From interviews, performances, and touring just about everywhere, sweet, friendly and funny, Erin Barra might not seem like a triple threat, but this singer, songwriter, producer is something to be taken serious.
SB: Please tell us a little bit about who Erin Barra is?
EB: I’m a singer/songwriter and producer/entrepreneur. I try not to compartmentalize myself too much since what I do is pretty varied, but I am the direct byproduct of having a very clear voice/vision in a highly volatile and constantly changing industry: I am a warrior of the independent movement, I am a woman in audio, I am a work in progress, but first and foremost, I am an artist.
SB: You’re a Utah-nian? Utah-nite? lol Where you born there or just raised?
EB: I’m a born and raised Utah, although I’m the only one in my family. They moved to Utah shortly before I was born, for my Dad’s job, and they all still live there actually. It was a great place to grow up even though we weren’t Mormon and I love going back there. Honestly, I try to spend as much time in Utah as I can. I know a lot of other people who have left the state and never looked back, but besides the Mormon Church’s politics and ignorance, I’ve got nothing but love : )
SB: Who or what were your influences growing up, musically?
EB: My parents were children of the 60’s and 70’s in terms of music so early on I was exposed to a lot of classic Singer/Songwriters like Billy Joel, Paul Simon, James Taylor etc etc and a good amount of Rock like The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Who, so on and so forth. Eventually at some point, when I was very young, I discovered Stevie Wonder and went through what was literally a decade of wrapping my head around all his material. I was also classically trained as a pianist from the age of 4. Thanks Mom and Dad!!!
SB: You travel a lot and are currently performing in Chicago, NY, Milwaukee, East Coast, then West Coast. How does that compare to an artist who lets say is from NY and only performs in NY? Is traveling important?
EB: Touring is an important step for any artist who wants to really develop their stage act and find out what their made of. There are a lot of venues and stages in NY and there are also a lot that aren’t in NY… I don’t know if I can honestly say if staying local is any better or worse in this market, but I do know that touring isn’t for everyone, and it’s something that only comes at a certain point in your career. For me, I have a love/hate relationship with the constant traveling, but nobody said this shit was gonna be easy, so it’s a compromise I’m willing to make.
SB: Since you are a writer, artist, and producer, do you have an even love for all or would you like to eventually just concentrate on one of them; do you think to be a successful artist that you should be well rounded in all those fields?
EB: I think it’s perhaps both, depending on what angle you look at it from. I try to see every obstacle as an opportunity. For now, I think all three things support a greater whole and I am blessed to be given the talent, opportunity and resources to do all of them… sometimes simultaneously. I think I’ve got at least another 10-15 years of being an artist in me and then I’d like to focus more on writing and producing for other artists. I don’t think you have to wear every hat in order to be successful, and in some cases certain people definitely SHOULD NOT be producing or writing their own material, but I do believe that the more hands on you are within your own career, the better, inside and outside the studio.
SB: Being a triple threat, was working at SOB’s an amazing experience to meet so many other artists and to have other genre’s of music all around?
EB: SOB’s is a one of a kind place and anyone who has been there or worked there knows exactly what I’m talking about. My time there had a HUGE influence on me. When you watch live music 5 nights a week for three years you know what a good performance looks like, sounds like and feels like… you also meet a lot of people. All of those things have lead me to where I am now.
SB: Tell us about Unsolved Melodies.
EB: Unsolved Melodies is a freelance songwriting site that I run. It’s been a way to supplement my income from day one, and continues to be. Writing is my strongest skill by far, and I have a huge passion for helping people in the writing process. Unsolved Melodies has clients ranging from fathers hiring me to write songs for their daughters 16th birthday parties, to artists on Atlantic Records.
SB: Why did you want to make the video for Good Man an homage mini film? Why this song?
EB: The concept for Good Man was one that took a very long time to come together. I didn’t go into the process thinking I wanted to make a short film, I went into it saying that I wanted to make something that made people think and feel. The fact that it turned into something highly cinematic was only consequential in my mind and is mostly due to the influence and work of Director/Writer Terence Nance and Cinematographer Shawn Peters. I just knew that my intention and action were clearly aligned and usually that results in great art. I chose Good Man because it’s the single off the album and a song that lots of people emotionally relate to.
SB: What would you tell someone who wants to do what you are doing?
EB: Make sure you REALLY REALLY want it for the right reasons – spend time putting in the work (which literally takes years) – be patient – stay humble – enjoy the journey.
SB: Where will I see Erin Barra in 5 years?
EB: Wherever it is that God sees fit.