Canadian country artist Owen Barney is one of the freshest voices to hit the country scene in the last little while. He has been captivating audiences, stealing hearts, and successfully carving out his place within the industry. All of this before the age of 20.
We had the chance to catch up with Owen this Summer at the Boots & Hearts Music Festival. We met up with him shortly after his fantastic set on the Front Porch stage. It’s been a crazy year for Barney. His debut single “Letting Go” has received well over a million streams on Spotify, and performed at one of Canada’s biggest music festivals.
We talked to him about this single and why he believes “Letting Go” resonates so well with audiences across the country: “To me, I was in high school when I wrote this song and I showed it to friends and they all loved it,” he says. “I feel like anyone who has been in a relationship, or anyone who has had their heart broke would understand the song. I know everyone can relate to that on some level.”
Clearly, audiences do understand it. During his set at Boots & Hearts, you could hear the audience singing the catchy chorus back to him. The impact this had on Owen Barney was noticeable. He stopped singing and watched the crowd sing the chorus. What was first a look of shock, quickly turned into an infectious smile.
“I stopped singing and there they were singing back to me without missing a word. It was amazing. It felt unreal actually,” he says when describing this moment. “Before [the songs are] released, I’m the only one who knows them. Like, these are my songs, I sing these all the time. But then you come here and see that everyone cares and everyone showed up just to see you and because they love your songs – there’s nothing better than that.”
Before walking on stage at Boots & Hearts, Owen noted that he felt nothing but nerves in the seconds before walking out on the stage. But as soon as the music started, it all went away.
About Owen Barney
At only 18 years old, Owen Barney is from Toronto Ontario. While Toronto isn’t exactly known for country music, he has been immersed in the genre for about as long as he can remember. He has been playing the guitar since he was 7 years old, and began playing shows sine the age of 14. It’s what he loves to do. “All my friends are in university and here I am singing songs.” When we talked about school, he joked about it: “I’m like no thanks, I don’t do studying I’m afraid,” he said while laughing.
His love for country music runs deep. It’s clear when he is performing that the genre comes natural to him. He grew up listening to country music. His grandfather influenced his love for classic country artists such as Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. Where his mother was his source for new country artists such as Tim McGraw. You can hear both influences when he performs on stage.
This young artist has a voice and talent that is beyond his years. He has a depth to his voice that many artists work at achieving for a long time – it seems to come natural to Owen.
In August of 2019, Owen Barney released an EP titled Diamonds & Dust. It features 4 songs that showcase his unmistakable talent. His single “Sounds of Home” is definitely one of the highlights on the EP.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for this young Canadian country artist.