Meet + Greet: Robin Barnes

Local singer vocalizes her passions and lives for her dreams

Raised in a musical family, Robin Marie Barnes grew up with rhythm in her blood and soul. Her father and namesake Robino Barnes who plays bass himself, taught his daughter about music and appreciating the roots of jazz and blues. Barnes also was encouraged to join her church choir where she discovered the intrinsic, emotional and spiritual connection we all have to music and it was there that she realized her calling. At the tender age of 11, Barnes remembers one of her first performances singing Etta James’ “At Last” with her brother’s band the Soul Heirs. “I was so nervous that in the very first verse, I heard myself singing ‘At least’” she recalls with a laugh.

Barnes grew up in Gentilly and attended Dominican High School where at 14 she scored her first paying gig at one of the school’s sock hops. She went on to earn both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Business from the University of New Orleans, preparing herself to manage the economic side of her planned career in music while perfecting the artistic side through performance. “Being engulfed in the music scene taught me to be an entertainer, not just a singer.” Barnes reflects.

Although she was heavily influenced by jazz, blues and gospel, Barnes finds inspiration in all genres including pop, rap and hip hop from performers like Adele, Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars and Kanye West. Barnes enjoys performing classics like her soft, jazzy gigs at the Hotel Monteleone, but she doesn’t want to be pinned down to one particular genre. “Folks tend to put people in boxes and leave them there. I don’t want to be put in a box.” Barnes said emphatically.

Barnes recently released her debut EP titled Me, six tracks that represent a reflection of the different genres that have influenced her during her life. The album is available through iTunes, The Louisiana Music Factory and other retail outlets found on Barnes’ website She performs weekly at gigs all over town, but you’ll also be able to see her at this year’s Satchmo Summerfest on Sunday, August 4th at 3:45pm on the Red Beans & Ricely Yours Stage presented by the Windsor Court Hotel.

*Article originally published in the August 2013 issue of New Orleans Living Magazine

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