Industry: Music, Entertainment
Major: Master’s Recording and Digital Art, Bachelor’s Music, Concentration Piano Performance
Christopher Barnes, introduction to music isn’t at all a coincidence, in fact he describes it as God’s purpose in his life. At the age of two, Christopher had experienced the legendary Michael Jackson live in concert during his 1988 Bad Tour. In fact it was then, he fell in love with music and decided to pursue it wholeheartedly.
Twenty seven years later, Christopher is a Grammy nominated music producer and songwriter who has work with music talents like Musiq Soulchild, Ledisi, Marsha Ambrosius and Tamia just to name a few. I caught up with Christopher to learn more about his path as a producer and also songwriter.
1.Where were you six months after college?
I was working on Ledisi’s and Marsha Ambrosius album. In fact, how this came about is definitely God’s intervention. The last week of graduate school, I was curious about Musiq Soulchild next album release ,so I was researching on all major music sites. One thing lead to another, I find myself on Musiq Souldchild’s producers page, the talented Carvin & Ivan. Without thinking much of my action, I decided to reach out to them by leaving my resume on their comment section. The following week, I was invited to their home in New Jersey.
2. What effect did the music and art had on you growing up?
Music gave me confidence, structure and taught me how to be persistent. It has had a big influence on me, as far as how I dress, treat people and how I view the world. Music affects the heart and mind and it communicates for us when we can’t.
3. What is the creating process for you like?
It’s very simple actually, before producing or writing I play some of Michael Jackson’s and Stevie Wonder’s albums.
4. What type of impact would you want your music to leave on the industry?
I want my music to be remembered as powerful, thought provoking and entertaining. I want it to penetrate people’s heart and motivate them to do better and be better. I want my music to be medicine to someone. I believe that’s why Michael Jackson influenced me because his music came from his heart. There’s a generation of artist who are more focused on being money hungry then focusing on the matters of the heart. Music is suppose to be soothing and inspiring
5.Is there an artist or producer you want to work with that you have not yet had the opportunity?
Actually there’s a few, De’ Angelo, Dark Child, Tricky Stewart,Timbaland and Liana La Havas.
6.How do you balance navigating your morals and ethically challenged industry?
Prayer, the music industry isn’t for everybody, you hear so many things if you are not spiritually grounded you will lose yourself. Just be prepared and have a mindset and have that connection with God. Another thing that I’ve learned is not being afraid to ask questions.
7.What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?
Every week I make sure that I go to the movies, it’s a great way for me to separate myself from reality and also be inspired. I also enjoy cooking and working out.
8. Do you have advice for young people who want to become music producers/ writers?
Yes, there’s a few things I want to share because a lot of people won’t give you what you’re worth, they will give you what you negotiate.
- Work hard, do your research and study your craft.
- Look at prolific songwriters and producers.
- Teach yourself about the business side of the music industry.
- Research laws, copyright and learn how to market yourself.
- Utilize KickStarter, and social media to your advantage.
- Know your music but most impotrantly know your worth and your business
9. What do you think about the lack of funding in the music & arts, how does it affect you and the future generations?
It’s heartbreaking, I hope there will be a change soon. Art is as important as math and science, in fact there’s been studies conducted that shows that music enhances motor skills and also helps cultivate better thinking skills. Kids need balance and also an outlet to express themselves and that’s why art should be a priority on every school curriculum.
10.What would you tell your younger self?
It will be alright, just continue to be focus on your craft. Remember that God put you there to affect people in a positive way.
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