Stacy Barthe: Set Free
interview by: iman n. milner
Stacy Barthe has been making her way through the industry like a quiet storm since she left the comfort of St. John’s University for the life of a songwriter in Atlanta, GA. After a string of hit records, disappointments and wake up calls, Stacy finally let the world in to what everyone around her had known forever: she was more than just a girl behind a pen. She unleashed her voice on an EP entitled Sincerely Yours last year and the feedback was unanimous, Stacy Barthe had made her way into the hearts of any and everyone looking for a dose of real music, passion and storytelling. We sat down with the Jane of all trades to discuss her life, dreams and plans for taking over the world.
Edge: Who is Stacy Barthe?
Stacy: I have a profound understanding of myself so that always helps to make an individual, an individual. I’m a person who is really passionate about the right things whether it’s music or just getting better in life. I’m always looking to reach for the next level whether it be of success or happiness. I’m a cancer—super sensitive, emotional.
Edge: What has been your journey to this moment in your life?
Stacy: I’m here by way of a mother of Haitian descent. I was born in Brooklyn but my mother sent me back to Haiti so that she could get herself together. My father was never in the picture. When I came back we were living in Queens and then in Long Island. All my life I’ve wanted to do music. I remember my first recollection of it was in 1991. I saw Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman” video. Ever since that moment everything in my life has been leading up to this point. In high school I of course tried to put together groups and I would call 411 and get record label numbers—the whole nine. In college, my first internship was with Geffen Records. I worked in the video promotions department. In 2005, I started interning with Jive Records at simultaneously I was going to school at St. John’s. While interning, I met Hitboy (producer of the #1 hip hop record Niggas In Paris), our rapport was built by him sending me tracks and me recording over them and sending them back to him, I thought his tracks were unlike anything else I was hearing from young producers. In 2006 he got signed to Polo Da Don and moved to Atlanta, soon after he invited me to come out and write full time.
Edge: So you left school?
Stacy: (laughs) Yep. My mom called and asked me was I coming back. I told her “to come and get my things”.
Edge: So eventually songwriting took off for you there.
Stacy: You know, for me the songwriting thing was just a means to an end. I never wanted to be a hit songwriter, that kind of just fell in to my lap. When I was working with Hitboy, I met the woman who would sign me to my first publishing deal. There were a lot of offers on the table but inevitably I ended up signing to Universal at the behest of Ethopia (put in last name). I moved to LA soon after because I was working so much with Puff (Sean Combs) on what would become Dirty Money’s album. I did years of songwriting for Britney Spears, Kelly Rowland and then came Katy Perry’s “Hummingbird Heartbeat” and my biggest hit to date Rihanna’s “Cheers (Drink to That)”.
Edge: In all of this when did you have time to create your own project?
Stacy: A lot of the music that I was creating; however, I just wasn’t feeling. So, Sincerely Yours came somewhat out of angst and wanting to do something better. I didn’t even know Sincerely Yours was going to be mine because I was trying to stop the songs to other artists. I didn’t understand why no one wanted to buy them. People were saying that the songs were too dark or too slow, especially since everyone is looking for an uptempo dance record but I was popped out. I wanted to make the kind of music that I would actually buy and listen to. So, Sincerely Yours was finished August 30th. Hitboy put it on ItsTheSurfClub.com and everybody just gravitated to it. Fast forward to right now and I am about to ink a deal with Motown under John Legend’s label. The same woman who signed me to my publishing deal is orchestrating my deal as an artist.
Edge: What’s been the hardest lesson to learn in this industry?
Stacy: When it came to songwriting there was a time when I didn’t want to do it anymore because I wasn’t making any money, I wasn’t happy with the music that I was making and times were really, really hard. If you’re a songwriter who is unrecouped on your publishing deal you have to wait 18 months before you can see any money. It got to a point where it was just like I’d rather do it for me, if I’m going to do it for free. I’m not showing up to write for free to hope that you like my song and then hope it makes the album and then pray that you’re album even comes out and then cross my fingers to see if my song will be a single. The lesson was just “I’m about to do me”.
Edge: What’s your favorite rule to break?
Stacy: People are always going to try to tell you what steps to take. I had someone try to tell me that I was never going to be able to put out my own music as an artist unless I had a hit single on someone. The fact is people are going to gravitate to your music because of you. No one cares that you’ve written hits. My song peeked at no.7 on the charts but that didn’t change anything for me. It was like ‘ok, I’m in the top 10 now’ but what does that mean for me? Do I get a car? A house? Nothing happned. The trule that I broke is the mold. You don’t have to do this in order to do that. I say bump that, do what you feel.
Edge: Finish this statement- I write the best when…
Stacy: I really write whatever I’m feeling. When I’m happy, it’s all happy. I guess a lot of my most heart wrenching songs came out of my most volatile times in life. Whenever I’m feeling anything. My music is autobiographical so whatever I’m going through is what I’m going to write.
Stacy: When I’m on stage. I really love to perform. My first time performing in 5 years what on july 10th at Bardeaux and I just felt really comfortable, I was at home. I’d forgot how good it felt.
Edge: What’s something that most people would be surprised to know about you?
Stacy: I cry a lot. I really love to cook. I’m just as passionate about cooking as I am about music. My friend and I want to open a restaurant together called Voodoo Stew that will be all Caribbean cuisine. I’m also a Nazi about my vocals, I will cry about my vocals not being perfect. I’m consistent.
Edge: What do you want your legacy to be?
Stacy: I’m praying that my music will touch every apartment, house, hut, Amazon. I want to spread a blanket around the world. Music only about 1/16 of what I want to accomplish. I want to get into philanthropy. Obesity is a battle I want to fight because I am currently in the process of living a healthier life myself. I want to help children. And I definitely want to help young girls and women feel good about themselves because at 26, I’m just now getting to that inner happy.
Photos by: Milan Carter
Makeup Artist: Rebekah Aladdin
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