Singer-songwriter Kelly Barber is a one woman rock band when it comes to her music project Wave Break which is pretty impressive for someone as busy as her, being a digital marketer by day, she doesn’t let anything stop her from chasing her music dreams. When she’s not busy putting all her time and energy into these things, you can find her binging Netflix or playing Pokémon games on Nintendo Switch.
We are thrilled to be able to feature this incredible artist on For The Punks for Women’s History Month – check out the interview with Kelly below.
At what age did your interest in music start and what kickstarted the interest and turned it into something that you were really passionate about?
I was about 9 years old when I really started to get into music. Not only was this around the time that Avril Lavigne was huge and became my first major influence, this was also when I found out that my mom used to play a little bit of guitar when she was a teenager and I found her old guitar in the basement. Between those two things, I decided I wanted to sing, play guitar and write songs.
When creating new music, who are some of the women that really inspire you?
Like I mentioned, Avril Lavigne was my first major influence. She really resonated with me when I was younger because I also grew up a tomboy and I loved seeing that there was someone similar to me making music. I saw some of myself in her and it made me feel like I could be a musician as well. She still inspires me to this day, especially now that she’s returning to pop punk music.
I also love so many other women. Hayley Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Chrissy Costanza, Jenna McDougall, Lynn Gunn, Courtney LaPlante, Kalie Wolfe, Diamante, Bonnie Fraser, Edith Victoria… The list goes on and on and on and I’m definitely forgetting so many right now. Some of these heavier influences especially have been helping influence me to write heavier stuff than I used to as well.
Can you tell us about your band Wave Break, how you came up with the name, and what it means to you.
Wave Break is my alternative rock project. We initially formed in 2017 and have gone through several lineup changes since our debut EP came out in 2018. Because of the rocky start as well as the pandemic, I decided to release our sophomore EP by myself. That one came out this past November!
When we were first forming, coming up with a name was incredibly difficult because pretty much everything we could think of was already taken. We eventually landed on Wave Break, and I liked it because to me it meant overcoming adversity. That is a big part of who I am and what I write about, so I thought it fit. So we went with it!
You have recently released an EP titled “Puzzle Pieces” back in November, what was the inspiration behind it, and also what’s your favourite song from it?
The EP was written about various things that have gone wrong in my life since Wave Break’s formation. Breakups, stalkers, toxic jobs, losing friendships, being overwhelmed with life, depression… It’s a much heavier record in theme than our debut EP and I wanted to make sure the music encapsulated that. So the record as a whole is much more melodic and has heavier production.
My favorite song from the EP is “Stop the Car.” The feel of this song is so energetic and fun but it also is very deep because it’s talking about depression when everything in life is going wrong and you want it all to stop. It basically summarizes the topics on the EP which is part of the reason it is the opening track.
Watch the music video for “Stop The Car” here:
Talk us through your creative process when it comes to creating music.
Most of the time lately my songs have been starting with me writing some lyrics and then writing some music to go with them. Sometimes, though, it’s the other way around. But I’ll write one or the other and piece them together with lyrics, melody, and rhythm guitar parts so that I have the ‘skeleton’ of the song ready. For the new EP I then demoed all the songs out with the help of my producer, with the drums, lead guitar and bass parts. Then after that we went into the studio to record it all for real.
If you could collaborate with any female artist, who would it be and why?
I’d really love to collaborate with any one of the female artists I mentioned before, and so many more, but if I had to choose one right now, then it would probably have to be Chrissy Costanza. I love what Against the Current is doing right now. Their new edgier rock music is such a cool sound and I think it would mesh really well with Wave Break. I think Chrissy would be so fun to sing with too. Her voice is so incredibly powerful.
What advice do you have for women who want to start writing music?
Write what you feel and do it unapologetically. Music should be honest, so write whatever you want to write. Don’t let anyone else’s opinions influence what you truly want to do. If you’re not happy, then it’s not serving you and your art should be for yourself first and foremost. When you are truly happy with what you are creating, that’s when your best work will come out.