Global Arrow deal puts Barnes on right target
SOMETIMES, all it takes to chase your dreams is a little nudge from the right person.
When Kingscliff singer-songwriter Casey Barnes first began performing, he didn't do it for public glory; he didn't even feel comfortable playing outside relatives' homes.
"When we'd go to an aunt or uncle's place, you'd get up on a chair and play for 20-cent tips," Barnes said.
"A really huge pivotal moment was in high school because I was pretty shy, and I was not really comfortable playing in front of people."
When his high school music teacher told him he was going to perform in front of the school assembly, Barnes resisted.
"He said, 'you're going to be playing at the school assembly in two weeks'," Barnes said.
"I said I really don't want to do it, but two weeks later I did it in front of the whole school."
It was then he realised music was a viable path for him.
"That was a really huge moment for me, having that first public performance and knowing you actually can do a pretty good job," he said.
The 37-year-old has now been performing for the better part of two decades and had been crafting his own songs for 10 years.
In recent weeks, Barnes realised a dream by signing on with Nashville-based artist management label Arrow Entertainment.
In 2005, he opened A Day On The Green for Bryan Adams.
"That was a huge opportunity and it went really well," he said. He did the same with Mariah Carey last year.
Barnes said he was thrilled to announce the partnership with Arrow Entertainment, but had been building connections in Nashville over the past few years.
"Chris, the president of Arrow Entertainment, has been following my progress and my career over the last couple of years," he said.
"He approached me a bit over a month ago."
After being approached about signing up, Barnes says he was thrilled, but took the time to make sure the deal would take his career in the direction he wanted.
"You want to make sure you aren't rushing into these things and you want to talk it through properly," he said.
After so many years on the "tough road" of independent work, Barnes has high hopes about what the deal will mean for his career.
"I was pretty pumped about the whole thing, because the last 10 to 15 years I've been doing it all on my own," he said.
"The whole industry is very different so they're really quite on the cutting edge. These guys have got their finger on the pulse of where the music industry is at now."
Late last month, Barnes recorded his new single, The One You Love, with award-winning producer Nick Didia, who has worked with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine and Powderfinger.
Barnes described working with Didia as a "dream come true".
"He's a bit of a living legend and you have to go through an audition process to get to work with him," he said.
"When you look at who he's produced and recorded...I was like a kid in a candy store, just soaking up every bit of advice he could give me. The next single is something I'm really excited about."
Just having Didia associated with the single should work in Barnes's favour.
"Already just having his name as a producer on the track is a big deal and I think it adds a little bit of credibility as well," he said.
While there are undoubtedly big things ahead for Barnes, he has no grand plans to leave Kingscliff anytime soon.
"It just keeps you grounded," he said.
"I think sometimes in the music industry, some people can get ahead of themselves. It's important to come back to places like Kingscliff where we live.
"It's a great place to bring up a family, and it's good to have balance."
Last Wednesday night, Barnes took out the People's Choice Award at the Gold Coast Music Awards.
He was also in the running to take out the Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for his single Flesh and Bone.
- Feb 2014: Barnes's single Valentine makes it to #3 on the iTunes songwriter charts. He performed the song with wife Michelle on Channel 7's Sunrise.
- Dec 2014: Barnes claims Best Country Release at Dolphin Music Awards.
- April 2015: Barnes named ambassador for Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
- October 2015: Barnes will perform at the Caloundra Music Festival alongside Angus and Julia Stone, Xavier Rudd and the United Nations, Josh Pyke and Ben Lee.