Tag Archive: Folk

Chantelle Barry

Chantelle Barry

Commenting on singer/songwriter and actress Chantelle Barry,  Lionel Richie comments  “long overdue,..the best kept secret on the planet”.  We couldn’t agree more.  We first came to know her through her music – “You” and “Like You Do” (Elvis-like).

She’s  intelligent,  talented and strikingly pretty. If that isn’t enough, talking with her is just…fun. You come away from meeting her feeling like you have a real new friend.  A native of Perth Western Australia, Chantelle Barry won Australia’s version of POPSTARS, earning a coveted spot in the all-girl pop group, Bardot. The group’s debut single, “Poison”, entered the ARIA Singles Chart at 1, where it spent two consecutive weeks, earning a double platinum certification. It became the sixth highest selling single in Australia in 2000, and was the highest selling single by an Australian act that year.  Since leaving Australia, she’s lived in London and now resides in Los Angeles.

Chantelle, thanks so much for taking time to talk to us. It’s such a pleasure to chat with you. We know a little bit about you – we know you are Australian, you left Australia to pursue you music and acting career, stopped of in London and now you are in Southern California. Fill in the blanks a bit if you will…how and where did you start your career in music and acting?

CB: I started singing when I was 5 or 6.  I sang in a lot of competitions and really loved being on stage.  Acting came later. When I was in my last year of primary school my music teacher who was from California, Mr Mike Leaderbrand wrote a musical based on the C.S. Lewis novel ‘The Silver Chair’ and made me the star of it.  I was like “Wait, I can act AND sing at the same time?, I’m in!!”.  Mr Leaderbrand was a huge inspiration to me.  He taught me how to read music and introduced me to a lot of great music like The Beatles and Pink Floyd.  My dad was also a musician and an audio engineer so when I wasn’t at school I had my dad teaching me about decibels and country music.  Yep, he insisted that if I wanted to be a good singer I needed to be able to sing country, so I had an eclectic style from a really young age.

I went to a performing arts high school and buried myself in theater.  I just really had a passion for learning about different techniques and playwrights and loved the idea of becoming a different person to tell a story on stage.  I wasn’t a ‘cool kid’ that’s for sure, but I truly believed that everything I was interested in was cool.

When I finished high school I moved to The East coast (Sydney) to study acting and that’s when I really started to get into songwriting.  Then I auditioned for a TV show called POPSTARS.  It was a making of the band type show, I made the final cut and the rest is a hop, step and a google click away 😉

How do you describe you music – your sound?

CB: That’s always a tough question for me but I think I’d call it ‘singer songwriter/pop’.  If I had to do a pitch I’d probably say Sade meets Bruno Mars. Old school meets new school.  I have a lot of musical influences and I think they all make an appearance in some song or another.

Tell us a bit about your journey from Australia to LA – were you performing along the way?

CB: And what a long journey it’s been!!   I’ve always felt like there was more for me out in the world and I felt a little stunted in Australia- for lack of a better word.  So I moved to London first, it was an easier transition seeing that there are so many Aussies in the UK, but after 8 months of cold and writing too many songs about being lonely I moved to sunny Los Angeles CA.  I’d visited the states before and since I was a little girl I had dreams of one day living here so it seemed like the natural next step for me to take.

Your first CD, Simple Things…tell us about that…what inspired you to do the CD?

CB: Simple Things was my first album and a really big deal for me.  Being in a place like LA, it’s easy to get swept away in all the excitement and

Scott Whyte and Chantelle Barry

Scott Whyte and Chantelle Barry

opportunity, but on the flip side it’s just as easy to feel jaded and to personalize the daily rejections that this industry deals out.  So one day I was sitting in my car thinking about my life and my (at the time) evident lack of money and out came the song Simple Things.  People really took a liking to the song and it was the first time I’d written something that organic that didn’t come out of me asking “Ok, what do the labels wanna hear?  Would this sound good on the radio?”.  It resonated because it came from a real place.  So a few years later I met a really talented actor/musician on a movie I was working on, by the name of Scott Whyte. He came out to see me perform one night and once he heard my music he wanted to produce an album for me.  At the time he was a first time producer so it was a fun and bumpy ride for both of us.  The thing about Scott is that he really got my music immediately.  He wasn’t wanting to change my style or put beats to my songs- he just wanted to produce something really organic that showed the songs in their best light.  And I think that’s exactly what he did.

Now Scott and I are writing partners and have a song that we wrote on hold for the new Footloose movie.  Fingers crossed.

Let”s take a few minutes right now to watch your video, “Letting Go”…

We’ve mentioned the support you’ve gotten from Lionel Richie…tell us about how you came to know Lionel and a bit about the direction he has given you.

