While experience is just as unique as the individual through whose life it happens, as long as there exists a means to express these happenings, art will continue to tell stories that capture time. This in itself is quite remarkable, especially because of the multitude of mediums that art encapsulates.
Capturing both her own dreams and the attention of all who come in contact with her art, singer-songwriter and actress Chantelle Barry leaves her mark on the world. As she sets forth in pursuit of her passions, she tells stories that touch the soul. Allow Chantelle to move you just as she has moved us.
WBM: Who is Chantelle Barry?
CHANTELLE: I love this question! Almost makes me want to speak about myself in the third person…almost. Well aside from the obvious, singer-songwriter [and] actress, I’m a lot of other things. I’m a great friend, a sister, a daughter, a lover, an activist, a clown, according to my mum, [and] definitely an animal lover–I love dogs.
WBM: Where are you from?
CHANTELLE: I was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. Although it’s quite an isolated city I feel like I had quite the opposite of a small town upbringing. My parents were imports, mum from Italy and dad from Burma–both very forward thinking and open minded people–so the regular night for me was more than eating meat pies and barbecuing in the backyard. Though I’m proud to say I had my fair share of that too.
CHANTELLE: I love to sew and cook. I think the C in my name really stands for creative. I also have a jewelry company with my co-writer and producer, Scott Whyte, called White Elephant Designs. We design and hand-make a lot of cool pieces, mostly made with gemstones. I like to believe that semi-precious stones have a lot of healing power, so our catchphrase for the company is “vitamins for the soul”. I’m proud of it.
WBM: How did you get involved in music?
CHANTELLE: My dad was a musician and my big sister started singing when I was about five, and I just followed in her footsteps. Shortly after, my parents enrolled me in a singing and dancing school, and bought me my own microphone, and it all spiraled upward from there.
WBM: When did you know this was something you wanted to pursue?
CHANTELLE: Music’s always felt like a natural career choice for me. When I was 12 I decided I wanted to venture into acting as well, so I auditioned for the performing arts scholarship program at the best high school in the city and got accepted. The next five years of training [were] awesome and I think I knew then that being on stage was something I definitely thrived on.
WBM: What does it mean to be an artist in 2011?
CHANTELLE: It’s certainly a different ball game than it was years ago when all that mattered was being able to sing and [have] a hit song. When I first started out, I had a major deal with Warner Australia, and major label deals were the be-all and end-all in terms of being a pop star. Now, with the decline of organic music on the radio coupled with the incline of do-it-yourself artists, not to mention the amount of twitter fans you have defining your legitimacy–more like popularity–it seems so much better to be an indie artist. So pursuing festivals, college tours, and radio stations, and of course sync licenses–anything it takes to get you and your music out there.
WBM: Describe your style of music.
CHANTELLE: I don’t really know how to put my music into one genre- I’d like to say singer-songwriter pop. Does that genre even exist? But really, I have so many influences and pull from all of them. In a perfect world I’d be pop-rock-folk-blues-island-world. A bit of everything would suit me fine.
WBM: Do you have a particular message you would like to convey?
CHANTELLE: Yes! I care so much about spreading awareness, love, and self empowerment, and I think music presents a key to that door.
WBM: Word has it you’re working on the follow up to your first LP. How has that process been?
CHANTELLE: It’s been long. Fun, but long. Scott [Whyte] and I spent a big part of last year doing a whole album with great musicians and songs, and by the end of it I felt a little burnt out and decided to throw it all away and take a break. This year has been a different story. I’ve been taking it slower, writing a lot of songs, experimenting with different sounds and styles, and working on producing one song at a time as opposed to trying to get an entire album done in one hit, and it’s been a lot more gratifying. I also started working with another producer [Michael “Smidi” Smith] so the album will have a nice, well-rounded sound. I’m finally at a place where I’m loving every song.
WBM: Is music your only form of expression?
CHANTELLE: No, I think being an actress provides me with another outlet for expression. Also, I really like to bake when I’m feeling in a rut. A good batch of scones has more healing power than you know!
WBM: How do you balance music with what you have going on in the acting world?
CHANTELLE: I really think they go hand in hand. When things are slow in the music world, I usually have a lot going on acting-wise and visa versa.
WBM: What are some of the things that inspire you?
CHANTELLE: I do a lot of reading. Self-help books–bet ya didn’t see that coming (laughs)–Wayne Dyer, Paulo Coelho, Louise Hay; all great writers who provide a lot of insight and inspiration. I also surround myself with amazing people, and they’re a constant inspiration. Of course there’s the root of it all, my mum. She’s an amazing person who’s taught me some invaluable life lessons just by way of example.
WBM: Why does what you do matter?
CHANTELLE: It makes me happy, really happy…and I believe that happiness is truly the key to a successful and fulfilled life.
WBM: What keeps you motivated after all this time?
CHANTELLE: My stubborn will.
WBM: Define success.
CHANTELLE: The meaning has definitely evolved from when I first started. Every time I finish writing or recording a new song, it’s success. Getting off stage after a show is success. I just received two song placements in films last week, that’s success. Waking up every day and deciding to make that day count, that’s definitely success. For me, success is about being able to do the things I love while being able to support myself and the people I love.
WBM: Biggest accomplishment?
CHANTELLE: Not giving up. Even through my lowest times.
WBM: What’s one thing that many don’t know about you?
CHANTELLE: I make a mean chicken and eggplant curry.
WBM: What’s next?
CHANTELLE: Finish the album, release it, and work on my live show for the 2012 Canadian Music Festival–I’ve just been told that I’m an official showcasing and featured artist so I’m pretty excited about going to Toronto and killing it! Plus I’ve been dying to check out the scene in Canada.
WBM: Any advice for those looking to pursue their goals and dreams?
CHANTELLE: Don’t let others influence the things you want. Know what you will and won’t do, don’t compromise.