Who Is Nate Barnes? The Story Behind His Journey to Country Music

Who is Nate Barnes? The Quartz Hill Records newcomer, whose debut single “You Ain’t Pretty” is currently climbing the charts, joined us to chat about his journey to country music. Get to know the rising star here…

Nate Barnes, Quartz Hill Records

Nate Barnes, Photo Credit: Justin Mayotte

For our latest Swag Spotlight artist, it was a total “God moment,” as he says that landed him a career in country music. Nate Barnes is a talented new artist, who has a knack for story-telling and an incredible voice to match.

Despite growing up in South Haven, Michigan, home of power plants and blueberry farms, Barnes always had a desire to be a musician. “My heart was set on music since I was a little kid because of my grandad,” he begins to tell us, “He instilled this dream in me by telling his stories and talking about musicians […] I knew I wanted to be a storyteller. I knew I wanted to tell the truth. I knew I wanted to inspire people through music.”

Although Barnes knew he wanted to be a musician, he did not exactly know his path. As a child, he played drums in numerous bands, only discovering his voice when he reached his teenage years. Barnes shared that he played in all different types of bands, showcasing his wide variety of musical influences. I grew up with all sorts of music. I just had such an amazing family that loved all music,” he shared, adding later that country music was not the only genre in his household. “One of the main things we listened to was Motown, it was blues, just anything you could think of, I grew up listening to.” Barnes also shared a love for artists like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

The singer credits the deepening of his love for country music though, to his friend and mentor Dennis Hartman, who reintroduced him to country music at 21 years old. “He reintroduced country music in a way that I never heard before and I knew at that moment, I wanted to be a part of country music,” shared Barnes, “It spoke the truth in a way that I’ve been wanting. It felt like home, and I knew I had to be a part of it somehow.”

Continuing to gig whenever he could, Barnes settled into life in Michigan, working a full-time job unrelated to music. It was not until a trip to Tennessee that his life would flip on a dime. By happenstance, the singer met hit songwriter Jason Sellers, who after some introductions to people in Nashville convinced Barnes to take the risk and move out to Music City.

Flash forward to today, the entertainer is a bonafide artist. His debut single “You Ain’t Pretty” impacted country radio just a little over a month ago, as the most added debut song by an artist. Blowing up on radio and on social media, it is clear that Barnes is building a fanbase that will continue to support him. Calling the song, The right song at the right time that men needed to say and women needed to hear. That all people need to hear,” it is clear that Barnes has an ear for music.

The singer wrote the song with Jason Sellers and Jimmy Yeary. Crediting Yeary for the inspiration, it was the three of them that really took the song to the place it is now. Their goal was to create a song to remind people that they are wonderful just the way they are. “

“So after we got done writing it, it was just this thing, like this is such an amazing thing to say to people and to myself, I needed to hear it [too],” explained Barnes.

As “You Ain’t Pretty” continues to gain traction on the charts, fans can look forward to more new music coming from Barnes sometime this year. The singer is ready for this journey and looking forward to sharing his passion and talent with the world.

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Nate Barnes’ music is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.