New Orleans has long been known as a city blessed with an abundance of culture, art, music, and, most recently, a fast-growing entrepreneurial community.
With the talent and resources in the region, it is not surprising to see the emergence of the artistpreneurs — a new breed of self-starters who leverage their talent and entrepreneurial spirit to create opportunities for themselves. A case in point: jazz singer Robin Barnes.
With a father who plays bass and brothers who play trumpet and drums, Robin had musical genes written in her DNA. Growing up, she cultivated her talent through what began as a means to bond with her family, and now uses the skill to pursue a dream and build a career.
After completing her Masters in Business Administration from The University of New Orleans, Robin, like many recent graduates, was faced with having to compete for jobs with classmates as well as other candidates in the market, who sometimes had up to 20 or more years of work experience. The competitive market motivated the aspiring singer to decide to develop a brand image that could ultimately be cultivated into a business.
“The recession was bittersweet because it forced me to reevaluate,” said Robin, 24. “I had the opportunity to think about my passion, what makes me happy, and how I could turn my dream into a career.”
With the idea of turning herself into a business, the entrepreneur created Robin Barnes, LLC. As a major aspect of her business plan, she wanted to go beyond merely booking gigs for herself, and, rather, use her musical talent to build a brand that would eventually lead to other business endeavors outside the music industry.
Robin has found many resources within the New Orleans community, from the support and advice offered by both local musicians and business owners to the classic jazz and blues sounds that inspire her music. Much of that influence is represented in her unique style of music, which combines classic beats with modern twists, best reflected in her soulful cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless.”
Her goal is to ultimately contribute to the economic success and building of New Orleans, by focusing not only on the quality of her music, but also her business. Robin adds, “My plan is not to ‘rebuild’ New Orleans. It is to add quality and continue to build on the history of the city.”
Adriana Lopez writes about the entrepreneurial community for NolaVie and Silicon Bayou News. She also showcases local start-ups like the one profiled here through her non-profit organization GenNOLA. For more information on NolaVie, visit NolaVie.com.