John Elefante (born March 18, 1958) is an American singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer. He is known for his tenure as frontman of the rock group Kansas and is currently touring with several groups that have featured members from classic rock bands.

Early Years
Born in Levittown, New York, his family soon moved to Long Beach, California. Growing up, he sang and performed drums for his family band, The Brotherhood.

As an artist, his credits include writing and singing lead vocals on three multi-platinum albums; as a producer, his albums have earned numerous GMA Dove Awards, four Grammy Awards (most recently in 2000), and ten Grammy nominations. He has maintained a close working relationship with his brother, Dino (co-writer of several Kansas songs), throughout his career and has been married since 1986, and has three children.

His career began in earnest when a young John Elefante auditioned as the new lead singer and keyboardist for Kansas, in 1981. That year, the band was one of the top-grossing concert acts in the world and Elefante had never been in a band apart from his family. Although several of the top vocalists of the day applied for the job (e.g. Sammy Hagar, Doug Pinnick, Jim Stafford), Elefante received the part.

Elefante sang the lead vocals and performed keyboards on two Kansas albums. He was also a major songwriting contributor (along with lead guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter Kerry Livgren). On 1982’s Vinyl Confessions, he co-wrote and sang the No. 4 Billboard Mainstream Rock hit, “Play the Game Tonight”. He also wrote the acoustic-based classic “Chasing Shadows”, along with the Top 40 single, “Right Away”. The next year, on the following album, Drastic Measures, he wrote the early MTV favorite, “Fight Fire with Fire”, which remains the band’s highest-charting single at No. 3 (Mainstream Rock) as well as a staple of Kansas’ live shows to this day. Elefante was also responsible for “Everybody’s My Friend,” which was released as the second single from the album and reached No. 34 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

Around this time the band began to buckle under the increasing strain of maintaining the consistent radio hits and record company commercial expectations. In addition, contemporary pop music was quickly becoming antithetical to the band’s organic, sophisticated aesthetic. A new age of sequenced synthesizers and drum machines confronted Kansas with the near-impossible challenge of maintaining their musical essence and commercial integrity. In 1984, on the retrospective collection The Best of Kansas, Elefante wrote the album’s one new track, “Perfect Lover”. That same year Elefante, Kerry Livgren, and Dave Hope left Kansas.

In 1985, “Young and Innocent” appeared on the soundtrack to St. Elmo’s Fire and was credited to “Elefante” as a collaborative effort by brothers John and Dino Elefante.

Elefante discovered another calling while still with Kansas—record producer. In 1984, he produced Perfect Timing for the ground-breaking Southern California group, Sweet Comfort Band. While not a major commercial success, Petra’s Back to the Street was a Grammy-nominated, breakthrough, commercial success for both Elefante and the band. He also contributed songwriting, keyboards, background vocals, and engineering to the effort.

With both John and Dino Elefante as the band’s primary producers, Petra’s already popular Christian pop/rock niche was given a timely boost. Their accolades include multiple gold albums, 10 consecutive CCM Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards, induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Hard Rock Cafe, and the only artist to ever have four albums in the SoundScan top-100 Christian chart.

In 1987 while producing a various artists album called California Metal, the album’s production team of John and Dino Elefante ended up one track short and they decided to add a song written for Kansas called “Wasn’t It Love” (originally entitled “What About Love”) under the name Mastedon. Regency later requested a full-length album which became Mastedon’s debut, It’s a Jungle Out There.

Closing out the decade, Elefante had produced five major label albums, and performed on 12. Over the next five years, Elefante worked at an almost frenetic pace as one of the most in-demand producers in Nashville. In addition to Petra’s further releases, he worked as the producer on 30 other albums. He usually performed on the releases as well, often sharing songwriting credits, as well. Elefante was committed to his role as producer, eschewing other opportunities such as an offer to replace Bobby Kimball as lead singer for Grammy winners, Toto.

Elefante began focusing on heavier music in the early 1990s. Among many notable albums was the Guardian release, Fire and Love, which was played in regular rotation on MTV. Elefante also felt the songwriting muse and formed a metal band with his brother, Mastedon.[3] The band’s name was a pachyderm-inspired reference to the brothers’ last name. Although Elefante was an accomplished vocalist and performer, the Mastedon albums featured multiple lead singers and performances by other artists, creating an eclectic sound anchored by Elefante’s songwriting. His brother Dino played a prominent role, contributing songwriting and handling most of the guitar work.

