Heart stopping good looks, rich vocals and easy smile would be enough for most people, but Barry Southgate also has a deeply spiritual, thoughtful side.
Life and music have taken Barry far from his humble beginnings, “I was born in Cape Town, South Africa, which is one of the most stunning places you could ever see. I'm of African/English/German/Indonesian descent. I spent my childhood in South Africa, then began my teenage years in Auckland, New Zealand, when my parents decided we'd move there for a better quality of life.”
Barry always had a rich musical life, “I have two younger brothers, both of whom sing and play guitar. My father is an amazing guitarist and a fine singer, and my mother did a gospel record with her church choir when she was younger. I grew up around it. Ever since I can remember I've been singing, so it's just been a natural progression.”
“We lived in New Zealand for seven years, and I really love it. It's so beautiful, and the fish and chips and meat pies are the worlds best! For all the American readers out there, I know you guys don't really do meat pies - just thought I'd let you know that you're missing out big time!” He continues, “I moved to Sydney, Australia, in 2003 as part of a singing/dancing/breaking group called Jireh. We split in 2004, but it was really a blessing in disguise. I can't help but wonder how differently things would have turned out had I stayed in New Zealand.”
“Amazing opportunities along the way have led me to where I am today, but there was no set plan or blueprint getting started. I just started knocking on doors fresh out of high school and have never stopped, really! I love music and everything about it. Not just singing, but everything about the whole process of crafting songs, and then being in the studio. I think I can speak for a lot of creative people out there, whether you're a singer, writer, actor, dancer, whatever, that you've pretty much got to love what you do if you're ever going to persevere in this game. The entertainment industry is not exactly the easiest, most conventional route to take, so there's gotta be more driving you than just success. Secondly, because I kind of feel a sense of responsibility to share what I've been given.”
Barry describes his sound as, "Commercially stylistic, or thoughtful pop music. I phrase it like that because I want my songs to appeal to the masses and be relatable, but still retain thought, style and soul. Where the veneer might be slick in approach, what's underneath tells a story. I'm all about that.”
Barry enjoys traveling, “Meeting all kinds of interesting people and experiencing different cultures,” watching movies, “One of my favorite past-times and escape-from-reality mechanisms,” and laughter, “I love to laugh, and I'm really big on great friends and great food. Nothing beats it.” Sometimes the laughter comes at the expense of himself, “I'm known to do some pretty funny things sometimes. Like walking into screen doors carrying bowls of pumpkin pie and ice cream, losing my passport in foreign countries ... you know, nothing too embarrassing.” He says with a smile, “I have a pretty different sense of humor and laugh at things that aren't even funny, often at the most awkward of times too.”
Growing serious, Barry talks about the spirituality that guides him, “My faith plays a huge role in my life because it's really the foundation for everything I do.” He expresses that by living true to the Biblical words from Matthew 6 verse 33, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
His career, though still just beginning, has led to many wonderful experiences. In 2004 he was a top 30 contestant in the Australian Idol competition, of that experience he says, laughing, “There's nothing like being thrown in the deep end! It was a priceless experience and exposure. I've made friends for life, too, because of it.” He has traveled and sung all over the world with Darlene Zschech and Israel & New Breed. He also performed for the Pope last year to a televised audience of more than 500 million people worldwide at World Youth Day 08, calling it, “An honor and privilege that I'll never forget.”
Reflecting on his journey thus far, Barry reveals, “I've really seen so much, it's crazy, but what an absolute blessing.” Gazing into the future he says, “More than anything, I'd like to be able to look back one day and say that I made the most of every opportunity, and have no regrets.”