CLARKS SUMMIT — When singer/songwriter James Barrett, 18, of Clarks Summit, set up his first full length album to release at midnight, Tuesday, March 1 on major music sites such as iTunes, Spotify and Google Play, he expected some feedback from family members and close friends.
What he didn’t expect was the overwhelming response he received over the next week from countless classmates, teachers and even people he never met.
Within that first week, he said he sold almost 70 physical copies of the CD, not including the digital purchases and plays on streaming websites.
“It really blew my mind,” said the Abington Heights High School senior.
And the feedback confirmed the realization of some of his goals for his music.
“They said it was ‘very relatable’ and ‘very easy to listen to,’ which is what I really wanted,” Barrett said. “Any CD I grew up really liking in my life, it was because it was so relatable and easy to listen to and it just affected you in some way. And that’s what I always wanted. I wanted to release something that can make people feel something – whether it’s happy or sad or anything – just to write something that affects somebody else. And to have people tell me that all this past week, was awesome.”
He classifies his music style as acoustic/alternative. Lyrically, he said the songs are about the past three years of his life.
“Not that it’s anything hardcore,” he explained. “Just growing up around here, the people I meet, going to school here.”
A CD release show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, March 19 at Adezzo coffee house, 515 Center St., Scranton. Admission is free and the concert is open to all ages. Also on the lineup are Better Days, of Wilkes-Barre; Ed Cuozzo, of Scranton and Wishing Well, of Wilkes-Barre.
“They’re good friends of mine and really great musicians,” Barrett said of these acts.
The rising musician is a son of Jim and Minerva Barrett, with three older siblings: Erin, Jen and Tyler. He is also part of the local band Emberá, for which his brother Tyler is the drummer.
He said he began writing his own songs around age 12, although he “wasn’t very good at it” back then. He always wanted to record his own music, and practiced on a cheap tape recorder at home. Many of the eight songs featured on the new album, which is titled “One More,” are pieces he has been working on since his sophomore year of high school.
He began recording in October at The Stude in Scranton with Angelo Maruzzelli and Jimmy Reynolds, finishing at the end of January. The cover artwork was designed by 2013 Abington Heights High School graduate Alicia Kohut. All songs on the album were written by Barrett, with the exception of the title track, which he co-wrote with a friend and former band mate, Terry Hurst Jr. Another friend, Emma Karchner, of Bloomsburg, was also featured on the song “The Window Part II.”
Barrett said he is thankful for everyone who helped with the album and supported him in this venture, especially his family.
“A lot of times people don’t have such a supportive family, when it comes to music and spending large amounts of money – my own money – on it,” he said. “And they were completely supportive the entire time. Pretty much everyone – my friends and family – were incredibly supportive of it.”