by Margaret Chrystall
THERE’S being hands-on and then there’s being George Barnett.
Singing, songwriting, playing instruments, record producing, directing and editing all his own videos – no problem.
He’s also a former 14-year-old winner of the UK’s best under-16 drummer title.
But now he is working hard to extablish a career as a singer songwriter with a lot of festival appearances this summer – including Belladrum.
Home-schooled, George spent a lot of time on his early passion – music – and the drumming that won him a national award.
"I’d do as much academic stuff in the morning as my mum could get me to do and then in the afternoon she lost me to music!
"I’d spend the afternoon playing drums or figuring out things on guitar or piano – mostly self-taught though I had piano lessons."
"But for a whole year after winning the drum title, instead of doing what I should have been doing – which was learning more drums – I made a film – a proper film," laughed George.
"It was called The Goat Farmer and it was a parody of The Godfather. But it hasn’t stood the test of time," he revealed.
"I went to school till I was nine years old and then we moved to Herefordshire.
He’s now using his filming, directing and editing skills to record weekly video diaries that he’s putting up online on his website.
On YouTube you can find his multi-skilling cover of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky – originally featured on his Red Tape mixtape last year, alongside covers of Lana Del Rey and Kendrick Lamar.
On the video he sings, plays guitar, bass, piano and percussion.
"Sometimes you put loads of effort into something and it doesn’t really come to much. And then sometimes you can do something like that which is just done on a weekend and I didn’t overthink anything. I’d only just heard the song, but it was a cover that people just liked – the recording and the multi instruments."
But George will be bringing a band with him to Belladrum.
"I prefer playing live with other people, to make the songs sound bigger," he explained.
And he has also been working on new songs.
"I’ve been writing a lot over the last week or two and I’m hoping to put them all out on an EP and not waste them. But it’s really difficult – as soon as I do something, I want people to hear it!
"I want to whittle something like 12 songs down to something that is concise that people will really like, so something like four or five tracks some time in the next few months."
And there should be few surprises - given his past - NOT! when you hear how George sees his near future.
"I am not on a record label at the moment because if you are insistent that you don’t want to co-write or anything, it can be difficult.
"But I quite like writing and producing for myself.
"And as far as getting my music out, I am quite liking doing it by myself!"
Catch George Barnett and his band at Belladrum’s Hothouse Stage on Saturday - here is his latest vlog. Oops! There's a newer one up already, see it on his Twitter: @geobarnett