Ontario-native Owen Barney just released his new EP Tough Times with the lead single “You Make Me Wanna”. During a challenging year, Barney managed to find the silver lining by writing music. Through this, he created a collection of tracks that perfectly speaks to the ups and downs we’re facing as we move-past the one-year mark of this pandemic. Fans will surely resonate with Barney’s longing for live shows and fan interaction.
“You Make Me Wanna” is a classic love song, made with his signature modern twist. It transports listeners to an idyllic fairytale, reminding us all that happy endings do exist and brighter times are ahead.
Owen Barney’s debut single “Letting Go” in 2018 was an extraordinary first foot forward that garnered the attention of fans from around the globe and hitting #13 on the Spotify Viral chart. Currently, he has over 10.5 million streams and a chart-topping summer smash “Thank Her For That”, making him a staple in the Canadian country music scene. His follow-up single “Pour Me,” has already reached Top 40 on the charts with over 1 million streams. Barney was also named the Amazon Breakthrough Artist of the Month in September 2020.
Apart from writing music, Barney was also involved in music through charity, raising $125,000 by performing at the motionball Gala, in support of Special Olympics Canada presented by AirMiles.
On Tough Times, here’s what Barney had to say:
How did the pandemic affect your writing style for this EP?
This pandemic has really given me a chance to dive deep into songwriting. I feel as though with each song my ability just continues to grow. I have written more songs in the last year than I think I ever have. I’m finding new ways to express myself through music, to say more, to look at the world in a different way. Slowing down and having all of this time to myself has allowed me to do that.
Where did you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration changes from day to day, with each song. Whether it’s a man standing on the corner, a sign a see, it could literally be anything. Whatever it is I will take it and write a story. With “Make Me Wanna (Brown Eyed Girl)” I was inspired by a relationship that was forming.
Do you think this EP helped you get through a hard year?
This EP definitely helped me through the year in the sense that it was something to put all my extra time towards. As soon as this pandemic began I was pretty much writing every day. I’ve never in my life had this much time to myself. At first, it was a bit scary and even lonely, but soon I realized that it’s good to take a pause. To hear yourself think. Thankfully I had this music to focus on. I feel grateful for that.
How do you hope listeners feel when they listen to the new EP given the world’s circumstances?
We are all going through a very weird time right now. I hope if anything, this EP can give anyone who takes a moment to listen to it, something that’ll put a smile on their face. I hope it makes them feel connected to something outside their everyday lives. If I can bring a tiny bit of joy to someone’s day, that means the world to me.
What made you choose “You Make Me Wanna” as the lead single of the EP?
Every time you write a special song you get the same feeling. It’s like goosebumps when all the hairs on your arm stand straight up. As soon as I wrote this song I immediately knew it was the one.
Overall, what can fans expect from Tough Times?
I feel that this EP is a really strong representation of me as an artist and songwriter. I hope that anyone who has listened to my music before will start to see that I’m growing into my own sound. That I have something to say. And that I put my heart into this music. I’m just trying to create moments for us to all feel connected. I hope that comes across in my music.
Hi! I’m Sarah Tomlinson. I’m currently studying journalism at Ryerson University. Music has been my passion since I was a young girl. I took piano lessons for 13 years and sang in musicals and in choirs at my French school in Toronto. At the same time, I started songwriting and ended up composing the music while playing the lead role for my high school’s musical in my graduating year. When I’m not writing articles for my campus newspaper or for Canadian Beats, I’m working on my own music. If you’d like to hear my music, check me out on all platforms and on Instagram @sarahtomlinsonmusic