Bekah Barnett is an operatically trained singer-songwriter who has been captivating audiences for years with her emotionally engaging songs, poetic lyrics, soaring melodies, and catchy piano riffs. A refreshing blend of Jazz, Folk, Pop, and Spiritual music, Bekah Barnett’s piano-driven tunes and soulful voice have been compared to Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple, Natalie Merchant, Adele, and Joni Mitchell. Her sophomore full-length album RISE was recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California with local producer and master pianist Julie Wolf.
Bekah was raised in Santa Cruz, CA, with the nearby ocean a constant companion and source of inspiration. Both of her parents had a musical side, and growing up Bekah was inspired by songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Carole King, Carly Simon, and James Taylor, always dreaming of one day writing songs of her own. She moved to Oakland to attend Mills College, and while she had planned to major in English, it wasn’t long before she was lured into the Music Department, where she studied classical and operatic voice. She even ended up spending her junior year singing at a conservatory outside of Florence, Italy.
In the years since Bekah Barnett has been making her presence known. Her song What I Know of the Light is featured in the documentary Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption by 108 productions. She was honored to sing her disarmingly sweet original love song, Butter Your Toast, at Oakland City Hall to commemorate the first gay marriages in Oakland following the repeal of Prop 8. Her well-received debut album, Find Shelter Here, was released in 2012.
After years of playing and singing regularly in the Bay Area, Bekah auditioned for America’s Got Talent in February of 2014 at the persistent requests of her 92-year-old grandmother. The long audition process consisted of waiting around for over seven hours to play for 90 seconds, and although the experience was ultimately disappointing, she did get a good song out of it. Fame & Fortune is a gem of a track from RISE that stands out with its driving industrial loop and triumphant and honest lyrics. It is a commentary on the reality TV fame machine, and the carelessly regarded dreams of the countless individuals involved.
Bekah has always had a deep connection with music. She writes songs like journal entries, natural byproducts of her life that help her to express her emotions in a way that she finds incredible and deeply healing. “I honestly don’t know where I would be without music in my life. I’m addicted,” she says. “Music is such a unique art form because it can connect people of all different backgrounds from all different walks of life and make it so that they are united in the same moment, in the same room, listening to the same song. It can reframe ideas that are often controversial so that a message that might be difficult to convey in a conversation is effectively communicated through a song.”
Bekah Barnett recorded her newest album RISE with producer Julie Wolf. A resident producer at Fantasy Studios, Julie was able to tap musicians for the album who have played with some of Bekah’s idols such as Ani DiFranco, Natalie Merchant, Carly Simon, and The Indigo Girls. Recording at Fantasy Studios with these accomplished musicians was beyond Bekah’s wildest dreams, and it was an incredible experience that encouraged her to grow and develop in major ways. The album that resulted from all of this amazing collaboration has greatly exceeded expectations and the results show with this finely crafted collection of wonderful songs that has inspired many positive reviews.