Kelly Lynn Barber is an Alt Pop/Rock musician from New Jersey with a newly released EP called “Breaking Barriers.”
Check out our recent interview with Kelly!
upfrontNY: How did you get your start with music?
Kelly: When I was 9 years old I found my mom’s old guitar in the basement and found out she used to play it as a teenager. Pretty much since then I’ve been playing, although I didn’t start to get the hang of it until around 12 years old. A couple years later I started writing and posting videos to YouTube, then I took a couple years of singing lessons, and now here we are after two EPs! It’s been a long ride.
upfrontNY: What other musicians influenced you while growing up?
Kelly: The two main musicians who influenced me the most growing up were Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson. Up until a certain point they were the only two musicians that I had bought every single CD from. I loved Pop/Rock music in general in the early 2000’s, so I also really liked Michelle Branch and P!nk. Now I’m influenced by a lot more rock bands too, like the Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World and Tonight Alive.
upfrontNY: What can people expect from your new EP, “Breaking Barriers”?
Kelly: It’s a Pop/Rock record with more edge to it, so I call it “Alternative Pop/Rock.” It’s definitely not something you would hear on the radio nowadays, but you can still hear the pop influence in some of the songs. It was also recorded with minimal production, so it’s very raw. The voice wasn’t tuned to perfection and there are also some small flaws in it throughout that I actually think give it character. It sounds exactly like a band is playing in front of you as opposed to a full mix-down with all the bells and whistles.
upfrontNY: Do you have a favorite song from this EP?
Kelly: I love all of the songs on this EP for different reasons. I think, though, that my favorite would have to be “Discord,” just because it’s so well-written and well-arranged. It has a pretty chilling ending that makes for the perfect closer. I also love “What I Had Planned” because it’s the most recently written song on the album and is the most relevant to me right now. It’s all about not giving in to the people who try to tell you to quit your passion and that you’ll never succeed, which is something that a lot of musicians go through.
upfrontNY: Where are your favorite places to perform?
Kelly: I’ve noticed that my favorite places to perform at are smaller venues that have a sense of community about them. The show ends up being a lot more intimate and it’s easier to connect with the audience. These are the shows that you walk away from having made actual friends instead of just fans, and knowing that you’ve done your job as a musician. I’ve also been to a lot of inspirational shows like this as an audience member. I love it.
upfrontNY: What do you love most about performing in NYC?
Kelly: I love being in the middle of all of the hustle and bustle of the city when going to a show! It’s really exciting and energizing. I’ve also noticed that even though a lot of venues are larger, people in NYC really do love music. When they go to a show, they’re there to listen. It’s really refreshing to see that after having played so many coffee shop shows where people couldn’t care less that you’re pouring your heart out for them.
upfrontNY: Is there a venue, city, or country that you have always wanted to perform?
Kelly: Not in particular. I do really want to get out there and perform in as many places as possible though. I want to eventually play around the country, and if I’m lucky I’ll be able to play around the world too. But in NYC, I really want to eventually play at Webster Hall. I know of so many bands and artists who have played there so it would be insane to follow in their footsteps.
upfrontNY: What was your experience like during the New York Dream Night Talent Search?Kelly: It was incredible! There were so many great voices and so much amazing talent in general. It certainly put things into perspective with how much I have to work at this to succeed. Being mentored by actual people working for the music industry was insane too! I got to talk one-on-one with the parents of the brothers from Hot Chelle Rae, who are professional Nashville songwriters, among a few other people. The fact that they liked the direction I’m going in and that I got to receive advice from them was a great and eye-opening experience.
upfrontNY: What do you want people to know about you and your music?
Kelly: When writing and recording my music, I try to be as real as possible. All of my music pertains to my life in some way, whether it was an isolated incident or a struggle I’ve been dealing with over a certain timeframe. I also want the recording to sound real too, as I said, like a band is actually playing in front of you. I hope that all of this helps to make it easier for people to relate to the music in some way!
upfrontNY: What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
Kelly: I’m super excited to write and record more music. For the first time in a few years, I don’t have any recordings in progress at all, so it’s a great time to start fresh with something new. I’m already making some plans for my next project, so stay tuned!
Head here to learn more about Kelly and her music!