Mastedon’s first release was titled It’s a Jungle Out There! (1989). A year later, the band released Lofcaudio. This album continued the guest performance theme, though Elefante sang more of the lead vocals. Unfortunately, John and Dino’s production schedule preempted any touring to commercially support the album (though the band did appear at at least one Christian rock festival, Cornerstone, in 1991). Even so, the albums charted at No. 25 and No. 10, respectively. To this day, they are considered classics in the genre.

John and Dino Elefante formed their own record label, Pakaderm. Most of the music they produced on in the next 10 years was released on it. With major distribution through Word Records and A&M Records, Pakaderm became an important element in the brothers’ success. Their label afforded them and their artists significant creative control, while still benefiting from major label resources.

Given their intense recording schedules, the brothers decided to build their own recording studio in Nashville. They broke ground on the 28,000-square-foot (2,600 m2) Sound Kitchen in 1993. In addition to their own productions, the brothers planned to rent time in the studio to other artists and producers.

Throughout the latter half of the 1990s, Elefante continued his breakneck pace as producer and now record label chief. He decided it was also time to begin a solo career. Elefante released two solo albums: Windows of Heaven (1995) and Corridors (1997).

Meanwhile, the Sound Kitchen was taking on a life of its own. Under the brothers’ management, the studio was quickly establishing itself as one of Nashville’s most popular. Artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw, and Buddy Guy had recorded there. The complex was soon expanded to 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2).

Elefante was hired by Pamplin Records in 1998, working with Dino to generate artist development. This period saw the release of an astounding 32 albums with Elefante at the helm, most of which feature him as arranger and performer, as well. The styles ranged from rock to gospel; pop to metal.

In 1999, Elefante released his most popular solo effort, Defying Gravity (1999). It spawned several hit singles and mainstream music videos. Elefante geared up for a 25-date solo tour to promote the album. Tragically, however, he was badly injured in an accident before the first concert and had to cancel the tour.

Elefante rebounded, beginning the new millennium with the production of Petra’s Grammy award-winning album, Double Take. He continued at Pamplin, producing 20 more albums for them in just three years. Simultaneously, he and Dino continued their role managing the Sound Kitchen, which continued to grow in size and popularity.

The new year also saw Elefante’s schedule becoming too hectic, however. Success was taking away too much time from his family. In 2002, he left Pamplin after a string of successful albums, including the debut for Natalie Grant.

The same year, John and Dino sold the Sound Kitchen. It had become the largest recording studio in the southeastern United States. Artists included Alabama, Amy Grant, Barry Manilow, Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Donna Summer, George Strait, Gretchen Wilson, Jewel, Jimmy Buffett, Julio Iglesias, Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rimes, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Michael W Smith, Peter Cetera, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Third Day, Trisha Yearwood and Vince Gill.

Elefante started a new major-distributed label with his brother in 2003, Selectric Records. Having their own label again allowed Elefante to set his own pace for production. Along with co-managing the label with his brother, he produced 10 albums over the next three years. As a singer, he recorded with artists ranging from Pat Boone to Bono.

In late 2006, Elefante took this opportunity to consider something he had never done in his career: catch his breath. Even with his reduced schedule, he needed a break. The brothers closed the label, and Elefante could finally take some time away from the industry. This proved more challenging than expected, and despite his best intentions, he served as producer on three albums in 2007.

Elefante finished the decade with a new Mastedon album, 3, featuring former Kansas bandmate Kerry Livgren. Its style is similar to Mastedon, his Kansas work, and his solo albums.

2010 and onward
At the dawn of 2010, Elefante had produced and/or performed on more than 100 major-label albums. The Elefante brotherhood had endured, and the two brothers had together achieved considerable artistic and commercial success. Elefante realized, though, that he was still a songwriter at heart.

In 2010, Big3 Records rereleased 3 as Elefante’s Revolution of Mind.

His latest studio album, On My Way to the Sun, released in May 2013, reunited Elefante with former Kansas bandmate Rich Williams and also featured current Kansas violinist David Ragsdale.

