From a young age, Nikhil Barnes ’21 was a poet who often listened to rap music. As he came to realize the close relationship between rhyming with the two artistic mediums, Barnes began experimenting further with rap and lyrical writing. Around six years ago, Barnes transitioned away from rap to a newfound passion: music production.
Barnes’ parents exposed him to the musical world early, encouraging him to play many instruments throughout his childhood. He began with the violin, then started the bass, and finally the piano. As time passed, his interest piqued with piano, which he continues to play to this day. Barnes says, “It started with writing poetry when I was little, and playing instruments as well.”
Barnes has also engaged with the art of producing, reaching deep within various platforms of software to further the quality of his music. Barnes began producing most of his music on GarageBand. He continued to discover digital performers like Ableton Live. Barnes most recently labels himself as a “producer, and lyrical writer.”
When Barnes first came to Deerfield, he took some time to practice his musical skills in chorus. Barnes recalled having only been lightly exposed to producing at this time, as he had never recorded or made any music of his own.
As he began sophomore year, Barnes took classes with Visual and Performing Arts Teacher John Van Eps. This opened a world of possibilities for Barnes as music producer, since he could work in a studio with state-of-the-art equipment.
Barnes attributes his musical inspiration to his parents and classmates. He credits Christina Li ’20 to be one particularly influential artist for him. Barnes said, “Just learning from them, and seeing what they did, sort of helped me know what I was supposed to do.”
Barnes currently has one released song, “Kodak Moment”, which is streaming on SoundCloud. He continues to write music, with many drafts waiting to be finished. He says he “only releases songs when he is ‘sick of looking at them.’” But in other cases, Barnes finds it difficult to follow through with releasing songs, fearing what the public eye might think.
Barnes hopes to begin a multimedia collective in the future and to keep music in his life forever. He is waiting until college to carry on with this plan, but is optimistic about continuing to pursue music. Check out Barnes’ song on Soundcloud, “Kodak Moment” by ÈMIR, and be sure to follow him for up and coming music.