph remembers, "the ironic thing is that in early 2003, before I even knew that the Perrys would be looking for a group member, I realized that as an underage, 17-year-old minor, I needed to ask my mom if she would allow me to join a group at NQC that year IF I were even to receive an offer. After a few words of advice, she told me that I could go with her blessing if I was truly convinced that this was the will of God for my life." To make a long story short, he tried out with the Perrys on a Tuesday afternoon at the NQC, and Tracy hired him when they came off stage that Tuesday night.
Originally, Joseph was singing the baritone part, but change is inevitable. In time, Loren Harris, who was singing the lead part for the Perrys, resigned which left an opening. Joseph remembers Tracy initially offering the lead position to him but because of pride, he turned it down. He didn’t want anyone to see him visibly struggle vocally on stage, and he was sure that was going to happen because his range wasn’t that high at that point. After much prayer, the Lord helped him realize and face the fact that his original decision was pride based and that God indeed wanted him to take that lead spot. Joseph says, "in retrospect, I saw that the Lord was teaching me to completely rely on Him every night when I took the stage, and that was something that I had not been doing though I'm ashamed to admit it."
A struggle did come for Joseph vocally, but he is grateful that several months later, Rick Shelton (Director of Publishing for Christian Taylor Music/Daywind) encouraged him to see a vocal coach. Rick introduced Joseph to a lady named Kelly Garner who is still his voice teacher today and whom Joseph credits for saving his voice from serious vocal issues in the future.
About 8 months ago, Joseph married Lindsay (Bowman) Habedank which, he says, outside of his salvation experience was the best thing that ever happened to him. She currently teaches 5th grade at a middle school north of Nashville. She is excited about eventually spending more time at home and finding a less demanding job; and as Joseph told me, "she would appreciate your prayers in this area of her life. Not only is Lindsay a teacher, but she has a beautiful voice and is an amazing songwriter." Joseph and Lindsay have written a few songs together already.
The two met in Gray, TN about six years ago at the Appalachian Fairgrounds. The Perrys, along with other groups, were there that night. Lindsay recalls that she almost didn’t attend this concert, but Joseph is glad she did! She is his rock, his world, and his life.
Joseph vividly remembers the night that he proposed to Lindsay, so I want to share his words: "It was one day after her birthday in August 2009, and I had actually written a song for her with the proposal in the lyrics. I rented out a room at a quaint little restaurant in Bristol, Tennessee, and pulled out a guitar which I learned to play just for that special occasion. I'm seriously surprised that she responded as she did after hearing my feeble attempt to master some guitar skills; but she did, in fact, say 'yes' and the rest is history."
I asked Joseph, who is that one person or persons who you have looked up to emotionally, physically, and spiritually? This was his response: "The person I look up to most is my mother, Leah Sandlin. She is always full of the joy of the Lord, and I truly wish that I could be more like her in this aspect and in many other aspects of her life. She has more friends than any person I know; and I think that says something, not just about her outgoing personality, but about her character as an individual. She is also, more importantly, an amazing Christian and a Godly woman. Many of the readers may know this and some may not, but my mom actually raised my brothers and I as a single mother. Dad left our home when I was three years old, but I am very thankful to say that despite the past, the Lord has allowed me to have a wonderful relationship with him (and my sweet stepmom, Sherril), and they are very supportive of my ministry with the Perrys. They always make an effort to come hear us whenever we sing near their area. One of the things I appreciate most about my parents, including my stepmother, is that they go out of their way to get along with each other, despite the past and their differences, for the sake of their children. This is true parenting...sacrifice, and I am most blessed because of this! Thank you, Mom, Dad, and Sherril for setting such a wonderful example. I truly have, as the psalmist David worded it, a 'goodly heritage'."
The Perrys' hot-off-the-press new album Blue Skies is finally set to release in late February. The record features their brand new baritone vocalist, Bryan Walker, and Joseph believes friends of the Perrys are really going to love Bryan's smooth voice. Joseph was honored to co-write two of the 11 songs on the album: "Grace Doesn't Remember" and "Sounds Good To Me." It also contains their first radio release, "Celebrate Me Home," written by the Perrys' brilliant producer, Wayne Haun, and one of Joseph’s favorite songwriters, Joel Lindsey. Joseph says, "Libbi does an outstanding job painting the picture on this particular tune, and I can't wait for you all to hear it!"
Joseph would like to thank all of the readers, friends of the Perrys and fans of Southern Gospel Music for the tremendous amount of support you have shown him, not just in the last eight years that he’s been a part of the group, but especially in the last two or three years. You have not only embraced him as a singer and a songwriter, but you have loved him as a friend; and this means more to him than anyone will most likely ever know.
For more information, visit The Perrys' website at http://www.perrysministries.com.