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INTERVIEW: Barbara J

How would you classify your music?

Outside of the fact that I am a cover artist, which, I suppose, is a classification of a sort, I’d classify my music as adult contemporary/soft rock/easy listening, with an occasional surprise from other genres making a quick appearance.

Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?

Smooth Jazz Artists, like Diana Krall, Norah Jones.

Soft Pop/Easy Listening greats like Karen Carpenter (The Carpenters) Country/Pop artists like Roseanne Cash.

Folk greats, like Gordon Lightfoot.

What do you want fans to take from your music?

I’d like fans to take away a new feeling after hearing my cover on classic favorite songs, songs that some might call, “oldies.” I’m well aware that some listeners of a certain age range are not tuned into the artists that I cover. In fact, I know that, because when I have asked certain listeners if they know who The Carpenters were, or Poco (both bands that I covered on my recently-released album), they say “No.” I do not look at that as a defeat, rather, I see that as a way to introduce a whole new group of fans to songs from two very memorable decades of music (the 1970s and ‘80s). That said, I also know that so many people have heard the originals of the songs I cover, so if they can listen and then find themselves humming that song in subsequent days or otherwise calling that song to mind, I feel that my songs have touched them in the way I had hoped they would!

How’s the music scene in your locale?

I live in the Los Angeles metro area, so the scene is very diverse and expansive, for sure! If you can’t find what suits you here, you aren’t looking hard enough! This is also a mighty big city, though, so it’s all about finding those “pockets” of places nearby, if one likes to stay closer to home.

What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?

I went to a Pat Benatar concert in college, my first rock concert in a bigger venue (bigger for me, at the time, anyway), with my youngest sister and some friends from high school and it was just the best…the whole scene—seeing our icon, Pat, belting out all her hits, and getting to listen as we all rocked out together, the camaraderie of friends on such an outing, made it a great night, for sure.

As for playing live, I do not play out…yet! Both of my albums to this point have been studio albums, and the musicians I worked with on both projects are in Nashville, so that would be a heck of a thing to bring that together! I did some singing in a lounge when my husband and I lived in Las Vegas, though, and I loved that it was a different audience, every night, different vibe, so it was like new life for the same songs, every performance!

Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?

I’d say my cover of “Rainy Days and Mondays,” by The Carpenters. I so loved Karen Carpenter’s voice and I have always wanted to record one of the beautiful songs that she and her brother, Richard, gave us. That song, as were so many Carpenters’ songs, is part of memories from my long ago, The fact that I got to sing it now, so many years later, and make it memorable, I hope, to other listeners, is very special to me. It is getting some great reviews, too, so I am taking that as a sign that I did right by the song and its original creators.

How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?

I have really taken to trying different things, as I did on this new album. Whereas my first album was one genre and covering one artist, this album “mixes it up,” in terms of genre and feel, and I enjoyed doing it! Also, I am evolving as an indie artist in that I am learning that it is “go time,” all the time, as regards album promo and getting the word out to people where they can listen to and buy it!

If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

I think some old-timey cat, like the Rat Pack guys of old. That whole vibe was cool and I honestly think they don’t write ‘em like that (I.e., Frank, Sammy, Dean and them) anymore! Such a bygone era. I love the music from those guys and it would also be a great history lesson!

What’s next for you?

Working on the cover of a single for a new music distribution platform that is going to launch sometime this Spring. After that, I will focus on promoting my latest album, and seeing how it does, then hopefully start compiling the set list for my next album!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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