Tag Archive: Lionel Richie


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.”

Musical childhood

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.

Film career

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.

Other endeavors

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.


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!

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