Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Adam Barnes strikes the right chord
Acoustic folk musician Adam Barnes tells Matt Ayres how the support of fans helped him realise his dream of recording an album
In a scene filled with artists striving to create something completely new, it’s often easy to skip over those who excel at playing music from a pre-loved genre.
An acoustic folk musician through and through, 21-year-old Adam Barnes is one talent who anyone with an eye on the local circuit should have on their radar. There’s something soulful about the songs on his debut EP Blisters, with rich instrumentation and harmonies augmenting the centrepiece of strummed chords and vocal melodies it all began with.
“When I was 14 I started an acoustic duet with my best friend at the time,” Adam, from Harwell, explains. “We got gigging around the local youth clubs and venues. I found music was something I had a real passion for, and I have been writing and performing ever since.”
It would have been easy for this young singer-songwriter to continue playing in a band set-up, but that first project, Motion in Colour, was always defined by Adam’s distinctive voice and poetic lyrics. Going solo in 2010 not only allowed him to focus all his efforts on honing an already promising talent, but also gave him the opportunity to promote himself in unique and intriguing ways.
For example, strolling the aisles of High Wycombe supermarkets while performing his single She Will Stay Beneath The Moon. As well as being the subject of several confused staff announcements, this little stunt went viral with a YouTube video of the guerrilla performances gathering over 20,000 views.
Other unconventional venues that Adam has played include a remote summit on the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and a rowing boat in Cornwall. Try fitting a whole band in one of those. There’s still a place for ‘normal’ shows – Adam plays for anyone who will listen, and that has included doing the rounds at almost every venue in Oxfordshire.
“I think my favourite gig memory was playing a headline show at the Jericho Tavern to a packed out room,” he recalls. “That was a lot of fun, and my first experience of headlining a venue that size.”
With a decent debut EP under his belt, the most recent development for Adam has been recording a full album. Easier said than done: with the grand ideas and rich production values needed to do his songs justice, it was bound to be a strain on the bank account as well as the vocal cords. Turning to the Internet, specifically crowdfunding website Kickstarter, resulted in the cash investment he needed.
“I began to realise that my part time bar job might not cover the cost of recording an album at the start of the year,” admits Adam. “A friend of mine had run a successful Kickstarter campaign and recommended it. I put a punt on letting my fans and friends help me fund and finish the album, in return for some limited rewards.”
These included lyric sheets, personalised beanies, Polaroid photos and a personally painted canvas of the album artwork.
The outcome was phenomenal: a cash injection of £3,877 from fans and a definite green light for Adam to release The Land, The Sea & Everything Lost Beneath.
“It was a truly humbling experience. I raised over 150 per cent of my target and have since been able to finish the album, and start getting everything prepared for its release later in the year.”
CHECK IT OUT: Adam’s next local gig is at the Oxjam Takeover on October 12. Tickets for this citywide charity event cost £10 from wegottickets.com. Look out for the new album, released this Autumn, and hear more music at adambarnes.bandcamp.com
Comments are closed on this article.