Terry Barber is an internationally acclaimed singer and actor currently based in New Jersey. With his uniquely beautiful countertenor voice, he has a distinguished career in opera, musical theater and as a recording artist. He’s appeared on such renowned stages as Carnegie Hall, the New York Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera and Moscow’s Svetlanov Hall, and was formerly a member of the classical vocal ensemble Chanticleer. He’s also appeared on albums by Madonna, Chaka Khan and Cyndi Lauper, and has performed with the London Philharmonic. Terry has recorded albums featuring a wide range of genres, including pop, classical, gospel, opera and Broadway musicals. Last year (2019), he released Reimagined: Mercury, a collaborative work featuring covers of many of Queen’s hit songs.
Terry is also active in many social causes, and in 2009 founded the non-profit organization Artists for a Cause, whose mission is to provide support for artists who serve community needs. Troubled by fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine, then the killing of George Floyd and resulting protests and riots, Terry was moved to write his very first song “When the World Falls Apart” to express the powerful emotions he was feeling. He explained that the song “is my response to the current tragedies we are facing. As an artist, I have always known that my talent is my power to make a difference. We all must do more.” I’ve chosen it as my New Song of the Week.
“When the World Falls Apart” is a gorgeous song, with a haunting piano-driven melody, accompanied by sweeping orchestral instrumentals and an anthemic synth drum beat that kicks in halfway into the track. But the real highlight is Terry’s dramatic and stunning countertenor vocals that go from tender to impassioned. He brings goosebumps as he passionately sings the stirring lyrics that speak to the strong feelings of isolation, anxiety, fear and pain so many of us have experienced over the past three-plus months.
To accompany the single, Terry has created a beautiful, deeply moving video featuring images of empty streets and theaters, people struggling with isolation due to being quarantined, and people protesting racial injustice. But there are also glimmers of hope, as shown by images of people helping and caring for others. Terry is donating 50% of the proceeds from sales of the single to the NAACP.
Note: I actually briefly met Terry around 10 or 11 years ago, when I lived in St. Louis. I lived in the historic Lafayette Square district, where his father Terry, Sr. and stepmom Pat also live, and know them fairly well. In fact, Pat was one of the very first people I met from the neighborhood prior to my moving there in early 1995. Anyway, Terry came to St. Louis to perform at an intimate venue, and I had the pleasure of hearing him sing.