Hailing from Fayetteville, Arkansas, Barrett Baber received a four chair turn for his standout performance of The Jeff Healy Band tune “Angel Eyes,” and his choice of coach Blake Shelton has served him well. Both artists bring an everyman and hard working aesthetic to their craft while also making sure the audience has a great time in the process.
During our interview, Baber talked about having Shelton as his coach and elaborated on how being a high school teacher has influenced his performing skills. Lastly, he also expressed his unabashed love for Arkansas, a sentiment which definitely comes from a real reservoir of feeling. Since the audio recording of our phone interview was sub-par, I’ve transcribed the interview. Check it out!
Your stage presence is amazing. Is that an innate talent of yours or is that something you’ve learned to craft over the years?
It’s funny you said the word “innate” because that’s what I was going to say. For me, I’ve always felt right at home as a performer and in the performance space, (even) when the moment gets big and there’s a massive crowd. It doesn’t get much bigger than being on The Voice stage, (but) there’s always been something inside of me that turns on – that turns loose.
That’s probably what people see when I’m on The Voice stage or any stage. I always get a little nervous before shows no matter what they are, but I’ve always had the ability to take that energy and push it towards delivering something special that connects with people in the audience.
Also I’m wondering your journey as a high school teacher. Has that helped you as a performer and artist as well?
Man, that is a great comparison and the answer is yes. It absolutely does. When I started teaching high school three years ago, I had already been gigging, playing shows and writing songs for a very long time. And I recognized right away that it’s a performance space as well.
It’s standing in front of a bunch of teenagers and trying to make them understand something and connect with them – it’s a performance in and of itself. It’s a tough crowd when you’re thirty plus years old and you’re standing in front of a bunch of 15-year-olds and having them try to pay attention to you.
That was a lot of fun for me, figuring out how to connect with those kids, and I was good at it and loved doing it. It certainly helped me become a better performer and a musician. Being a musician also has helped me become a better teacher in the classroom. They go hand in hand, and working with high school students has been one of the joys in my life.
Can you talk about your bond with Blake Shelton?
One of the coolest things about doing the show for me has been being around Blake Shelton and the other coaches. But especially around Blake and just sort of recognizing something that we’ve always known. People that we idolize and that we see on television and hear their music – they’re just people. And they’re human beings just getting through their day and working their jobs just like everyone else.
That’s been cool to see, and I think for me, it’s a great thing to understand that everyone is grinding away and doing things to be good at what they do. Blake has certainly done that. I enjoy being around him and I think he enjoys being around me. We’re very similar – we’re both country singers but we’re also not perfect and we have our flaws and don’t always win every day. But we attack every day in a way (in hopes of doing) something special. We’ve got a budding friendship going on and I want to continue working with him and learning from him. He’s certainly a tremendous success in regards to the job that I’m looking to do for the rest of my life.
From an outsider’s point of view, what do you love about living in Arkansas and how has it influenced you as a person?
Arkansas is a beautiful place and it gets a little bit of a bad rap sometimes just because it’s in the South and it could be viewed as a little bit backwards. But the truth is Arkansas, especially Northwest Arkansas where I live, is such a progressive community and very artistic. There’s a lot of talent there in general.
One of the things that has influenced me the most that I’ve experienced from being on the show is just how powerful it is to identify with a place. That’s one of the greatest things about this whole process is just walking through the grocery store and getting people who don’t even know me stop and tell me that they’re proud of how I’m representing their community. I’m proud and humbled to do that, and I recognize what a responsibility that is.
Arkansas is a beautiful place and it’s a wonderful place to live. It’s great for kids and to raise a family, but it’s also a wonderful place for music and creativity. It’s shaped me in a lot of ways, and I’m proud to be the flag carrier for Arkansas and kind of expose it on a national level.
Thank you so much for your time! It was great speaking with you and I hope we talk again.
Greg it’s always my pleasure to visit with people and talk about my journey, and everybody go follow me on Twitter (@BarrettBaber) and we’ll ride this thing together and have a lot of fun!
Thanks a lot buddy!
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