Barry Conrad "Dancing On My Own!" (exclusive interview)

Barry Conrad is a powerhouse to be reckoned with.  

From his stage-stealing moments as a finalist in The X-Factor Australia, to starring in the award-winning and critically-acclaimed theatrical production of 'VIOLET'.  Barry is now touring Australia in his second consecutive musical, 'Hairspray: The Big Fat Arena Spectacular' - the largest production of 'Hairspray' ever staged in the world.

An accomplished singer and songwriter, Barry's single, 'Anywhere We Go', is out digitally everywhere.  The bold, moody track has an equally fitting music video.  This multifaceted talent is also an ambassador for 180 Nutrition, R U OK?, Cancer Council and Compassion Australia.

Needless to say, I found Conrad while looking at others to take note of globally, and he caught my attention right away.  From his stage presence, charisma and voice, to how his personality shines through, it's easy to see that Barry Conrad possesses star quality in spades.

Barry, first I want to say how greatly appreciated I am for you to take time out of your busy schedule to do this exclusive interview with me for 'Let The Beat Hit You!'.  It's also fantastic to note that you are officially part of our 'Artist in Residence' for 2016. 

Tell me how life has been for you since being part of the whirlwind that was The X Factor, being such a fan favorite and making it to the Top 12.  What was the experience like? 

-  My pleasure, thanks for having me!  X-Factor, wow.  I always say it was one of the best and hardest things to ever happen to me.  Being thrown into the deep end on live TV like that, it's really a sink or swim type of situation.  You're kind of forced to survive.  I definitely learned a lot, about the show element, and even more about myself. 

Do you have a favorite memory from your time on the show, such as collaborating with a specific artist?

-  We had guests like Katy Perry, 1 Direction, Miguel and a bunch of others, which was ace.  I have a lot of amazing memories, but one of the best would have to be when we got to go to New York for Home Visits.  NYC is my favorite city.  And getting the good news that I'd made live shows there was a moment for sure.

Since appearing on The X-Factor, your career has truly gone into overdrive, from touring, a fantastic single, and now two successful theatrical productions.  It truly is a great time to be where you are.  What was one milestone that you now can look back and say, “Wow, that was the defining moment” (thus far)?

-  You know what, they're all milestones and all special.  It's important to me to not get swept up in everything where I forget to be present.  To realize I'm actually living in the middle of a milestone right now.  I'm very thankful.

The single we touched on, 'Anywhere We Go', really catches you instantly.  What inspired you to write it? 

-  Art imitates life, life imitates art.  That's what they say, right?  I wanted to write a love song with a bit of danger to it.  A bit darker.  That was direct lyrically and bold vocally.  I'm really happy with it.

You're also an accomplished songwriter, what is your process for writing?

-  It depends.  Sometimes I'll block out time to sit down and write, even if I have zero ideas.  Other times I could be out and about, working out or even doing laundry, and get hit with a ton of inspiration.  My phone's full of sung voice memos.  A lot of which aren't necessarily crash-hot (haha).  But some eventuate into songs.

Do you have any projects in the making that we can look forward to in the music arena? 

-  I'm possibly the worst multitasker around, but I am writing and recording new music in between touring at the moment.  Music is definitely coming.

Another huge area for you as of late are your show-stopping performances in theatrical delights such as your roles in 'VIOLET' and now 'Hairspray'.  What drew you to these particular projects?

-  I was pretty hesitant at first about musical theater.  I've always had a bunch of friends who did it and they'd be away on these long contracts.  Call it fear of commitment, but that scared me.  These two shows were too special to pass up though.  Even though in Violet I played a soldier in his late twenties and in Hairspray I play a teenager, both shows are actually set in the 60's and deal with real human issues like racism and equality.  And they both leave the audience walking away with hope.  

Walk us through how you prepare for getting into character.  What is your method of becoming each character?