“This Time”
In 2013, Elefante released a single accompanied by a music video titled “This Time” that tells the story of his adopted daughter, who was nearly aborted by her birth mother.[9] The video shows a pregnant teenager entering an abortion clinic and then having a dream about a little girl she knew to be her unborn daughter. Elefante said,

“I can’t imagine life without my daughter, Sami, and it just breaks my heart that pregnant young women much like her birth mother, instead of choosing life for their babies, are denying them the chance to be born. … If our song can in any way bring attention to this issue and encourage those who are considering abortion to choose life through options such as adoption, then we couldn’t be happier.”

CURRENT: Elefante is currently touring with several groups that feature members from classic rock bands: Mike Reno, Vince Neil, Kenny Arnoff, Ansley Dunbar, Micky Thomas, Bill Champlin, John Cafferty, Steve Augeri, David Pack, Kelly Keagy, Bobby Kimball, Jay Sekulow Band…

Other Credits

2014 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Petra Petra Composer, Producer
2014 The Box Set Series Kansas Composer, Musician
2013 On My Way to the Sun John Elefante Composer, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Rhythm), Keyboards, Performer, Primary Artist, Producer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
2011 Revolution of Mind Mastedon Composer, Guitar (Rhythm), Keyboards, Mixing, Primary Artist, Producer, String Arrangements, Vocals (Background)
2011 Songs That Defined a Decade: Christian Hits of the 70s, 80s & 90s Producer
2011 The Classic Albums Collection 1974-1983 Kansas Keyboards, Vocals
2011 Word: Six Decades of Hits Producer
2010 Celebrate Christmas Northern Lights Symphony Orchestra Vocals, Vocals (Background)
2010 The Music of Kansas Kansas Composer, Musician
2010 The Essential Kansas Kansas Musician
2009 3 Mastedon Composer, Lyricist
2009 Better Together: 17 Hit Duets and Collaborations by Your Favorite Chri Producer
2009 It’s a Jungle Out There Mastedon Composer, Producer
2008 Deeper Life/Stronger Natalie Grant Producer, Vocals (Background)
2008 Natalie Grant Collector’s Edition Natalie Grant Producer, Vocals (Background)
2008 Two For One: More Power To Ya/This Means War! Petra Audio Production
2007 Discover Kansas Kansas Main Personnel
2007 Dreams & Visions Mary-Kathryn Composer
2007 Super Hits Kansas Composer
2007 The Definitive Collection Guardian Producer
2007 The Definitive Collection Greg Long Composer, Producer
2007 The Definitive Collection Petra Arranger, Audio Production, Composer, Producer
2006 Dust in the Wind – Single John Elefante Primary Artist
2006 Fool’s Paradise Monday Morning Audio Production, Executive Producer, Producer
2006 Proof Positive Cross Culture Composer, Executive Producer, Producer, Vocals (Background)
2006 Taste the Sky Dalton Executive Producer
2006 The Praise Collection Petra Producer
2006 The Ultimate Collection Petra Composer, Producer
2006 Three Seconds to Gaze Homeless J. Producer
2006 Very Best Of Bride Producer
2005 Duets Sandi Patty Primary Artist
2005 Farewell Petra Composer
2005 Glory Train: The Lost Sessions Pat Boone Vocals
2004 Christian Kidz! Circle of Friends The Island Choral Experience Composer
2004 Raise Your Fist to Metal Frost Composer
2004 Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection 1974-2004 Kansas Composer, Musician
2004 Worship With Natalie Grant and Friends Natalie Grant Primary Artist
2003 AJA Aja Producer
2003 Disco Box Vol. 9: Dance Machine Composer
2003 Greatest Hits The Jets Composer
2003 Inspiring Praise Hits Composer
2003 Perfect World Radio Hawks Composer
2003 Pop Hits: Christian Music’s #1 Songs Composer
2003 Soak Rachel Farris Producer
2003 The Power of Praise Petra Composer, Producer
2002 Champion Sound, Vol. 1 Stone Love All-Stars Composer
2002 Device, Voice, Drum Kansas Composer
2002 If You Only Knew Prymary Colorz Composer, Producer
2002 Pass the Love Larnelle Harris Vocals (Background)
2002 Rock On: Christian Loud Composer
2002 Still Means War! Petra Composer, Producer
2002 The Jazz Singers: Jazz Gallery Composer
