Robin Barnes


Robin Barnes believes in chasing her dreams.

What does that entail? Waking at 5 a.m. daily, gigging until the early morning and working devotedly to perfect her music.

After six years as a full-time performer and a successful solo release, 2016’s “Songbird Sessions," Barnes finally feels comfortable in the New Orleans music scene.

“Now that I know I have people behind me, I just want to make them proud,” Barnes said. “I feel like the sky is the limit. Like my mom always said, ‘Shoot for the stars and land on the moon.’ ”

The jazz singer-songwriter and a full band will perform Thursday at the Hartley/Vey Theatres. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, plus fees. Noah Young, of New Orleans band Naughty Professor, opens the evening with songs from his new solo record.

While Barnes was raised in New Orleans in a musical family, as a young adult, she worked at a nonprofit after finishing business school. When she dropped everything to pursue music professionally, she was starting from scratch.

“I had to be creative. I utilized social media and focused on trying to have fans, brand myself, show what I was singing, what my vibe was,” Barnes said. “Slowly but surely, I gained fans, and fans are your voices.”

Barnes’ cheerful yet sultry performances began to make an impression on audiences. She counts Irma Thomas and Ella Fitzgerald among her vocal influences, but when it comes to stage presence, she looks to the likes of James Brown and Tina Turner for inspiration.

“I believe music is movement; even to the slowest song, people need to be swaying. Maybe I learned that in church,” she said with a laugh.

By now, Barnes has performed at nearly every venue in New Orleans. That is the greatest education a young performer can have, she said.

“New Orleans is the most musical city in the world. It’s the stomping grounds for becoming a good entertainer,” Barnes said. “New Orleanians have a palate for good music, so your music has to be outstanding. But with tourists there too, you always have a different audience, so you have to be versatile.”

Robin Barnes with special guests the Noah Young Band 

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2 

Where: Hartley/Vey Theatres, 100 Lafayette St., Baton Rouge 

Cost: $20, plus fees