This week On The Avenue, I’ll be introducing you to another member of our team. Ray Barnette is a talented musician, producer and all around teddy bear who has been a part of Westwood since almost inception. While continuing his lifelong career as a freelance musician, Ray has been lending his creative and strategic eye to our team, acting as a creative producer and EXTREMELY talented sound technician.
I met Ray on my first day working for Westwood. My first impression was that he was level headed, smart and very funny (but please no one tell him I said he was funny). His years of experience make him a good coworker, and his kindness and wit make him a great friend.
I sat down with him this week to ask a few questions.
How long have you lived in Nashville?
“I’m originally from Jackson Tennessee and then my wife and I moved to Nashville in 1992. I had met Tom when we went to school together at Lambuth College in Jackson. Tom was native to Nashville and already in the jingle business. I was sending demos around and bugging people on the phone, and after about third time bugging Tom, because he selling jingles and sometimes hiring musicians at the time, he said, ‘Dude, come down here right now.’ We started working together and have continued working together pretty much ever since. So all in all, I’ve been living and working in Nashville for about 25 years.”
What is it that you like about your specialty?
“My specialty is coaching singers and musicians. I produce music and also other creative things, but mostly music. In particular, I like to work with vocalists because when I can help somebody get to the point where they’re being the best performer they can be then their confidence grows and you can start to see the real person to come through. There’s a therapeutic aspect to it that I like. I like helping someone get to the point where they are truly able to be who they are without holding back, because that’s when people are at their best.
Here at Westwood, I also act in a producing role and I feel the same way. When I’m working with Tom on a voiceover or maybe with a videographer I get to help them see through a problem. I try to help everyone get to the core of what each product is, and stay on point. The dreaming part is great and I love being a part of it, but at the end of the day you have to produce something, and I help make sure that happens. ”
Give me one fun fact.
“A fun fact about me… I was an excellent athlete and very thin at one point in my life. I played football and baseball. I mean was like a whole person skinnier. Everyone thought I was going to play college football, and I thought about it, but I wanted to be a musician. I got recruited by a couple of smaller colleges, but I didn’t want to play sports that bad. Plus it hurts.
Now I just watch football constantly. My wife knows during the Fall that it’s Saturday college, Sunday pro, Monday pro, and most Thursdays as well… She reads a lot. ”
What is something that you would rate 10/10?
“Maybe Billie Holiday… Maybe the Rolling Stones too… Oh and Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback.”
What was your high school superlative?
“I don’t guess I had a superlative… I did have a nickname though. People called me Billie Green Shoes because I was really fast and a good quarterback. There was a guy in the pros named Billie White Shoes Johnson who was like excellent.”
*So the real take away from all of this is that Ray lives a double life as a jock*