Barry Conrad is a multi-talented singer, actor, and model who is destined for big things. Over the years, he has continued to grow from strength to strength and shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
We spoke to Barry last year whilst he was touring as Seaweed J. Stubbs in the Hairspray Arena Spectacular. Since then, he has gone on to star as Kenickie in GREASE and has just joined the Australian cast of BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical.
With some exciting times ahead of him, we caught up with Barry Conrad once more to talk about touring shows, dream roles, new music, and much more.
Hey Barry, it’s nice to catch up with you again. First off – how’s 2017 been treating you so far?
Likewise. It’s nice chatting to you again. 2017’s been an interesting year so far. Some amazing new opportunities and I’ve grown in a lot of ways. Also some big challenges. I call it my Hurricane ’17.
You’re currently touring with GREASE across Australia. How’s it going?
Right. We kicked off in Brisbane to more than 14 000 people, which was a huge rush.
And I’m thankful to the producers for color-blind casting me as ‘Kenickie’. He’s a lot of fun to play. This effortlessly cool, bad-ass guy, but with a lot going on beneath the surface too. That gives me something to explore.
Plus, the music’s one big nostalgia fest. So many classics. And having audiences sing and dance along with us creates this, like, tsunami of energy that you really feed off.
What’s been your highlight of the tour so far?
Getting to sing Greased Lightnin’ is a massive highlight. Such a rad moment in the show. And you know what, as cliché as it sounds, getting to work with some of the most talented, genuine people is a blessing too. You all know who you are.
You’ll also be joining the Australian cast of BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical, congratulations! Can you tell us more about your involvement in the show?
Thanks so much! I’ll be playing part of American R&B/Soul group, The Drifters, which I’m super stoked about. They’re so smooth, suave and timeless.
Thanks to my mom, Carole King’s Tapestry album was right in the buffet of music we were fed growing up. So getting to be part of telling her story is one of those awesome ‘full-circle’ life moments.
The musical includes some great musical numbers. Which song are you most excited to perform?
That’s a tough one. Hmmm… Right now, I’ll have to go with On Broadway and Some Kind of Wonderful.
It’ll be your fourth musical in a row…what would be your next dream role?
I actually can’t believe it. It’s kinda the last thing I expected to happen, to be honest. But I’m glad about it. In the world of theatre, I’d love to tackle Hamilton, Wicked or even just a straight play. Looking forward to hopefully getting back to some more screen projects again too.
We all know that you’re a talented singer, so can we expect some more new music from you this year?
Thank you. And to answer your question, for sure. I’ve been pretty immersed in the acting the last while, riding the tide. But music never leaves me alone for too long. It starts bugging me incessantly, kinda like (tap tap), “Hey, don’t forget about me…”. Haha. I’m actually writing new music at the moment. A lot of life has happened. And being able to put that into my music has been a necessary release. Cathartic.
You’ve worked with the likes of OneRepublic and Craig David in the past. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given by these artists?
You know what, you don’t always get to spend a whole lot of time going super-deep with the artists you work with. But one of the best pieces of advice was, and still is, that it’s really about the songs. And just being authentic. It sounds so simple. We just get in our way sometimes, by complicating it.
Are there any particular artists you’d love to work with in the future?
Wow. How long do we have? Haha. That list stretches a good few miles long! Really digging Chance The Rapper right now. He just writes about his life, flaws and all. It’s a big reason why I think his stuff resonates with me and so many others.
You starred in 4D last year, which won a Spotlight Short Film Award. What was the filming experience like?
I loved it. It didn’t take itself too seriously, which made approaching the project easy. Plus, the cast and crew were a breeze to work with, which is always an ideal situation.
Do you have anything else in the pipeline this year?
Guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out…
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