Born in 1970, Barbara Barrett grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, a small but trendy Detroit suburb. She only dabbled in music during her teen years. Like other active teenagers, she spent most of her time outdoors, downhill skiing and playing tennis.
Barb did try participating in various school choirs but was not interested in show tunes or classical training. Discouraged but not without hope, she decided that after high school graduation she would fill the musical gap that had weighted so heavily in her soul.
Barb headed west for collegeThe University of Colorado. She sang with an acappella group for 2 years until she was told, Your voice just isnt strong enough. It was at that point she bought a guitar and didnt put it down until she could play and sing Indigo Girls Closer to Fine. Her good friend, Cathy, a phenomenal guitar player, mentored and practiced with her daily.
In March of 1993, Barb landed her first paying gig at Chets Bar in Big Sky, Montana. The four-hour gig required her to play all 30 thirty songs from her play list, she even had to repeat 5 of the songs to fill the time. Barbs weekends were soon filled with paying gigs at local bars, coffee houses and the occasional dude ranch.
The title track to Barbs first CD Two was one of the first songs she ever wrote. A friend convinced her that some day that song would be on the radio.
Shortly after the live recording with Vint and Mathilda, Vint approached Barb with the possibility of him producing her first CD. Work on the project began in March 1998 with the final touches completed in January of 1999.
Unlike many newcomers to the music industry, Barb also made her first music video, which features the song Two. Produced and directed by Barbs filmmaker husband, Steven Oatley. The 3:10 song shows Barbs humble beginnings as a coffee-house singer. Her friends worked as actors, actresses and extras during the three-day shoot.
Life was good, but it was about to get better. A summer nights walk on the beach turned into a marriage proposal from her filmmaker boyfriend, Steve and life since has been at warp speed. After purchasing a house and building a garage there would seem to be little time to perform let alone write new material.
Barbs inspiration, which once came from lost loves and lonely car rides, had to be found somewhere else. In 2001, she started attending John Lambs singer songwriter retreats in Northern Michigan. These annual events are filled with great songwriting techniques and enormous amounts of inspiration. In fact, one of her new songs, "Millie & Joe is song assignment from Lamb's retreat.
This song and others debuted in June 2004 when Barb hit the road with Annie and Rod Capps and performed at The Sutler bar in Nashville, TN. With the support of friends and producer, Kristin von Bernthal, she was more determined that ever to finish her second CD. Kristin and Barb worked very well together recording in Kristin's basement studio called das doll house. Although the process took longer than anticipated, Barb and Kristin enjoyed their time together and are very proud of the project.
Listen to the Way was released in the summer of 2005 and features 10 new songs with strong melodies and heartfelt lyrics. Two new videos are also in the works from her filmmaker husband, Steven Oatley. The songs and videos will take you to different times and places in other peoples lives, an overwhelming reminder of how art imitates life-perhaps your life. Listen carefully, Listen to the Way might be written about you.