Student Releases Gospel Album
Ashley Barnard, a senior finance major, has entered the music scene with her first gospel album “I’m Real.” The album incorporates smooth jazz and contemporary gospel.
This album “has something for everyone,” commented Barnard. “I really think the CD relates to my peers because I talk about everyday real-life issues.”
The album also includes up and coming gospel artists Sherri, Azreal and Shelita. Barnard’s album is not the only place where her melodious music is heard. She was also the headliner for the Oak Leaf Festival in Windfall, N.C. The festival, which was held on Oct. 6, featured gospel singers Joann Rosario and Michael Smith in addition to Barnard.
“They were both really nice, especially Joann. I enjoyed it,” she said.
The opportunity to headline for the festival came by way of the Virginia Beach radio station Rejoice 100.9.
“I guest hosted for a show and so they knew me. When the opportunity came they called.” This connection also led to Barnard’s position as co-host of “Rejoice Morning” a gospel radio show that airs from 7-9 a.m. every Tuesday morning on Rejoice 100.9. “The first time I heard my song on the radio I was in the studio,” recalled Barnard.
But Barnard’s singing started long before her hosting days. At the age of five she began singing for a family audience and at 11 she started taking professional voice lessons. She continued on to be a student at the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Va. There she extended her professional training and began to study Broadway theatre. During this time she also sang at her local church, which is where she was approached about making her album. Barnard met her greatest influences there: Chris Booker, her producer, and her pastor and executive producer, Kim Brown.
“They’ve helped me musically as well as mentally,” stated Barnard. When asked about her plans for next year, the Chesapeake native responded, “Whatever opportunity presents itself, that’s what I’ll be doing. I would love to do a jazz CD and use my major to work in the entertainment industry,” she remarked. With her first CD under her belt and her music career taking off one can only expect great things.
-Jestina K. Adediji