I always enjoy getting to know musicians properly, and the next installment in my Get to Know series, features a very interesting musician indeed! I recently introduced him at the blog, and I am now delighted to share my interview with Preston D Barnes! We talked about his musical journey so far, his forthcoming single and much more!
Please share your musical journey from the very beginning.
In a very short snapshot… I first found a love for music when I was 15 years old after my mum bought me a keyboard for Christmas. I never left it alone and soon after started to take piano lessons. Once id become a little more established on keys, I joined a local band called ‘Final Decision’ who gigged in the local area of Lancashire, where I grew up. After a year of successful performances, we played our last gig at Blackpool Tower which was an amazing success.
I then decided to join the British Army as a musician back in 1995, where I would undergo 1 year of intense musical training being taught by London Professors in many aspects of music, like theory of music, orchestration, history of music, practical playing and ceremonial duties. Once I passed the exams needed to be posted to a professional band, I spent the next 16 years travelling the world to over 38 countries, performing for Royalty and many other high engagement events. I then moved to the Royal Military School of Music to be an Instructor where I spent the next 5 years instructing brand new soldiers to become the best musicians they can be. Once I completed my time as an instructor, I then left the Armed Forces after 22 years to embark on a civilian career in music, something which was very alien to me after 22 years in the job.
The Voice UK then came about and shortly after I was approached by Sonic Boom Records. Since then we have been working very hard to be at the stage we are at now, where the dream of releasing original music is now a reality. We have so much more to share and we really cannot wait to share it with you all.
You have a very interesting, unconventional background for a vocalist and musician. Why did you decide to join the British Army and how were you able to connect the Army with Music?
I decided to join the Army because my Uncle was the Sergeant Major of the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers. He always used to come home on leave and tell me stories about what he’d been up to in the job! It sounded so interesting and the fact that you could do music as a professional job was amazing, something that really wasn’t an option in my local town. At the earliest opportunity and age, I took the oath of allegience and signed on the dotted line! Interestingly, some 3 years later, I was serving in the same band with my uncle! A family tradition it seems..
How was your overall experience of participating with The Voice UK? Do you have any useful tips or advice for any singers that want to appear on a reality show?
Many of my friends told me that I should enter the X factor back in the day! I didn’t want to enter a show like that unless it was all about The Voice, so I then waited a few years and all of a sudden, out of the blue, The Voice UK appeared on TV. A show where they can’t see you unless they turn round! That was the show for me because if they turned, then it was clear that they liked the sound instead of an image. I had an amazing time and the whole process was really interesting, albeit very long! It was really exciting to see how TV works behind the scenes and equally, how it turns out when it hits the screens. I would definitely say to make sure you stay true to yourself and understand your visions really well before you enter. There are many stages where you are asked about musical style and image so I would make sure that you know exactly what you want the public to see you as.
You are now about to embark on your solo singing career, with the forthcoming single Castles in Quicksand. Such a unique song title! Please share the backstory of the song and how the concept came about.
We met a guy called Paul Bliss who was one of the original songwriters for this song back in 1992, a lovely guy who told us that this song was a huge success in an American Sitcom called California Dreams. Castles on Quicksand was actually sang on that show and soon became a really well known song that clearly had some interest off the public. He then told us that we can Re-Release this if we wanted to but in a Country way… We sent him the final edit of the song and he absolutely loves it which made me feel amazing! He also said he couldn’t believe the difference some 30 years on.
How would Preston describe his own genre of music?
I would definitely describe my music as Modern Country with Rock and Pop influences. I have a raspy voice at times which is where the Rock element would come in and equally I do have a very Pop type feel if it needs it.
Which artists would you consider to be your inspirations?
Chris Stapleton and Brad Paisley are both my Country Music influences due to being such good story tellers! The lyrical content on their songs are a whole different level and if I could ever be half as good as those guys, then id be a very happy man.
Any forthcoming projects we can look forward to after your single release?
Oh we really do have some extremely exciting times ahead, not too much I can mention right now but keep your eyes and ears open for something very special coming real soon.
Thanks so much for your time Preston and for sharing your musical journey with Jem Girl at the Piano. I am looking forward to your single release Castles on Quicksand on 16th September 2022. Keep in touch with Preston on all the usual social media platforms.