2002 Ultimate Kansas Kansas Composer
2001 Bigger Than Us Aurora Engineer, Producer
2001 Breakin’ Arthur Baker Composer
2001 Hits Dominic Chianese Producer
2001 Hits [Promo] Dominic Chianese Producer
2001 Nikki Leonti Nikki Leonti Producer
2001 Not Just Any Other Day Composer, Primary Artist, Producer
2001 Rock On: Christian Composer
2001 Stronger Natalie Grant Producer, Vocals (Background)
2001 Thank You [Psalm 150] Composer
2001 Word Gold: Five Decades of Hits Producer
2000 A Dreamer’s Heart Kimber Leigh Mowery Producer
2000 Animal Notes/Safety in Numbers Crack the Sky Composer
2000 Aurora Aurora Producer
2000 Best of 2000: Dove Award Nominees & Winners Composer, Performer, Primary Artist
2000 Celebration of Voices: Great Choirs of America Composer, Primary Artist, Producer
2000 Change Sierra Engineer, Producer, Vocal Arrangement, Vocals
2000 Dove Award Worship Composer
2000 Letting Go The Darins Composer, Producer, Vocal Arrangement, Vocal Engineer
2000 Postcard From Mixaco Nikki Leonti Composer, Guest Artist, Producer
2000 Re-Rewind The Artful Dodger Composer
2000 Superhero Scarecrow & Tinmen Assistant Engineer, Keyboards, Producer
2000 Tracing His Hand Jeni Varnadeau Composer, Producer, Vocals (Background)
2000 Union, Vol. 3 Primary Artist
2000 Vestal & Friends, Vol. 2 Vestal Goodman Composer, Performer, Primary Artist
2000 WOW Gold Producer
1999 Believe It Composer, Performer, Primary Artist
1999 Definitive Collection Kansas Composer
1999 Defying Gravity John Elefante Arranger, Composer, Keyboards, Primary Artist, Producer
1999 Double Take Petra Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Producer, Recorder, Vocal Engineer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
1999 No Place Like Home Scarecrow & Tinmen Producer
1999 Songs 4 Life: Kids Make a Difference! Composer
1999 Still Waters Say-So Tambourine
1998 God Fixation Petra Composer, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1998 In the Light Composer, Performer, Primary Artist
1998 Jesus Saves Greg Long Composer
1998 Never Be the Same Truth Producer
1998 No Hesitation Jeni Varnadeau Producer, Vocals
1998 Oddities Bride Producer, Vocals
1998 Scrub Mayfair Laundry Producer
1998 Shelter Me Nikki Leonti Composer, Keyboards, Performer, Primary Artist, Producer, Programming, Sequencing
1998 The Way Home Wayne Watson Guest Artist, Vocals
1998 Then & Now & Wow The Jets Composer
1998 Yeaterday & Today Michael Redman Arranger
1997 …A Renaissance Connie Scott Composer
1997 Colors of Truth Jeni Varnadeau Producer
1997 Corridors John Elefante Composer, Keyboards, Primary Artist, Producer
1997 Jesus Experience Bride Producer
1997 Petra Praise, Vol. 2: We Need Jesus Petra Composer, Guest Artist, Producer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
1997 WOW 1998: 30 Top Christian Artists & Songs Composer, Producer
1996 Days of Grace Greg Long Arranger, Composer, Keyboards, Producer, Programming, Vocals (Background)
1996 Love Is the Bottom Line Lisa Daggs Composer, Engineer, Guest Artist, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1996 My Utmost for His Highest: The Covenant Composer, Keyboards, Primary Artist, Producer
1996 This Is How I Feel Nouveaux Arranger, Composer, Keyboards, Producer
1996 Unforgettable Duets, Vol. 2 Composer
1996 WOW 1997: The Year’s 30 Top Christian Artists and Songs Producer
1995 Live at Yoshi’s Nitespot Marian McPartland Trio Composer
1995 Masters of Metal Composer
1995 My Utmost for His Highest Keyboards, Performer, Producer
1995 No Doubt Petra Composer, Keyboards, Producer
1995 One Love Jonathan Pierce Arranger, Drum Programming, Keyboards, Producer, Programming, Vocals (Background)
1995 Petra Means Rock Petra Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1995 Petraphonics Petra Composer, Engineer, Musician, Producer
1995 Power Praise Petra Composer, Engineer, Producer
1995 Rock Block Petra Composer, Producer
1995 WOW 1996: The Year’s 30 Top Christian Artists and Songs Composer, Producer
1995 Windows of Heaven John Elefante Composer, Keyboards, Percussion, Primary Artist, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1994 After Awhile Dick Sudhalter Composer
