For Jarrod Barry, his love of music and dream of being a musician started early.
“I’m mostly self taught,” the 23-year-old Shelocta resident said. “My dad played guitar and I’d play along with him, Guns N’Roses and AC/DC, that sort of thing, and that’s how I really got into it. That was around when I was in third grade.”
In fourth grade, Barry formed a little band and they recorded their songs on an MP3 player but eventually, as he got older, he started playing solo under his own name.
“I did some talent shows,” he said. “And I played a handful of shows locally and around the area. I’ve done a handful of radio shows and I was on a show in Clarion back in the day.”
His music, which he describes as alternative and experimental, offers a little bit of something for everyone. And it has garnered him a sizable following, allowing him to become known in local music circles.
As he has become known, he was eventually offered a gig opening for Wifisfuneral, an American rapper and songwriter, in Boston.
“I got that gig through DJ Afterthought out of Pittsburgh,” Barry said. “It was great getting to go somewhere new and play for people, I got a bunch of new fans from performing up there.”
Barry has also gained fans through the popular TikTok app, where his song “Tractor” has gone viral. Released on July 23, the song has amassed nearly 1 million views/streams across several social media platforms.
“Believe it or not I got the idea in high school,” Barry said. “I went to West Shamokin High School and it’s in this real rural area. We had a day called ‘Tractor Day’ where people would bring their tractors to school. So I put on this persona and made this little joke song picking on it a bit, mostly because my friends were telling me that I hadn’t written a country song yet.”
Barry’s experiences in school also served as inspiration for his first studio album, “Steady Dreaming.”
“I’ve had that title picked out since I was 12,” he said. “Being from such a rural area, not a lot of people really agreed with or understood my dream of going into music some day. So this title goes back to that whole bullying situation. The album centers around someone dreaming, of wanting to be something and how you have to learn not to listen to everyone and, sometimes, to not even listen to yourself when you’re being negative about a situation.”
The album has been on Barry’s mind for quite some time, but he said he was waiting for the right moment to record.
“I was trying to garner enough attention, gain some popularity,” he said. “But I got a bunch of fans in Boston and ‘Tractor’ popped off, so I decided ‘Well, it’s time to do it.’”
Barry recorded “Steady Dreaming” at Holiday House Studio in Apollo and at ID Labs in Pittsburgh — “That’s where Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa came out of,” Barry said.
The album was helped along by a lot of his friends and other local talent, he said.
“It’s very home grown,” Barry said. “I worked with some friends as well as local studio producers. There was only one song that had some help from a producer online.”
The album dropped on Friday, Barry’s 23rd birthday, but singles “Scared,” released Oct. 13 and “Let’s Get Out,” released Nov. 6, have already started to gain traction. The album is available on various streaming platforms and social media sites. It can be found by searching for Jarrod Barry or @jarrodbarry.
“It’s going to be out on iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube,” Barry said. “I’m also working on getting a store together. So hopefully soon we’ll have hard copies. I’ll be doing some limited signed copies and will have more merch eventually.”
Barry also plans to make some music videos in the next few months, though those plans are all dependent on the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been doing all of this throughout COVID,” Barry said. “So it’s been trying to keep things rolling through that. I am so excited to get some shows going once things get better, once I can.”
In the end, Barry has just been happy to get his music out there during the current tumultuous climate.
“I’m excited to be able to tell my kids in the future that the world once sang and danced to one of my songs during a pandemic,” he said.