-  I do my research on where they're from, what they're about and all that.  But then I also try and find qualities in them that I have within me.  Because that helps me to flesh out and humanize a character.  It's about doing the prep, but then letting it go and just being present.

Let’s go to opening night.  Where are you mentally the day-of and prior to something like that?  All actors have his or her method and it's fascinating to learn their process before the curtain raises.

-  Lots of good sleep, ideally 8 hours.  Then I'll set my mind for the day and steam my voice before warming up.  Will usually work out, have a relaxing brunch, then make my way to the theater.  I like to not feel rushed on show days.  Plan out my days, but execute them at a relaxed pace.

Is there talk of either production being available for purchase and/or to view on television?  I would think that both performances would be perfection to see for fans.

-  I don't think so, but that would be rad!

Once, you make your final bows in both productions after their performance, what is one thing you mentally take a picture of (or even actually do take one of) that will be the long lasting memory of that evening and experience?

-  It's simple, but just the realization that I'm actually living out my dreams.  It's cool.

I am getting tired just thinking of the whirlwind of a year you have had!  What are some other projects musically, theatrically, acting in either TV and or film that are on your horizon? 

-  There are a couple things, but you'll have to wait and see :p.

Now, I am a huge fan though live a bit far in the United States, are there any plans in the near future to come up and do perhaps some touring?  I among-st many other fans would love to have you up here very soon to bring your talent in perhaps both a theatrical production and a nice cabaret show.  I can see you perhaps also performing in the hit production 'Hamilton'.

Are there any current productions that you would love to have the opportunity to star in? I am sure there are a ton that have peaked your interests from Broadway, London, and all over the globe. 

-  It's interesting you mentioned Hamilton, because that's a show I'd definitely love to be part of.  Who knows what could happen?

Is there something that you have as of yet conquered in your career that you still have as a “must"?

-  A superhero movie is on the bucket list, for sure!

Walk us through a typical day in the life of Barry Conrad, what are some things you do to stay tip top shape both physically, mentally, and vocally for your work?

-  Everyday is different.  I'm a big believer in living in preparation, so I have a few things I try and do that are non-negotiables.  Everyday I'll start with setting my mind so that I'm as focused, centered and intentional about my day as possible.  Work on my craft: vocal, accent, dance training, writing.  And then working out, usually calisthenics.  

I am sure you have people you admire, whom are a couple and why?

-  Too many to really mention here.  I really admire anyone who makes the most of what they have.  That are excellent and successful at what they do, but stay humble and treat people well.  Good character is pretty attractive to me.

I know that you're also very passionate about the brands and organizations you're an ambassador for.  Tell us what in particular about them resonated with you?  It is great to see that you are such a compassionate person both in your personal and professional life.  

-  I don't think I deserve a medal or anything for being an ambassador for a brand or organization.  I just think, if you have any kind of platform, it's a shame to not use it for something greater than yourself.  If you're able to give voice to something you believe in, that impacts society in a positive way, I'm all for that.

How would you describe Barry Conrad music?

-  Creative, honest, soulful, universal.

Is there anyone you would love to collaborate with musically?  I can think of some great singers that would be vocally perfection with you and I am sure you do.

-  Man, that list would go forever!  Both old-school cats and current artists.  I love so many artists from different genres.

 Music and acting are both powerful tools.  What do they mean to you as an artist?

-  They're such incredible creative and emotional outlets.  There's really nothing like it.

What was your first gig?

-  Outside of school, a museum actually!

Are there any cover tracks that you would love to sing and why?

-  I'm such a music junkie and love covering songs.  My latest cover is a collaboration with a talented friend of mine, Marley Sola, on the song 'Dancing On My Own' (People can find it at

When people listen to and/or watch Barry Conrad, what do you want them to remember about you as a singer/actor?

-  That I moved them.

Is there a dream venue that you would truly love to perform at and why?

-  Madison Square Garden comes to mind.  It's so iconic and a lot of my favorite artists have performed there.

Finally, what is one word that would be best to describe you?

-  Foodie (haha)


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