March 5, 2015
Reposted from http://m.tbrnews.com/lifestyle/let-her-entertain-manhattan-beach-s-chantelle-barry-actress-and/article_e3c6d40c-c203-11e4-b075-7b7fc980eeb1.html?mode=jqm
by Michael Hixon
With singing, acting and voice-over work, there’s little in the entertainment industry that Manhattan Beach resident Chantelle Barry hasn’t tackled. Currently, she’s in the process of recording her newest EP, which is set to be released this spring.
Barry’s next single, “One Step Closer,” and its video will be released at the end of March. Barry will perform some of her new material on Friday, March 6, on the Hermosa Beach-based Internet radio station, Static Beach (staticbeach.com).
With the new EP, Barry puts on another hat: producing.
“I learned how to produce out of necessity, just having to make my own demos and having to get the songs out of my head. I’m very prolific. There are songs every day in my head,” Barry said.
“One Step Closer” is a song about relationships.
“It’s about being so close, but so far to that idealistic notion of love, where a loving relationship should be … it came from how I was feeling in the moment,” Barry said.
The video was shot by videographer Aaron Nickels.
“We shot it pretty much on the spot,” Barry said. “It was the least prepared video I’ve ever done. I think because of that it turned out pretty cool. There wasn’t any preconceived notion of how it would be. It was a very honest performance.”
Barry said she has an album worth of music, including a song she wrote last weekend, but she said it has been a challenge to narrow the song selection down to four or five for the new EP.
“Being independent is really great because you have so much creative freedom,” she said. “But at the same time, sometimes I would like people to come along and go, ‘These are the four songs that are the best’ … how can you be objective? At the same time, it forces me to step up to the plate and make better business decisions.”
Barry is a first generation Australian. Her mother was born in Italy and her father is from Burma, now known as Myanmar, a small country between Thailand and India.
“My dad was a musician so (my sisters and) I grew up in a very creative household, always doing music, always having band rehearsals and putting together cover bands,” she said. “My sisters and I performed in a group called The Barry Sisters for a long time. My parents had us perform at any event there was. It was really fun. Performing and entertaining and singing is always something known and always loved. I feel very comfortable doing it.”
She attended a performing arts high school on scholarship and spent one year at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. She moved to Sydney where she attended the Actors Centre Australia. But in 1999, her life changed when she auditioned for Australia’s first reality show, “Popstars,” which was an early inspiration for “American Idol.”
She “breezed” through the audition process of “Popstars.”
“I was very used to showing off and being in the spotlight at that point, very confident in what I was doing. I was 18, it was all I knew,” she said.
The show’s producers put her into a group named Bardot as its lead singer and forced the band members to live together.
“It was something no one had any expectation of and I certainly didn’t,” she said. “For me, it was doing what I love. It was this weird process. I remember the camera guys asking me the second morning in, ‘Can you just re-wake up?’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ (They said), ‘We need to get that coverage.’ It was a lot of staged types of things. Now I’m fully aware that reality TV is not reality.”
The full season of “Popstars” aired in early 2000.
By that time, she was already estranged from the group after a seemingly controversial departure. Bardot won that first season, but it wasn’t a live audience vote like “American Idol” or “The Voice.”
“It was a learning curve for me,” she said. “I had no way of being prepared for the media whirlwind and the paparazzi and weirdness and having my name in tabloid magazines.”
After Barry had left the group, she had already signed a solo deal at the end of 1999 with the creators of “Popstars.” She toured Australia and started writing her own songs. She lived shortly in London in late 2000, but the “morbid” weather didn’t bode well with her, so she decided to pack her suitcase and head to Los Angeles in early 2001. She bounced back between Australia, London and L.A. before making her home in California in 2003.
Barry worked at the clothing store Cosmo and Nathalia on Melrose Avenue to pay the bills while focusing on her career, which got a lift when she landed a role in the indie film, “The Company You Keep,” starring Corbin Bernsen, Maria Concita Alonso, Linden Ashby and Brett Haley.
“I was the newbie and we were in South Africa,” Barry recalled. “We got to shoot in Johannesburg for two months and it was an amazing time. I try to learn something from everything. Most of the time I don’t need to try, the lessons are there. I felt really enriched when I came back, just seeing how people in South Africa lived and what they put value on as opposed to a lot of places (such as) Australia (and) America where there’s more emphasis on material things here. It was an enlightening experience.”
She also suffered her first injury on a set while filming “The Company You Keep,” when she got hit in the head with a gun, causing a laceration that required stitches. But on an indie film with a low budget, the show must go on.
“I cleaned the blood out of my hair and went back to set like a trooper,” she said.
Since then, she’s landed more roles in small films and parts in hit TV shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” “Entourage” and a recurring role in “90210” in 2008 and 2009.
“Things like that pay the bills, get you residual checks and it makes for a sustainable career,” said Barry of her high-profile roles.
Last year she shot the Eric Chambers directed short film, “First Timers,” where she plays an ex-con, with two accomplices, who kidnaps the son in a wealthy family. The problem is, it’s the wrong person they kidnapped. She’s also been busy with voice-over work on video games, commercials and animation.
“It’s my way of staying young and being a kid and experiencing these different emotions I haven’t necessarily experienced in my life, but other people do. These characters definitely give me a chance to do that,” said Barry of her acting career.
Besides her busy entertainment career, Barry has created her own jewelry line called White Elephant Designs, which features bracelets and necklaces that promote “health, courage, love and abundance.” The jewelry is made with gem stones, sterling silver and spiritual pendants. Celebrities like Lionel Richie, David Beckham and Steven Tyler have purchased her handmade jewelry.
The jewelry can be found at @Mike’s Guitar Parlor, located at 1301 Manhattan Ave. in Hermosa Beach, and online at whiteelephantdesigns.com.
“I especially love gifting this stuff … while I’m doing it, I try to put all my energy and love into this one gift,” Barry said.
For more information, visit instagram.com/Chantellegence or chantellebarry.com.