We are excited share a new interview with Kansas City-area songwriter and composer Isaac Barkley. Isaac was the very first artist we featured on Listen Local back in January, 2015, and now has the honor of being our 100th. For this interview we catch up on what Isaac's been up to and how his craft has evolved over the past year and a half.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to since we last interviewed you in January, 2015.
Since January 2015, I have finally completed high school! Graduating was one of the best moments of my life, and I am so happy to take this step in my life. Throughout the past year, I have enrolled in college, hung out with friends, participated in many school events and sports, been hired at an amusement park, written more music, and tried (successfully) to keep my grades up.
Your music has taken a turn away from the classical and orchestral towards EDM, techno and pop-oriented songcraft. What inspired this turn?
Haha, I actually haven’t taken as big of a turn as it may appear when it comes to my styles of music composition. Ever since I started writing music, I have created songs of many different styles/genres. For several years, I have had a passion for creating music of both orchestral type (like piano and other string instruments), and electronic type (like EDM, hip-hop, and pop). In my early years of composing, it was the orchestral type songs that got the most public attention, mostly because they were the ones that were performed live in recitals or concerts. In the past couple years, my electronic songs have gotten more attention than before because more people have noticed my Soundcloud page and I have done some live performances with them. I actually have written many more electronic songs than I have orchestral. I do enjoy writing electronic music more than orchestral as well. I won’t stop writing both styles though, and I like to combine the different styles in songs together.
You accomplished a lot during your last two years at Raytown South High School. What were some of the challenges you faced trying to balance academics, preparing for college and staying creative?
Junior year, there was no problem with balancing academics and music creation. I was enrolled at Summit Technology Academy and took the Digital Media Technology class that I went to for half of every school day. In that class I learned skills in audio and video production, and it is the best class I have ever taken. I gained so many skills from taking the class and I greatly furthered my music education. I was able to write music almost every day with access to a couple different studios we had in the building and different recording equipment.
Senior year was a different story. It was very hard to balance academics, preparation for college, music creation, and other things like sports or family events. I was enrolled in three dual credit classes along with other high school classes, and I didn’t go to STA for Digital Media again because it was a one year class. I tried writing music on my own but I struggled to find time to do it. In my busy schedule this year, I was able to write a couple new songs though. I wrote a third piece for my high school orchestra that was played in a concert and I created a new EDM piece that won popular vote in an Indaba Music contest. Other than those two, I didn’t complete very many songs at all during my senior year. However, I was able to continue gaining skills in audio production in a couple different ways. Last year I became the lead for the sound crew in my high school’s theater productions and I also was the audio editor for my church. I was able to continue using skills I learned from my Digital Media class in various ways.
You’ll be studying Music Technology at the University of Central Missouri in the fall. What drew you to this program? What are you most interested in learning once you’re there?
I want to continue my studies in music so I plan to major in Music Technology. I was drawn to this program because I have such a great passion for creating music and using audio production technology. I believe this course will help push me towards a career in music production. My goal is to someday work in a music studio and create new music with various artists.
My music has been inspired by artists such as Martin O’Donnell, Gawvi, Alesso, Martin Garrix, Lecrae, Michael Salvatori, David Guetta, and Capital Kings. I recommend that people listen to these artists and their works.