Carina Barrios showcases her many talents
Carina Barrios is a 25-year-old all-around entertainer, a singer/songwriter, dancer, actress and model. While she is an independent artist as a singer, she is signed to a few modeling agencies based out of New York as she currently resides in Elizabeth, N.J., which is a half-hour drive to New York City.
Growing up in Mullica Township, Barrios started out performing in school plays, playing the owl in Oliver Twist in kindergarten and then eventually acted in high school plays and talent shows every single year. Barrios sings R&B and pop music and considers both Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber as her musical influences.
“I perform at my shows, I have people hit me up to perform at different events and honestly, one of my favorite things is performing in front of a live audience and feeling the vibe from everyone and seeing everyone’s reaction,” Barrios said.
In addition to singing, Barrios is also a dancer, taking dance classes and performing in high school dance shows, which helped refine her performances.
“When I do perform, I love to incorporate dancing. I have my backup dancers with me at all times and we do choreography while I perform my songs, so it’s important for me to be very professional but also entertaining. I want to leave a memory with these people if they can’t remember the song, at least they can remember my face and think ‘she had a good song or she performed well. I like her energy.’ I’m just trying my best to be memorable and spread a good message along with that,” she said.
Having appeared at various places and venues, ranging from Atlantic City to Yonkers, N.Y., Barrios felt it was important to stay connected to where she’s from as she has close family and friends that still live in Hammonton and Mullica Township.
“It’s important that, one day when I do blow up and become successful, I want my peers that I grew up with to know that I’m going to do whatever I can to support my hometown and the people that I love and where I’m from and that includes Hammonton,” she said.
While she doesn’t work another job as she is focused more on her music career, she worked four jobs at once in her life as she described, which included the The Golden Feather, Starrz Auto and Applebee's. Her music career, as well as the feeling of unhappiness and not wanting to be at those jobs, were motivating factors as to why she didn’t keep those jobs.
“Time is money and I’ve learned that I’m going to no longer sacrifice my time to make money. Sometimes, that is what you have to do but it depends on what it is that you’re doing,” she said.
But she did have the support from her former boss at Starrz Auto, Ben Starr, with whom she still stays connected to and someone Barrios still fondly remembers.
“I started getting booked at that time, I just kind of started getting into modeling and I was saying ‘I might have a booking this day, is it possible to get off?’ and eventually, he let me go because I was asking for too many days off but it was in the sweetest way and he was like ‘I think that you should really pursue this, now you have the time,’” she recalled.
Interestingly enough, Barrios has never been vocally trained but on her own time, she tries to educate herself and do vocal lessons from YouTube videos. She had the experience to perform at a professional recording studio at 14 or 15 years old, touring the Tri-State area with former social media app Vine stars Nash Grier, Cameron Dallas and Jack Johnson’s Magcon Tour after nailing opening auditions. That experience led to her recording her first-ever cover Lips Are Movin, which is still on her YouTube channel. Barrios noticed the growth in her singing voice from that cover to now.
“I was watching it and I was cringing because I looked and sounded crazy. Compared to now and I even said to myself ‘wow, I never got vocal lessons’ but just from practicing, singing consistently and doing my best to become the best artist I can, it’s crazy how much my vocal range has grown,” she said.
Vocal lessons are something that Barrios still would like to take but hasn’t had the opportunity come to her yet.
“Not saying that I don’t need it because obviously it’ll improve my voice but I’ve been doing okay,” she laughed.
The original version of her first official single, Nervous, is described as poppy, upbeat and something that you’d hear at a club. The acoustic version was recorded at Tribl Studio that is located above Mazza’s Antique Marketplace with producer Tyler Sarfert. The acoustic version is slowed down and sounds like two different songs to showcase different emotions through her music as a way to promote different styles of her music.
“It sounds like two different songs even though it’s the same exact lyrics, pretty much the same melody but the beat is completely different. I love to do that too; I feel like it’s a good marketing aspect to still using the same songs but promoting it in different ways. Personally, I love singing to an acoustic guitar and piano, I feel like that’s like my heart, that’s where I really get to show my voice and slow things down and feel the emotion. I try to incorporate both, the emotion is definitely super important to me, what I’m saying in the song obviously has to match how I’m saying it or my audience, whoever it is that’s listening to the song. If it’s going to be believable, I need to be believable. I need to be likable, believable and marketable,” she said.
For aspiring musicians or performers from a small or local town that is hoping to make it big in the performing world, Barrios encourages those that if they love something that they should do it as they have nothing stopping them, whether it is being a singer, actor, journalist or even being the President of the United States.
“Don’t be scared, don’t be afraid. There’s nothing stopping you, opinions don’t matter, this is your life and you have the ability to do whatever you want. In this moment and the second that’s about to come, you have the opportunity to create whatever reality it is that you want and I think more people need to realize that, whatever it is that they want to do. If there’s something that your heart is telling you what to do, it’s because that is what you should do and I promise that if you don’t listen to it, you’re going to end up regretting it,” she said.
Carina Barrios’s singles “Nervous” and “Minute” can be found on all streaming platforms on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and more. You can also watch music videos on YouTube. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok @carinambarrios.