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Barns Courtney, whose full name is Barnaby George Courtney, was born on 17 November 1990. A singer and songwriter, Courtney's style has been influenced by his childhood, which was split between the UK and the United States. Although he was born in Aylesbury, the singer spent a significant part of his childhood in Seattle, the home of grunge music in the 1990s. Courtney eventually returned to his home country at the age of 15. For many of his fans, this change of scene comes across vibrantly in the musician's eclectic mix of folk, blues, indie rock, hip-hop and grunge. Courtney's music owes much to the British melodic tradition of its folk and rock performers, while still sounding as if it carries a distinctly American twang.
Barns Courtney's career milestones
As a young musician, Courtney played in various musical projects while he developed his sound. Sometimes, he would lend his vocal talents to other people's ideas and sometimes he would find his way playing with friends in bands in the Aylesbury area. Dive Bella Dive was an early project he was involved with, fronting the indie rock outfit. The group were signed and got on with producing an entire album's worth of material. However, due to a dispute between the band's label and the recording studio, the work never saw the light of day. Despite this setback, Courtney did gain a great deal of exposure playing to larger audiences, for example, when Dive Bella Dive performed at the prestigious Download Festival.
After the breakup of his first significant band, Courtney decided to reinvent himself as a solo artist. Initially, he needed to take on part-time work to fund himself, but when things got going for him musically, his career developed into a fast-paced one. At the end of 2015, Courtney put out his first solo track, called “Glitter & Gold”. The song had a rocking, gospel-blues American groove and made plenty of use of the singer's gravelly but mellow vocals. It peaked at the number one spot for a spell on the UK Spotify Viral Chart. The iTunes Alternative Chart also ranked it as among the top songs of its day. Indeed, the BBC picked up on the track and added it to its Introducing playlist, a showcase platform for emerging talent. Courtney released the track on YouTube as well, where it was viewed over and over again by new fans.
Courtney followed up his success with “Goodbye John Smith”, a poignant ballad that was arranged for piano. It also gained a significant following online and gained the songwriter new listeners. As a result, the performer was named as one of Channel 4’s Future Sounds artists that year. He went on to play several dates in the US. After signing to Virgin EMI, Courtney released his debut studio EP, Hands, in 2016.
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