‘The Voice’ Finalist & Recording Artist
Barrett Baber ’06 never planned on trying out for the NBC singing competition “The Voice.” He never expected that all four celebrity judges would turn around in their chairs to choose him during his blind audition. Baber also never dreamed that he would walk away from the show holding the third place title, but he did. And now, his success is continuing to rocket.
“My song lyrics were featured on 20-ounce Coke bottles nationwide this summer,” Baber said. “Which is just fantastic!”
Raised in Marion, Baber has always been a creative spirit with a go-with-the-flow personality. He never actually wanted to audition for “The Voice.”
“I didn’t really watch the show because I was busy playing gigs and writing songs. But I ended up meeting a guy from Texas a couple years ago named Luke Wade, and the very next year he went on ‘The Voice’ and made it to the top 12,” said Baber. “He came to town after he was done with the show, and we played a show together in Fayetteville.”
After the show, Wade tried to convince Baber to look into “The Voice,” but Baber insisted he wasn’t interested. Finally, after much persuasion, Wade convinced Baber to agree to let him send a YouTube link to the casting director of the show.
“I got a call from the casting agency about coming to a private audition in Oklahoma City a few weeks later, and I just decided to show up and see what happened,” said Baber. “And I’m really glad I did.”
Before Baber wowed an audience of 10 million viewers, he was just a regular guy trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. In 2002, Baber moved to Nashville and auditioned for season two of the hit show “American Idol.” He was cut before he made it to television and decided that reality music shows weren’t the way to go.
At the age of 23, Baber met a girl who was a student at UCA and he decided to join her and finish his degree. Within a few months of moving to Conway, the relationship ended, but Baber’s relationship with UCA had just begun.
“I credit UCA as being my second chance to being successful because it taught me how to be a student and an adult. The education I got here played such a crucial role in my success,” said Baber. “UCA was a special time for me. I’ve used the things I’ve learned in the communication department, and they have benefited me immensely.”
While at UCA, Baber made the decision to pursue his education first and enjoy playing music on the side. He began playing shows in Little Rock’s multitude of dive bars, grabbing his guitar and driving down to the capital city sometimes four to five times a week.
“Honestly, ‘The Voice’ was easier than playing dive bars,” said Baber. “When you’re in such an intimate space with only 12 people in the audience, and it’s a Tuesday, and these people were coming to that bar whether you were going to be there or not and now it’s your job to figure out a way to make this the most memorable part of their evening… That’s real pressure!”
Competing on “The Voice” was still an enjoyable experience, and Baber’s favorite part of being on the show was the people he got to meet.
“I was singing with guys from Chicago, Los Angeles and young kids from Knoxville and Georgia,” said Baber. “People of different races, different religions and different backgrounds. We have this connecting thing between us and as a human being, I found that to be very encouraging. It was just a really neat thing to get to feel what I’ve always known: music is universal.”
After his success on “The Voice,” Baber didn’t sit back and prop up his feet. He knew this was only the beginning, and he was ready to get to work. As soon as the show was over, Baber signed immediately with William Morris Endeavor, one of the largest booking agencies in the world.
“It opened a lot of doors, and right away we booked 10 shows with Rascal Flatts,” said Baber. “We toured with them in Vegas, which immediately broadened our fan base and showed people that I’m more than a guy who can sing song covers on a television show, which is really important to me.”
Baber has even bigger plans for the future. He has plans for producer meetings in Nashville, local shows in Arkansas and a tour that will take him all across America. Keeping his home state close to heart, as well as tattooed on his arm, reminds him what is truly important.
“I have a really good grasp on what matters to me: my wife and my kids. My happiness is not necessarily tied to my job all the time,” said Baber. “My job is to make music, which we can all relate to and dig. It reminds me that regardless of where you’re from or how you grew up, we all speak the same language.”
Feelin’ That Way
Performed by Barrett Baber
Composed by Barrett Baber and Kenny Lamb
“I wrote this song about something I think most people can identify with,” said Baber. “The experience of falling in love again with someone you’ve been in a relationship with for a long time is a pretty awesome thing to remind yourself why you love who you love.” This song appears on the Barrett Baber EP “Falling Again,” which is available for download on iTunes and purchase at www.barrettbaber.com.