Michael Barrow reached out to us here at Teton late in 2017 asking to perform on our now defunct YouTube channel. We set a date and met, officially, in March of 2018 and have been following his music career ever since. I’m thrilled to have him added to the *official* Teton Artist Roster. Not only is Michael one heck of a songwriter and writes some serious bops, he’s just an all around nice guy. Scope out the Q&A he did to learn more about what makes him tick. His complete bio is where you’ll find even more info and also follow along in his musical journey.
-Jenn (send questions or comments to email@example.com)
Favorite food, the thing you could eat every single day.
I could eat a Cheesy Gordita Crunch for every meal and be a happy man. Also, Golden Grahams.
When did you start playing guitar?
The first time I played guitar was in 2005. I was in the 8th grade and my family had to evacuate Houston because of a hurricane (I can’t remember if it was Katrina or Rita. 2005 was a fun year for hurricanes). We went to stay with some family in Oklahoma and two of my cousins taught my brother and me how to play some chords. I thought it was the coolest thing! I begged for a guitar for Christmas that year and the rest is history.
What was your first guitar?
Oof. I know it was a Jasmine by Takamine. Big dreadnought body. But I’d be lying if I told you I knew the exact model. I played that thing for 7 years!
How did you learn about Teton?
My roommate (and former guitarist) had a Teton and I was always jealous of how much better it sounded than anything I was playing. I borrowed his all the time until I finally got my own.
What’s your best advice for someone starting out with songwriting?
Embrace the fact that you are going to write some songs that are NO GOOD. That’s just the way it goes. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve written something down that I’ve been so excited about, only to revisit it the next day and realize it’s literally the worst thing ever created by a human. (Sometimes I’m dramatic). As you continue to write songs you not only become a better writer but you also develop a better sense of what is actually a “good” song. Personally, I’ve found that the longer I’ve been a songwriter, the fewer songs I’ve actually ended up finishing, but those I have finished, I’ve felt really good about most of them, even years later.
What venue do you see yourself playing in 5 years?
I just saw Theo Katzman at the Fonda in LA a couple of months ago. I would love to play there. It’s also my dream to play Red Rocks but it’s hard to say if that will be possible in 5 years! I feel like so much or so little can happen in that time.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead who would it be?
There’s a girl I really miss.
What would you ask them?
Where do you want to eat?
When you’re writing a new song, do you prefer to work with someone or alone?
Alone. I’m a horrible co-writer (which is something I really need to work on). I get very protective of my own ideas and I also get uncomfortable when I need to tell somebody I don’t like theirs. It’s a perfect storm.
What’s the first song you ever recorded?
The first song I recorded in a studio is called The List. It’s on my band’s first album, Juneau.
Where did the name of your band come from?
My band and I had “officially” gotten together and we decided we needed to name the project. We kicked around about a trillion “Michael Barrow and the ______” ideas before the predictive text on someone’s phone suggested “Tourists.” That was the first one that nobody hated. It also made sense because I’ve done a couple of summers in Alaska as a tour guide, so we went with that and it stuck.
Favorite place to travel to?
I FREAKING LOVE ALASKA., especially Juneau.
The Provo Utah music scene has just gotten crazy! How did you get introduced to other musicians there?
It is crazy! It’s an awesome community to be a part of. I think back on all of the incredible artists (now friends) that I’ve met here and it’s honestly really hard to pinpoint the exact origins of our relationship. Other artists start out like myths or legends, and then you meet them, and then you play shows with them, and then you’re buds, and it all just happens.
Will you continue to build your career in Utah?
Ah, don’t ask me about the future. It changes every day. I’d love to hit the road solo for a bit and build up some pockets of fans around the country. I’ve also been toying with the idea of moving to Nashville… Or the moon. *shrug*
They are threefold, and in no particular order: Mulan, Hot Rod and Pirates of the Caribbean
Hmm. How about my favorite author? I’m a big Brandon Sanderson fan. I know it’s nerdy (see next question), but he’s SO GOOD.
Would you consider yourself nerdy? Why or why not?
In some ways for sure! I’m big into fantasy novels, mostly audiobooks. I drive a lot. Also, I really geek out about grammar. I’ve always been fascinated by languages and words and how they can fit together to mean different things. (P.S… all of these answers have been very casual so please don’t judge my grammar. Any lapses are intentional. Probably.)
Can we tell people you’re single and that they’re missing out?
Not if I tell them first! … Go for it.
Craziest thing you’ve ever done on a dare?
I licked a stingray one time! All over it’s back. Very salty.