At age seven, most of us were focused on learning how to read, write, and make new friends. RJ Barnett was also doing all of those things, but even more: he was also learning his first instrument and writing his own music.
Barnett is a junior at ENC, double majoring in Music Performance and Communication Arts. He is actively involved on campus in the A Cappella Choir, Gospel Choir, and chapel teams. Additionally, Barnett will be part of a Summer Ministry team for his third year, where he and a group of other ENC students will be leading worship at camps all over the Eastern region.
But all of that isn’t really news to anyone. Most people recognize him as being in these roles; however, his passion and talents for music go far beyond ENC’s musical groups.
Barnett also plays multiple instruments, sings, writes, and records his own music. He plays acoustic, electric, and bass guitar, drums, mandolin, and a little bit of ukulele, with dreams of one day playing the double bass.
In the fall of 2013, Barnett began his own acoustic project, titled Orakuru, and even released his first EP, “Hajimaru,” on May 29, 2014.
Last summer he released the EP on Band Camp, where it can be downloaded and listened to for free.
The EP has four songs, including “Hajimaru,” “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out,” “Zayza,” and “The Birth of Hope” (in respective order).
“The first song [on the album] is inspired just by my friendships and all of us in our walks with God,” Barnett commented.
The second song, he said, also relates to experiences with friends.
The third song was inspired by a character from one of his writing projects, and the fourth was originally a project for ENC’s gen ed class, Bible in Current Perspective.
Barnett not only writes music, but also writes fiction. He has one writing project which is written in the format of episodes, similar to an anime. He also has a series of novels that has been in the works since he was in the fifth grade.
“I’ve been developing it, and there’s like a 130-page Word document of notes, and other documents just getting ready to write it,” he said.
He describes the series as science fiction and action. Barnett decided that he would take his four years at college to further plan and develop it, and then start writing it once he graduates. He plans to one day publish this series.
Although Barnett has already made many accomplishments with his music and writing, he does not plan on stopping. He will soon be recording for Orakuru again, this time a full length album. He hopes the recording process will begin this May, and songs will be released in the summer.
What keeps him so motivated to create? Barnett notes that the ultimate inspiration behind all of his musical and literary creations is God.
“I love God, and everything I do comes from that,” Barnett concluded.