CB: I met Lionel years ago when I first moved to LA.  His manger at the time was trying to sign me (and get into my pants, but that’s a whole other story) and mid meeting in walks Lionel Richie.  I tried to play it cool given that he’s an absolute legend and I grew up listening to him on the radio but I think it was obvious that I was really star struck.  We immediately clicked.  He reminds me a lot of my dad in some ways so early on we established a fun relaxed relationship, and I always fee like he’s someone I can be myself around and really trust.  He’s alway given me the most honest advice in regards to my music and he respects the fact that I’m still here pursuing my passion, and admittedly it’s really nice to have that kind of support from someone as like him.  He’s a pioneer in the music business.  He’s also one of the most generous people I know- when I told him that I was going to make my album Simple Things he bought me an Apple computer completely decked out with all the music programs that we’d need.  We’ve talked about me opening for him one day,…that is definitely one of the most exciting prospects I can imagine.

Do you recall a special moment in your career – that memory that keeps you going even when it’s been a really bad day?

CB: When I was just out of high school I auditioned for big show and got really close on it.  My mum flew to Sydney with me for the callback and when I didn’t get the part I was so disappointed, but my mum gave me a huge hug, told me how proud she was of me for getting that far and took me to see Showboat that night.  I know that no matter what I always have my family and my friends and they love me no matter how successful i am.  That is a constant in my life and that keeps me going for sure.

A lot of our young friends dream of going to LA and becoming a star…Be frank, tell us about what’s it’s like to be part of the LA music scene…the great, and maybe the not so great…?

CB: I always tell people to do it because you love it,..because there’s nothing else you wanna do.  For me, when I wake up music’s the first thing on my mind and when I go to sleep it’s still there.   There are so many ups and downs (welcome to life),…I get a lot of joy from performing live because I know that my music is reaching people immediately, and I love getting letters from people telling me how they could relate to my lyrics or how one of my songs helped them through a breakup.  That’s really rewarding.  On the not so fun side often it feels like you’re fate is in other peoples’ hands.  Waiting for someone to say “yes” , which could be the one yes that changes your entire life.  But I think finding a way to say “yes!” to yourself is key.  Approval has to start from within, and I’m still learning that.

You seem to have your finger in a lot of different pots. Do you get much free time to pursue other passions?

CB: I try to stay really busy.  Kind of like the concept of throwing a bunch into the air and seeing what sticks, ya know.   I recently performed at the NAMM conference at the Sennheier booth and received an awesome endorsement deal with them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBGJ_dLqO0g .  I couldn’t be happier, especially since this satisfies my microphone fetish 😉  As a result of that Scott and I made a cool making of video where that showcases my songwriting process from start to finish featuring Sennheiser gear.  The company loved the video so much that they’re now going to put the video on their home page.  Making the video was fun.

I also just became the face of a new skincare lone called KEVO Naturals (www.kevonaturals.com).  I have really sensitive skin and this product is amazing.  It’s made from all natural ingredients like certified organic shea butter blended with jojoba and essential oils,..and having a free life time supply isn’t a bad deal!

What’s next for you? We know you are working with Gerry Ceagle…what do you two have planned?

CB: Believe it or not I met my music manager Gerry on Facebook. (I will NEVER talk sh*#t about an online social network again!)  He’s managed some really amazing artists, has an impressive career as a radio programmer for many years, and above all he’s a real fan of my music.  At the moment we’re shopping to major labels.  It’s been a weird time for me because I’m such a proactive person and have a difficult time not being in control of my career (ha, clearly I chose the wrong business), so I had to take a  lot of my content down from websites and online stores and haven’t been pursuing the same opportunities that I usually do just because we’re waiting for labels responses. I think the biggest frustration for me is that it seems like major labels wanna find the next big ‘unique’ thing but no-one’s really willing to take the risk on someone that doesn’t sound familiar or like an artist that already on the radio.  I trust Gerry though and I trust my own instincts so at this point it’s just a waiting game.  Maybe I’ll try to master the art of patience in the meantime 😉

I always have to ask my friends…who is your hero?

CB: I have a couple.  Judy Garland for sure.  That is a woman who took so much crap from the industry from such a young age- she wasn’t pretty enough or skinny enough or whatever, and she never quit.  There was something so beautifully melancholy about her and yet everytime I listen to her singing I feel so happy.  What a gift.

My other hero is hands down my mother.  An amazingly strong woman who didn’t have much growing up in terms of material wealth, but she has never let her circumstances define who she is.  My mum is one of those rare people that lives by example.  Not to mention the fact that she made every costume of mine when I performed as a kid and has done nothing but support me and every crazy idea I’ve ever had.  I’m very lucky.   Oh yeah, and she cooks up a storm!

