Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Barton.
Joe, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am from Tulsa, Oklahoma and come from two very supportive parents. My father is very musically inclined and my mother is a wonderful artist. I began playing the guitar at age seven and quickly evolved into professional playing by age 9. I had a mentor (my instructor) from 7-10 years old and he stressed the importance of improvisation from day 1. I think this is why my playing developed so quickly, I always wanted to be able to pick up the guitar and be able to play what I could hear in ears and imagine in my head. This ultimately got me on stage before I hit my teenage years. By age 10, I had decided to stop taking formal lessons and further develop myself into learning by ear. Through my teenage years and through college, I remained in Oklahoma but remained thoroughly addicted to development on the guitar and kept taking session and gig opportunities when they came my way. I even assumed the stage name “Mr. JB” while doing a short run of casino tours with an R&B/soul group based in Tulsa, ‘Kevin Keys and the Feel Good Band’. Upon graduating college, I made a snap decision against graduate school and moved to Hollywood to see what music school was all about. I did a short stint at MI in Hollywood and was privileged to befriend two absolutely incredible artists/instructors who have given me so much in regards to how I look at improvisation and my own technical approach to playing. These artists are Jinshi Ozaki and Andre Nieri.
Has it been a smooth road?
Much like the roads in Tulsa, it has not been the smoothest. I am a fairly nervy person who has always dealt with anxiety and overcoming that hurdle has been the most challenging part of being an artist in LA. However, I have since learned how beneficial self-confidence can be. For instance, you practice a legato line endlessly alone in your apartment.. and eventually you want to let this line out in-front of people but it scares you because it’s really tough! Having the realization and the knowledge that you can actually play this line because you’ve practiced it so much your fingers are raw.. is almost as powerful as all the practice itself. I digress, but ultimately, be aware of your own abilities and do not compare yourself to other players.. all musicians are snowflakes and YOU is what makes you you.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Rather than a business, I would assume the title of independent artist. I specialize in what I am known for and that would be improvisation and solo guitar work. I think that my ability to do things on the spot is an attribute that somewhat sets me apart from others, you essentially have a blank canvas every-time you pick up a guitar. I would say I am most proud of my own technical development in the past year of being in LA. Additionally, I think it is rare to find someone who is actually picky about the work they do (understandable because LA is abusively expensive) but I am. I only like to work with people who see me as a person and not just a walking guitar robot.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Well first of all, Hollywood is not “glamorous” by any means and it somewhat feels like the wild west. I both love and hate Hollywood and the greater LA area. I hate it for socioeconomic reasons and all the disparities we see on a daily basis.. our mayor is also essentially useless. However, we should focus on the positive things, and let’s start with how amazing all of the food is! (Korean bbq is my favorite thing) Another thing I love is the ability to be an individual here, there is so much uniqueness and diversity here.. its almost difficult to be concerned with how you look when you go in public (and thats a beautiful thing). No matter how “weird” you are, someone out there is even more weird! and thats okay!
- Phone: 9188518357
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @joebartonofficial
Adam Rarey – photographer