We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Barnes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I pursued a career as a creative because writing is my favorite thing to do. As a child, I wanted to be an author of novels. However, as I got older, I realized this wasn’t the most realistic path to BEGIN with for me. As I got older I gravitated towards article writing which was centered around another one of my favorite things – music. I realized that while I was reading articles from other writers on various websites that I could be one of those writers too. I knew I had the talent to write but truly only had a background in creative writing. I later realized that I could bring the same approach to writing the articles – putting my internal thoughts onto the page – or rather the screen. As time went on, I was able to get more and more bylines as well as expand to interviewing and write about things other than music. I was doing something I truly loved doing and still learning new things about simultaneously. It helped me make connections in the world of journalism that I truly cherish and have been able to use to help to other creatives as well. By pursuing this career I have been able to and continue to build my resume, go beyond my comfort zone as a writer and learn more about the worlds of music journalism, the media industry and more.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My official job title is “Music Journalist”. This is the easiest way to cover everything I do which includes album reviews, interviews with artists, think pieces on topics in the music world and more. I also am a Playlist Curator for my series #PlaylistsByPaul, which is on my Spotify. However, I also enjoy creating pieces that cover movies and TV Shows and I plan to expand on this even more in 2021. At this moment I write for three platforms including my own. On The Renaissance Project I do the weekly newsletter as well as think pieces and interviews – I’m also an editor. On BluCloudRadio, I cover music news and on my own personal website, I have a series called Paul’s Perspective where I review music by independent artists of all kinds. I also have a series on there where I review movies called What I Watched This Week. To get to this level, I’ve written for other platforms as well as covered things that were not in my main niches but I learned something from them all. In this field I’m always looking for new opportunities/applying to different places which has helped my amount of bylines increase as the years have gone by.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Whenever people come to the 757, I always recommend Jack Brown’s which is in Norfolk, Virgina or Roger Brown’s which is in Portsmouth, Virginia. Both these restaurants are literally right in the middle of the “downtown” area of their respective cities so the shopping, museums, and sights to see are all literally within walking distance. As far as straight up active activities both DEFY (it was called Cloud 9 last time I went) and Laser Quest are really fun and can give you a workout too. CineBistro is great too if you want your movie and food in one place and the selection/menu is about three times as big as the one at Cinema Cafe. I’m one of those people who really likes window shopping and talking with whoever I’m with so I’d also recommend the Norfolk Premium Outlets or Peninsula Town Center.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First of all, I have to thank God for giving me the talent of writing. Secondly, I have to thank my parents for ALWAYS supporting me in my writing endeavours and listening when I explain the many facets of it. Now I have to thank the three people who brought me on to their platform to write and gave me creative control over my pieces as well as being clear and concise with any pieces they assigned to me. First, there’s Terrionna Brockman who let me write on her platform called Black & Gifted Blog. This was the first large black owned platform I ever wrote on. Next, Amani Allen-Beale, who also let me write on her platform which was called Hous of Muse at the time and showed me I truly could write about topics/interview people that had no connection to music whatsoever. Lastly, Juwan J. Holmes who brought me on to his platform called The Renaissance Project while simultaneously giving me a “second in command” position there as well. However, before getting onto any of these I wrote guest posts on the personal blogs of both Kennadi Harris and Allahna Stevie. It’d also be remiss of me if I didn’t thank everyone who regularly, reads, reposts and gives feedback on my pieces.