Chantelle, it’s been a real pleasure chatting with you. Please know you have friends at HorizonVU Music…five stars for you and all the best of luck! Stay in touch!

Stephanie Griffin01Well, once again, I’m loose on the Blog. Recently, I had the good fortune to be introduced  Stephanie Griffin. She’s an eighteen year old musician singer/songwriter from the U.S. (Connecticut).  A student at Quinnipiac University pursuing a major in Communications & Media Studies and minor in music, she’s  been playing piano since she was eight and guitar since since was thirteen. She started writing songs at the age of twelve.

It’s clear that her true passion is music and a music industry career. Over and above  Stephanie’s talent as folk, folk-rock artist, she’s sends of the off the kind of electricity you like to feel  from young artists with talent,  head on shoulders and energy to deliver.

Hi Stephanie! Thanks for taking time out to talk with us.  We’ve given you a bit of an introduction. Is there anything I missed?

SG: No problem, Phil.  I think you picked up on the main points. I am orginally from Hamden, Connecticut. I moved to Wallingford, Connecticut [about twenty minutes away] when I was ten. I seem to have always had an interest for music since I could talk. I remember singing all the time and even dancing to Motown music around my house.  Whenever my teachers from elementary school would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always responded with the clever response: a singer. Yet, once I started songwriting, I thought I would like to song-write as a career as well.

From Motown to acoustic  – that’s a journey!  Tell us a bit about your musical development. Formal training,  your current view toward your development and what you really would like to do in music.

SG:  The only real formal training I had with voice was through middle school and high school in my chorus classes. I regret not being able to have formal lessons with my voice, yet, I’ve learned many important skills  singing through school. For example, I have learned  the importance of diaphragmatic breathing, pronunciation, and singing in a higher voice. When it came to guitar, I took lessons over a summer learning the basics of a guitar, like how to hold it, strum, finger-pick, etc.  As for the future, I would like to go into the music industry as a music journalist or find a career in radio or music production.  I would like to song-write as a career as well.

Tell us about your major influences…where did your interest in music start and what made you Stephanie?

SG:  My first major influence when it came to my passion for music was my mother. I remember her always playing the piano, guitar, and singingto me. In a way, she was a big inspiration for my musical traits. Other influences include Taylor Swift, Hayley Williams, Christina Aguilera, and Mariah Carey.  All of whom have unique voices and styles that I have tried to incorporate into my own musical style.

We’ve all had our good days and bad days in the music business…putting the tough days aside,  what do you consider to be the high point along your career path?

SG:  The best moment in my musical path so far has been picking up the guitar and starting to write music. Whenever I’m going through something in my life, I could most likely get a song out of it. Song writing has been my way to express myself and my emotions. I know it will be something I don’t give up as a musician.

You  have performed many songs…your favorite? Which video do you consider to be your best so far – the one you most want our readers to hear and see.

SG: I have performed many covers and originally pieces. My favorites include anything by Taylor Swift or Sugarland. I suggest the readers to check out my YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/stephii17xo to view videos from when I was at least fifteen to now. The video I recorded recently is just a rough recording of my original song “Erased”. The song is about a break up, where one person pretty much erases every memory of the other person. Towards the end of the song, the other person pretty much redeems themselves and learns to be okay after the separation. “Erased” is also one of my favorite original songs to date.

Very cool! Let’s take a time out to watch the video…”Erased”

Great! thanks for sharing your work work with us.  Before we let you go, I want to back up and “return to the future”.  We covered off on your interests in being a singer/songwriter, but we know you azre culivating other interests as well such as being in the industry in the industry as a music journalist or even  finding a career in radio or music production. Sum it all up for us. What’s ahead for Stephanie?

SG:  My dream has always been to perform. Yet, being realistic, I believe I can find as much success being behind the scenes of future music. I’m very interested in working in the music and focusing on production and songwriting. In the career of music journalism, I could also focus on promoting future musicians and writing about them. I am confident though that my major and minor will prepare me well enough for a career in the music industry. I always want to keep music in my life and want to follow a career that I will enjoy every day.

Stephanie Griffin, thank you again. We wish you the best of luck going forward and hope you’ll keep us in mind here at HorizonVU Music!!!

It was last June that we first posted a review of Kacey Cubero’s new CD,  Fill Your Cup http://www.kaceycubero.com. The self written and produced album was mixed in Nashville by the Grammy award-winning David Z (Prince, Etta James and Jonny Lang). There’s a little bit of everything: the raw rocking anthems I Want More, It’s Alright, and Reserve the Right; a bucolic Old Cadillac; the folksy Feather in the Wind; organic, soulful ballads, What if I Really Love You and Whatcha Gonna Do; the bluesy Set You Free; the evocative steaminess of Under My Skin; the bluegrass tinge of Two Trains; the plaintive longing of Sunday Mornings; and the love letter that is the title song, Fill Your Cup. The CD hit #18 on the EURO AMERICANA CHART in August  http://www.euroamericanachart.nl/0810.html.

