Chantelle Barry first caught the public’s attention in 2000 when she won Australia’s version of Popstars, earning herself a place in the girlband Bardot. She’s come a long way since then, literally, now living in LA, acting and working on her music.
She has recently collaborated with Flecking favourite Scott Whyte and is fast becoming one of our favourite female solo artists.
I had a chat with Chantelle about her music, her acting and her plans for the future.
Hello Chantelle, how are you?
Hey there, I’m great!
You recently launched your album, how did the launch gig go?
It was a lot of fun. The full band and I did a show at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, took some pictures, sold some CDs. In my mind it was a success.
How would you describe your sound?
Ha, I should have this answer down by now but it somehow always manages to stump me. I’d like to think it’s a pop folk hybrid with a little bit of soul, maybe. Ultimately I’d like to call it pop but that word seems to confuse people, when really all it means is ‘popular’.
Who are you main musical influences?
I have so many influences. I grew up listening to great pop acts like Elvis Presley, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Michael Jackson. My idol is actually Judy Garland even though my music’s not at all ‘nostalgic’, I can’t help but love her.
What are you listening to and loving at the moment?
I’m really into Justin Nozuka right now- he’s another great artist who could fall into lot of different genres. Very folky with rock and soul elements. Also love Marc Brussard and Amos Lee. LOVE Amos Lee!
You worked with Scott Whyte on your music, what’s he like to work with?
Ahh! What a nightmare!! Haha! Actually he’s one of the most talented and down to earth people I’ve worked with. You’ve heard the term “Jack of all trades, master at none”? Well Scott is the master of ALL trades. Seriously. Mine was the first album he’d ever produced and it pretty much came about with him deciding he wanted to have a shot at producing my album. By that point I’d worked with so many different people, most of whom just didn’t ‘get’ the sound and direction that I could hear in my head so I really had nothing to lose. Turns out he and I had a really similar vision as to how the music should sound and it became a really rewarding project.
We’ve also seen your hilarious duet/parody! How did that come about?
Haha! That video was really just Scott and I goofing off. A friend of ours (Dave Maciel- another talented musician) emailed us this track and asked if Scott and I could maybe write something to it. I think his words were “maybe it’ll inspire something”, so cut to Scott and I playing it for the first time – I started singing the main hook “Baby boy in the back door…” and Scott started rapping and we literally decided to record it on the spot. Then we decided the next day to shoot a little video to it trying to use every rap video stereotype we could think of. It’s pretty funny how much people are loving it. We have a few other spoof projects we’re working on too. I think it’s really good to maintain balance. We might do one spoof project to every serious project, they’re all fun though.
How did the two of you meet?
We met on a movie set a few years ago. We’re both actors as well as musicians and we were shooting this comedy feature film in the middle of summer, in the middle of nowhere and a bunch of the cast just really bonded. It was a good time.
Tell us a bit about your music background?
Well my Dad was a musician and my two sisters (Charlette and Charlene) and I kinda just fell into music. It seemed like the normal thing to do. Before long the three of us were a singing group (The Barry Sisters, original, I know) and we sang at every wedding and event that there was in our home town. Our mum made all our costumes, it was awesome! We worked a lot but it was really fun. Not a bad gig for a 12 year old.
I went to a high school and had a scholarship for performing arts and spent a good 90% of that time on stage in musicals and theatre productions. After I graduated I moved to Sydney and auditioned for a reality show ‘Popstars’. I was selected for the group and everything kind of just took off from there.
Are you an actress who sings or a singer who acts?
I think I’m just an artist all round. I love being creative. I sew, I make jewellery, I sing, dance, act… and when it comes to having to choose between music and acting I’m just not prepared to. I believe it’s possible and realistic to have a successful career doing both. Elvis Presley and The Beatles did it back in the day, Alicia Keys is doing it now and I wanna be on that list too.
What will we have seen you act in?
Most people seem to recognize from an episode of ‘Entourage’ I did a few years back. I most recently did a few episodes on the new 90210 and I also have a tiny one liner in the new Vince Vaughn/Jon Favreau film ‘Couples Retreat’ (in theatres October 9th). It’s been a slow year for me on the acting side but it’s been a blessing in disguise because it’s given me a chance to really focus on the music.
What acting projects are you working on?
I’m in pre-production right now for a film called ‘4Bidden’ where I play a singer in a pop group. See, I can do both!
What’s next for your music?
Well I’m really focusing on getting radio airplay. Right now I have songs playing on the radio in Canada, Hawaii and Australia. I’d love to add the UK and North America to that list.
I’m also headed to Australia mid October to promote the release of the album so I’m really looking forward to that since I’ll get to see my family while I’m there. Touring is a major goal for me.
We’ve been Googling you, and we love your outfits! Any fashion secrets?
Awww, thank you! I actually make a lot of my outfits and I really just try to dress how I feel most comfortable. How I dress day to day isn’t too different to how I dress on stage. I might pick it up a notch but I’m still very me.
Do you have any style icons?
Not really to be honest. I love colours and I love pieces that look ethnic.
Tell us a random fact about Chantelle: the person.
Two random facts. I love to bake and I’m really into gemology. My mum gave a lapis lazuli pendant when I was about 12 and ever since I’ve been fascinated with the healing properties of gem stones. Lapis is really good for the throat chakras. We all have our beliefs.
Describe yourself in 3 words…
Creative. Loving. Compassionate. If I get a fourth it’d be ‘Geek’. I’m a huge geek.