Barry Conrad has been making his mark on the Australian music scene for years, but you probably don’t recognize his name. Confused? Well, Barry just changed his stage name. Previously known as Barry Southgate (yep, now I see a few of you tweaking in remembrance), the South African born singer/songwriter chose to go by his middle name to reflect a new season in his life.
“Some people might find it random, but for me it was a natural progression,” Conrad shares. “So much has happened over the past couple of years, I honestly feel like a different person in a lot of ways. Deciding to go by my first and middle names is a direct reflection of that.”
With his first name meaning “spear, sharp” and Conrad meaning “brave, wise,” the bold rebranding of himself highlights what he seeks to achieve as a performer. “Those qualities represent what I want to be,” he says.
While most Aussie’s likely recall Conrad as a contestant on the 2013 season of X Factor as one of Danni Minogue’s Over 25’s, the singer has a CV far broader than most. He has opened for music legends Brian McKnight, Eric Benet, K-Ci and Jo Jo, and 00s heart throb Craig David, and even toured with Darlene Zschech and Grammy Award winning artist Israel Houghton. Oh, plus he’s sung for the Pope. Picking a career highlight then, is understandably a challenge for him. “Wow that’s a tough one. I don’t think I could pick just one career highlight, super grateful for what I’ve experienced. I reckon there’s so much more coming too.”
That being said, Conrad has gained perspective on what truly matters to him as a performer. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned though, is that the onstage part is kind of the smallest part. Which is funny, because that’s the thing most people focus on: the “rockstar” part. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen.”
It is the people around the singer who keep him grounded and able to thrive. “It’s more about holding onto who you are along the way, treating people well and keeping strong people around you. You honestly can’t sustain physically, emotionally or spiritually in this industry without putting things in place.”
Coincidentally, his first chance to release music under the name ‘Barry Conrad’ came when he collaborated with good friends Stan Waker, Vince Harder and Fourtunate on Walker’s album Truth & Soul, singing the Boys II Men classic, “End of the Road.”
“Boyz II Men were like my idols growing up, for real! I’d get home from school, run to my room and listen to them on repeat, studying their vocals,” he says. “To have the opportunity to cover one of their biggest hits, plus do it with mates of mine, was pretty dang amazing. Definitely a moment I won’t forget…”
Aside from recording with Walker, Conrad has also written with the New Zealand X Factor judge and has an impressive song writing repertoire to boot. He has written with Hayley Warner and Paulini, and has penned songs for the hugely successful church band Hillsong. So what inspires him in the song writing process?
“Just life. What’s going on in me and what I see around me,” he explains. “Sometimes it’s real general stuff, where I could be out running or doing laundry and get hit by inspiration (haha…). Other times it’s plain blue-collared-job hard work, where I don’t feel inspired at all, and just decide, “Ok cool, I’m gonna write a song today…”. I get some of my best ideas in moments like those.”
At the moment, he says his song-writing has taken a more personal turn. “I’m writing a lot from personal experience right now, so these songs on the way are by far my most honest.”
To call Barry Conrad a triple threat would be an understatement. A singer, songwriter, actor (he just landed a small role in his first U.S. feature, San Andreas, starring Dwayne Johnson), and an ambassador for health and fitness brand 180 Nutrition as well fashion labels TONI & GUY and Label.M; he is willing to stretch himself and grow as an artist in any way possible. His core values though, remain in helping and empowering others. Coining the BCS movement from the initials of his name, Conrad uses his social media to engage his fans in something bigger than his career.
“I thought, “How can I make an acronym from this that stands for something more than just me?”. That’s how I came up with Bring Change Somewhere,” he says.
“The goal is to inspire people to make a positive change in their own worlds, no matter what it looks like. It could be helping someone financially, volunteering at a charity or even just offering a smile. No matter how big or small, change is still change.”
The future is unlimited for Barry Conrad, and the possibilities are endless as he embraces new opportunities in music, performance, on screen ventures and more. Above all though, the talented singer is thankful for the loyalty of his fans. “A massive thank you to anyone out there who supports me,” he says. “I appreciate it more than you know and hope to see you soon!”
To find out more about Barry Conrad and the BCS movement, visit his website.
FDRMX Eyes: Blame It on Sean is an electronic music group with eclectic influences and a bent for producing intellectual and intriguing melodies. Check out their video, “Core”.