In the Guinness Book of Records there’s no listing for a professional singer holding a note for the longest time, but Australia’s David Barry must certainly be an eligible contender for this intriguing challenge.
The barrel-chested entertainer with a remarkable five-octave range can hold a note for so long that audiences gasp in disbelief. With his amazing lung-power its not surprising that David Barry, 37, has one of the most powerful voices in not only Australian show business, but also in the UK entertainment field where he has won the coveted Entertainer of the Year Award (for club acts) two years in a row in 1997 and 1998. British audiences are amazed by his unique ability to sing everything from deep-voiced Johnny Cash songs to the high falsetto of the Bee Gees.
Interestingly, Barry is much better know in the UK than here in his own country.
“Well it’s not at all surprising, really,” he explains, “because I spend about six months of the year working overseas, especially in the UK and when I’m over there I usually get quite a lot of exposure on British TV variety shows.
“Unfortunately, television variety has been almost non-existent in Australia for the last few years and this means that it’s extremely difficult for up and coming Australian performers to make a national name for themselves.”
However, in spite of his lack of local TV exposure David Barry is rapidly becoming on of this country’s most in-demand entertainers for clubs and upmarket corporate functions. Such is his growing popularity; he was honoured last year with an invitation to perform at the traditional AFL Grand Final breakfast at the MCG.
Barry, who grew up on Queensland’s Gold Coast, comes from a singing family (his father and two uncles once formed a harmony trio), but didn’t start on a show business career himself until he was in his mid 20’s. And then it wasn’t just as a singer – he had an unusual act that combined singing, magic and even Houdini-style escape artist tricks.
He’d start his act singing a few songs and then perform a variety of mind boggling magic illusions as well as escaping from tightly secured ropes and chains all around his body. But Barry’s wife Sandra, a highly experienced sound technician, was convinced that the magic part of his act was a distraction from his real talent as a singer and she eventually persuaded him to give up the magic and escape tricks altogether.
“David’s always had this fabulous voice,” she says with understandable pride, “but for some odd reason he just didn’t believe that his voice sounded any different from a dozen other singers. He thought there were plenty of singers around who also had his five-octave range. “I kept begging him to give up the magic and just get out there and sing. It took me a year, but eventually I wore him down.”
It was in 1993 that he bit the bullet and decided to go it alone as a singer and shortly afterwards he was virtually discovered by another multi-talented performer, Frankie Davidson, who had a No.1 hit record in the 1960’s with “Have You Ever Been To See Kings Cross?” Davidson happened to visit a club in Sydney with friends one night in the mid 1990’s and when he was passing by the concert area he stopped in his tracks when he heard David Barry’s amazing vocal range.
Looking back on that memorable night, Davidson recalls:” “It’s not often you hear a voice that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. “That’s the way it was when I first heard David. I walked into the auditorium to see where this magnificent voice was coming from and there was this truly dynamic performer up there on stage. I couldn’t believe that I’d never heard of him before, but I knew there and then that one day he’d become one of our biggest singing stars.”
David Barry is well on the way to living up to Frankie Davidson’s lofty prediction. He has gone from strength to strength in recent years, working with The Little River Band, releasing his first album “Just The Beginning” a few years ago, and his second album “Believe Me” last year.
This incredibly dynamic performer thrills audiences with his boundless energy and amazing versatility. When he’s not rendering emotional ballads he’s darting from one side of the stage to the other or even jumping into the audience. He’s been compared to not one but several big stars and it’s as if he has 14 different performers inside him bursting to emerge in a single sensational performer.
David Barry has performed in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New Zealand, and the Philippines and all over the United Kingdom.
When: June 27, 2019
Where: Live & Free on Main Stage