Singer-songwriter Barsheem Bernard Fowler is an artist to keep an eye on. Also an arranger and producer, Barsheem’s sound is a fusion of Hip-Hop, Jazz, Pop, and R&B. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York and residing in Los Angeles, the smooth-voiced crooner embraces the power of storytelling and showmanship. Along with television and film credits on his resume (NBC’s “American Dreams” and the motion picture Dreamgirls as a member of the group Little Albert and The Tru Tones) Mr. Fowler is no stranger to making music, adding three CDs to these credits. Two albums Funktastic Party (2005) and Funktastics in the Sky (2007) included Barsheem as part of the duo The Funktastics, while the same year he wrote and arranged all 12 tracks of Fanny and Friends Vol. 1, a children’s album, showing undeniable versatility.
Barsheem’s latest project is “No One,” a maxi-single featuring the smooth title track of the same name (posted below) along with the head-bumpin “She Does It (Just for Me)”.
The quadruple-threat recently took the time out to do a Q&A with Singersroom:
Singersroom: The current maxi-single titled “No One” features two tracks: the main single “No One,” and “She Does It (Just for Me.)” What was the creative inspiration or songwriting/recording process behind these tunes?
Barsheem: I wanted to write something that was honest but also something that was a general feeling that everyone could relate to. In the past, I’ve done music that didn’t quite compliment my voice. With “No One”, the approach was to make my vocal be the main instrument. She Does It (Just for me), is actually the b side to “No One”. It was inspired by a J-Dilla instrumental that I stumbled upon. I’ve always wanted to work with him and this particular track moved me to create my own version of that song.
Singersroom: How do you describe your musical style?
Barsheem: The basis of my music is soul, but you will find traces of many genres such as, pop, jazz and hip hop throughout. My music is what I call modern classic; which is an artist like myself, of this generation, creating music that has a timeless quality. As a songwriter, my goal is to create songs heavy in melody and meaning.
Singersroom: Does anyone in particular inspire your artistic/musical talent?
Barsheem: I am inspired by a number of artists. I would say Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Mary J. Blige made a huge impact on my sound and style. With my debut album, people can expect songs to make you feel good and songs that just make sense. My main focus is on great songwriting and melodies that capture a specific moment or idea such as love, intimacy and relationships.
Singersroom: How would you describe your live performances?
Barsheem: My live performance is definitely an experience. I’m truly a crooner at heart but I enjoy myself while on stage. I dance. I sing. I talk to the audience. I believe in giving the people a performance that they can interact with and talk about until we meet again. I give the show that I would like to see.
Singersroom: Where can audiences see you perform? Any plans to tour?
Barsheem: I’m currently developing my new live show. I have plans to do promotional dates in New York and Los Angeles.
Singersroom: Who’s on your musical playlist right now?
Barsheem: Wow, good question. I mainly listen to Tony Bennett, Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday on a day to day basis. As far as new music, I’ve been into Esperanza Spaulding, Jessica Reedy, Emily King and Nikkiyah.
Singersroom: As an artist, is there anything special you hope to accomplish?
Barsheem: I really want to make better music for our children and future artists. In the last couple of years it’s been very difficult for me to latch on to anything that I consider to be great. Sure there’s a song here and there but artists like Alicia Keys prove to me that it is possible to make good music and still have commercial appeal.