Randy Barnette is living a dream as a songwriter in one of America’s most musically influential towns — Nashville
Published 6:40 am Saturday, January 12, 2019
Randy Barnette has been involved with music, both playing and writing, for years and like any musician, the next step is often born of opportunity.
And that is exactly what led the musician to move to Nashville, where today he’s writing and picking along with emerging artists in one of the most musically important towns in the nation.
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“I’ve done music forever,” Barnette said during a phone interview from Nashville. “This was an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down. I went in with a meeting and came out with a job.”
Barnette had been making extended trips to Nashville off and on for a few years now, but when MC1 Nashville/Sony-Orchard hired him, it was time to take the next step. So in September he moved to live full time in Nashville, something he said makes all the difference.
“The difference is, you can actually write over the Internet, record, burn it to an MP3 and send it over email,” Barnette explained. “To do music full time in this town you have to be here and do it full time because you have to be in the meetings. It’s always better to do it face-to-face.”
This new situation Barnette finds himself in, certainly didn’t happen overnight, especially in a town like Nashville where musical dreams can be born or destroyed in equal measure.
So many artists and writers travel to Nashville in hopes of being the next big thing. The reality is often times much different.
“There are a 100 people moving here a day and probably also a hundred leaving,” Barnette said. “Reality hits pretty hard here.”
But even with the steep hill to success, Barnette is living an exciting life and admits there are still a lot of things that still seem new.
“I’ve been playing guitar for 30 years and I’m still getting with guys, still learning,” he said.
Barnette explained a big key to his landing a steady job writing and making music was quite literally who he knew.
Through an extensive effort of networking, Barnette built the connections that allowed him to create a steady foundation in the music business.
“I had a meeting with the label before I got here,” he said. “That was networking. I can’t stress how important networking is.”
Working the generation gap
Barnette doesn’t mince words about what his day is like. While many people see the exciting world of music Hollywood would suggest, Barnette’s days are often times spent around a table with other writers and musicians.
“My day is getting up, meeting with artists and basically sitting around a table,” he said. “We just throw around ideas, three, four hours long, sometimes up to three a day, which can be brain-melting.”
To hear Barnette explain it, it sounds almost dull for a profession that very rarely shows anything other than a lit stage and thousands of fans.
But you’re also not hearing his voice as Barnette explains it. He’s clearly having fun with what he’s doing.
“I’ve been, in my past, with bands and touring,” Barnette said. “I wanted to try something different. I’m playing guitar 24/7. It’s different now. Instead of touring, I’m home. I’m going to the label and writing. It’s a different expression. I love getting with the artists and hearing their creative side.”
It’s been good for Barnette as well, as he explains the positive benefits for both himself and the artists he works with.
“To be here, you write with these artists and have the opportunity to play with them,” he said. “That’s huge because you’re not only helping the artists, but you’re helping yourself as well.”
Of course, just because he’s spending all that time writing, doesn’t necessarily mean a song of his will be published.
That is the reality of Nashville.
“It’s up to the artists if they want to cut it and perform it or shop it to another artist,” Barnette said. “You can publish a song and it can sit on a shelf for a long time. “
As an experienced musician though, Barnette also gets to see that moment where it begins to click for the younger artist.
“It’s cool because a lot of them are so overwhelmed,” he said. “‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m here doing this.’ It’s an education for both of us.”
Barnette is walking his career path and part of that path has been a recently opened door.
Very soon now, Barnette will be releasing a four or five song EP featuring nothing but his original guitar work.
Titled “Dreams,” the music is a designed effort to help those with anxiety and trouble sleeping.
“I’ve had some requests form people that have anxiety that said, I have anxiety and can’t sleep, could you send me some mellow guitar music I can sleep to?’ People absolutely loved it so I went to label.”
Barnette is hoping for a release this spring or maybe summer.
During his time in Nashville he also became an offiicially endorsed musician by CMG Chris Mitchell Guitar.
Just another day
In a town like Nashville, life won’t be a whole lot easier.
Barnette puts it pretty simply to the younger artists he’s working with. Mind the small steps because sometimes they may just turn into bigger steps. But at the same time music is a business of maintaining.
“Those little things could turn into big things, kind of what I did,” He said. “I’m blessed to be sitting here in a good position, but you have to maintain it. You just can’t say, ‘I’m here now.’”
There’s much, much more to Barnette’s story, but like every song penned in Nashville, it might just be a story for another time.
For now, it’s just easier to say it’s a life he’s happy to live right now.
“It’s something I’ve worked my life for,” he said. “It’s basically a dream come true. I’m working for a record label.”