Walnut Elementary’s first-grade teacher, Tina Barrett, is also a Nashville-recorded country music artist.
In late January, Barrett released her debut single “Lovin’ You Is Easy,” the first of four songs she recorded at Off the Row studio in Franklin, Tennessee.
But while some budding musicians might pack their bags and move to Nashville on a wing and a prayer, that’s not how Barrett’s story turned out.
A songwriter for many years and an Emporian for 12, Barrett posted a video of a new song she wrote on her Instagram page this summer. In response, Off the Row reached out to her, inviting her to be part of its Breakout Artist of the Year program.
“I went to Nashville in November to record at Off the Row and got to work with some really amazing musicians,” Barrett said. “All the musicians I’ve worked with play with the Grand Ole Opry and a lot of very well-known people, so it was a really cool experience.”
She recorded with producer and sound engineer PT Houston, who has a long history as lead guitarist in several musical groups as well as in the recording industry. During the writing process, she collaborated with singer/songwriter Sarah Morey to refine her music and lyrics.
“We worked together via Zoom to add lyrics to improve the flow of the lyrics and make more sense,” Barrett said. “We even changed the melody line and found what we really liked together. It wasn’t far from what I originally wrote, but we definitely collaborated there.
While in Nashville, the individual musicians who provided the instrumentation offered their parts, and Barrett was allowed to approve what she did and didn’t like. Upon completion of the recording, she worked with Houston to define the sound.
Some creative people may be hesitant to collaborate with others on their projects, but Barrett said she believes collaboration is an essential part of the creative process.
“I believe we’re better together than individually and when you’re working on something and you’re vulnerable enough to allow someone to look at what you’ve done and give you feedback and criticism, then your product is going to be so much better than if you did it yourself,” she said. “…I think the reason my song is so successful is because I just allowed this vulnerability to occur.”
“Lovin’ You Is Easy” is available on iTunes, Amazon Music and Spotify, and Barrett said reviews show it made noise, so to speak.
“I originally thought it would just be my friends and family listening to it, but it’s been played in 25 different countries around the world so far in just three weeks,” she said.
Lyrically, the song focuses on the simplicity of love, stating, “Lovin’ you is easy to do; it’s like staying up all night and sleeping until noon,” while featuring sentimental yet familiar scenes such as drinking beer and pizza on a Saturday night and dancing barefoot under the stars.
While she wrote the song in a way that people could see it romantically, Barrett said romantic love was actually not the inspiration.
“I wrote the song, actually, for my best friend, and a lot of people think it’s for your significant other, but actually, it was honestly just the things we loved doing together,” a- she declared. “The thing is, loving people has to be simple and often we make it really complex. But really, it’s simple.
Barrett said her influences range from Carole King and James Taylor to Miranda Lambert and Dolly Parton, but she didn’t go into the music-writing process trying to emulate anyone in particular.
“I literally sat down with my guitar and started strumming a few chords and singing the melody,” she said.
Barrett will release her second single on March 2, her third will be released six weeks later and her fourth six weeks later.
But once all the songs are available, what’s next?
“Life has its ups and downs, and my life is going through that right now in so many ways, not just in my career and my music, but in my family,” she said. “I learn new things about myself every day. I’m learning that I have strength and can find my way, but right now I’m really finding that way, to tell you the truth. …
“I hope people will follow my journey. I don’t really know where my goal is on this trip. My goal is simply to go as far as possible. »
The most important lesson, however, is not specific to him.
“I think the most important thing that I learn from this and try to teach my students, but also what I really want the community to know, is that it’s never, never, never too late to realize your dreams,” Barret says. “You just have to go ahead and work hard. You don’t know where things will take you, so do the hard work.
You can find “Lovin’ You Is Easy” on Amazon Music, iTunes and Spotify. You can follow Barrett at @tinabarrett_music on Instagram and her soon-to-be-completed website tinabarret.com.