1994 Cross My Heart Greg Long Composer
1994 Scarecrow Messiah Bride Producer
1994 Trust The Brave Composer, Keyboards, Producer
1993 Angel in Your Eyes Lisa Daggs Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Mixing, Producer, Programming, Vocals (Background)
1993 Bust Out The Mighty Diamonds Composer
1993 Fear Not Fear Not Composer, Engineer, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1993 Hello Forever Scott Springer Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1993 Kingdom of Desire Toto Vocals (Background)
1993 La Coleccion de Petra en Espanol Petra Composer
1993 Le Voyage Sandi Patty Vocals
1993 Miracle Mile Guardian Composer, Engineer, Organ, Piano, Producer
1993 Operation Angel Wings Vocals
1993 Rock Pie in the Sky Composer, Producer
1993 Soak Your Brain Lovewar Engineer, Producer
1992 Battle Cries The Brave Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Liner Notes, Lyricist, Producer
1992 Crushed by Love Composer
1992 Decade Kerry Livgren Vocals (Background)
1992 Dream of a Lifetime Kelli Reisen Composer, Engineer, Primary Artist, Producer
1992 En Alabanza Petra Assistant Producer, Engineer
1992 No Compromise: Remembering the Music of Keith Green Vocals (Background)
1992 Pop Pie in the Sky Composer, Producer
1992 Rock Power Praise, Vol. 3: Traditional Gospel Hymns Arranger, Mixing, Producer
1992 Serius Bizness J.C. Crew Executive Producer, Producer
1992 Start the Car Jude Cole Vocals (Background)
1992 The Heaven’s Metal Collection, Vol. 2 Composer, Producer
1992 Today’s Christian Favorites [K-Tel] Composer
1992 Unseen Power Petra Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Producer
1991 Fire & Love Guardian Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Producer, Unknown Contributor Role
1991 Heaven Calling Halo Composer, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1991 Peace Treaty X-Sinner Bass, Cowbell, Engineer, Mixing, Percussion, Producer, Shaker, Tambourine, Vocals (Background)
1991 Petrafied! The Very Best of Petra Petra Composer, Engineer, Producer
1991 Portrait of a Spirit Composer, Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Vocals
1991 Rock Power Praise, Vol. 2: Christmas Hymns Engineer, Performer, Primary Artist, Producer
1991 Within Reach Rick Cua Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Mixing, Performer, Primary Artist, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1990 Beyond Belief Petra Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1990 Get It X-Sinner Producer
1990 Halo Halo Audio Production
1990 Lofcaudio Mastedon Composer, Producer
1990 Ultimate Metal, Vol. 2 Producer
1990 War & Remembrance Petra Composer
1989 How Long Michael Thompson Vocals
1989 Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out Petra Assistant Producer, Engineer, Vocals (Background)
1989 State of Control Barren Cross Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
1988 Can’t Stand Too Tall Rick Cua Composer
1988 On Fire! Petra Producer
1987 Atomic Arena Barren Cross Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals
1987 This Means War Petra Arranger, Composer, Engineer, Producer, Programming, Vocals (Background)
1987 Voices [Word] Composer, Keyboards, Primary Artist, Producer
1986 Back to the Street Petra Composer, Engineer, Keyboards, Producer, Vocals (Background)
1985 Anywhere You Go David Pack Vocals (Background)
1985 Shake Me to Wake Me Steve Camp Composer
1985 St. Elmo’s Fire Arranger, Composer, Keyboards, Producer
1984 The Best of Kansas Kansas Composer, Vocals
1984 Time Line Kerry Livgren Percussion, Vocals
1983 Arcade Patrick Simmons Vocals, Vocals (Background)
1983 Drastic Measures Kansas Composer, Keyboards, Vocals
1982 Best of Kansas Live Kansas Composer
1982 Vinyl Confessions Kansas Composer, Group Member, Keyboards, Vocals
1981 Play On Rotondi Composer
40th Anniversary Petra Composer, Producer
Best of the 80’s Petra Composer, Producer
Melodic Rock, Vol. 3 Primary Artist
Rock Power Praise, Vol. 1: The Hymns Performer
The Christmas Project John Schlitt Vocals (Background)
Union, Vol. 2 Primary Artist
V.1 Independent’s Day Compilation Producer
Voittaja Minea Composer