The range and versatility of her music is evidenced by her winning the MAVRIC Independent Music Award in 2009 for Folk Song of the Year for Feather in the Wind, and for being named 2006 Artist of the Year by the Santa Barbara Blues Society—the oldest blues society in the U.S.—and representing them in the International Blues Competition in Memphis.

Now Kacey’s on her way to Europe, so note the following dates:



KACEY CUBERO – 9:30 pm

Farnham, UK



KACEY CUBERO – doors @ 8

Bedford, UK

Price: £12



KACEY CUBERO – 8:15 pm

Orange Yard
London GB W1D 4JB
GB 020 7734 5547

Price: £13



KACEY CUBERO – 7:30 pm

South Yorks, UK

Price: tba



KACEY CUBERO – 8:00 pm

Oxfordshire UK

Price: tba



KACEY CUBERO – 8:30 pm

Brighton UK

Price: tba



KACEY CUBERO – 8:00 pm

@ The Freeholder
Farncombe, UK

Price: £8




St. Genis l’Argentiere, France

Price: 8 €



KACEY CUBERO – 8:30 pm

93 Lower Richmond Road
London GB SW15 1EU
GB (020) 8780 9383

Price: £7




Rhone, France



KACEY CUBERO – 9:30 pm

Manchester, UK

We are proud that Kacey is a featured HorizonVU Music artist. You can find her CDs and downloads at SHOP HorizonVU Music http://blog.horizonvumusic.com/?page_id=2068

By: Ilana Donna Arazie, Downtown Dharma — Find Zen in the City

On August 26th 2010, Matt Turk took the stage underground in the cavernous La Pomme d’Eve in Paris’

Photo: Peter Freed

Photo: Peter Freed

University of Sorbonne district. With his 1920s parlor-style guitar, Turk performed two well-crafted sets of his originals; classic American tunes including several from his new release American Preservation. What a treat, as the album is currently No. 20 on the Folk/DJ chart garnering mad spins in 25 states in the US, Germany, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Tucked into this cozy subterranean venue, Turk picked in a country blues style à la Mississippi John Hurt as he interpreted Jim Croce’s classic “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim.” The song is about the mystique of New York’s Times Square, perfectly illustrating how adept Matt Turk is with storytelling as he captivated the French audience with his All-American charm.

Turk sang the Steve Goodman classic, “City of New Orleans,” one of the greatest American songs ever written about trains, as well as Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train.” Following these traditional tunes, Matt performed his composition “Hobo Boy” off his 2002 release What Gives. Well-connected to American musical troubadour mythology in his original music, his nature and the covers he chooses to sing, Turk naturally brings a timeless quality to his work.

“Broadway,” also off  What Gives, is a tale of New York City during the inception of the AIDS crisis and the street reality surrounding it. Turk paints a stunning picture without even mentioning AIDS.  His introduction honored the memory of his friend Andy Kessler, who was responsible for building all the skate parks on the east coast of the United States, and also a fellow worker during the mid-90s at God’s Love We Deliver. On the song, Turk’s funky guitar playing evoked, at times, James Brown and Flea. A consummate musician and guitarist, Turk makes it look easy. His solo received great applause and rapt audience attention.

Later, he performed “Silver Ring” off his 2006 release Washington Arms, which tells the story of where he’s from. Audience members soaked in the dulcimer tones of his voice and melodious guitar arrangement while Turk created a vision of New York’s Hudson riverside, green with nature and filled with friends, family, renewal and joy. “Silver Ring” is a grand slam song.
 Closing his performance was his interpretation of Pink Floyd’s “On the Turning Away,” a ballad sung  acapella and clearly an audience favorite.  Evoking age-old Irish ballad-singing found in the pubs of Galway, Ennis and Dublin, this song showcases his genuine compassion as he closes his performance with the message, “Will there be no more turning away?” Exactly. Count me among the many that won’t be turning away from another Matt Turk performance. www.turktunes.com

Ilana Donna Arazie

Downtown Dharma — Find Zen in the City


The Downtown Dharma site is a bit of Cosmo meets Deepak Chopra, offering deep yet fun insights into finding peace and meaning. No need to fly to India or decode new age healers. Find modern wisdom and inspiration you would get from a hip, personal guru every day.

Purchase Matt’s CD American Preservation and downloads through SHOP HorizonVU Music http://blog.horizonvumusic.com/?page_id=2068

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