This whole crazy journey of writing has led me to cross paths with so many incredible creatives, the most recent of which being Joe Barksdale. For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of enjoying Joe's talents, allow me to make the introduction! Joe Barksdale is a former NFL player, hailing from the Raiders, the Rams, and the Chargers, and then ending his NFL journey with the Cardinals. Talk about a lineup! After the NFL it's really become clear that Joe has found his calling, making music, including his newest album, 'Yours Truly,' and being an activist. I enjoyed getting to pick Joe's brain about everything from being a creative amid a global pandemic, to the best advice he got from the late and great Kobe Bryant, I hope you guys enjoy this chat!
Stream 'Yours Truly' here!
I obviously want to talk all about ‘Yours Truly’ what does the album mean to you? What do you hope listeners take from this music?
-This album is a step in the direction that I’m heading in musically while also being an open letter to anyone that wants to hear it you know? I hope that the #1 thing that people take away from my music is hope for the future as well as acceptance and forgiveness of self, all things that I’m currently working on internally.
When you look at the album, ‘Yours Truly,’ as a whole is there a song that stands out as the one you were most looking forward to having audiences hear?
-I would say that the song that stands out to me the most that I was looking forward to people hearing is the 1st song, 'Music.' I wanted to start off the album with something real and not just another ‘intro song’ if that makes sense. I’m in the process of trying to be more and more open and honest with my art, comedy has really helped me a lot with that and also and I wanted to use it from the beginning of the album. In fact, this song is so open that when I listened to the masters of the album for the first time, I debated taking it and the other songs like it out of the album, but I felt a stronger need to help others by being vulnerable.
From beginning to end how long was the process of creating ‘Yours Truly,’ how long would you say the process took?
-I wrote the entire album in about a month, took about another week to record in the studio, and then a couple of months to mix and master so all in all probably a year and a half but the bulk of it took about 3-4 months, conservatively.
If you had to pick a lyric from ‘Yours Truly’ that really hits home for you, what would that be?
- "I get tired, but I push through". This is the mission statement of my daily life. Between the clinical depression and anxiety, being autistic, dealing with trauma from the past, constantly burying dreams that used to keep me moving forward, dealing with death, darkness, despondency, hopelessness, etc. I mean this is the mission statement of my daily life.
The pandemic was hard on everyone, but for you personally, did you find that time to be when you really narrowed in on music?
-Yes I actually learned how to mix music and produce during that time, I also started doing standup comedy so you could say that most of the stuff that I’m going to be doing moving forward was built during the pandemic.
With ‘AGT’ what was it like putting yourself out there on a show that has such a massive reach? How do you think that experience has changed who you are as a person?
-It was great being on the show with the choir, but honestly, there’s something different about standing on that stage with a group and being referred to as a group. I now know that I have the ability to be standing on that AGT stage by myself and hope that I can make that happen next season. In the words of Dwayne Johnson “there comes a time when you’re fucking tired of not being #1” and this experience showed me that I’ve been tired and it’s time to get there and stop dreaming about being there you know?
My Angel www.youtube.com
With making the shift from the NFL to music, are there skills you zoned in on, on the field that have helped you on stage?
-I’d say the biggest thing is just being able to listen to/watch and critique myself. I also have people that I work with that I ask to critique me like my therapist (any comedian that tells you that they aren’t running some of their jokes by their therapist is lying!), Ms. McCormick that helps me with acting and stage presence as well as too many other things to list is another person that really helps me by being honest with me and I wouldn’t be able to accept that honesty if it weren’t for football. A lot of artists don’t listen to themselves perform and use it to get better, but I do.
I know you do work with Autism Speaks, what has that partnership been like? What can you tell my readers about the organization?
-It’s been fantastic! I love the organization and everything that they do to help people like me. They’re dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. That’s just beautiful!
Check out Autism Speaks and what they are all about here!
Let’s talk about Kobe Bryant! Obviously, he was a mentor to you, what was a peace of advice he gave to you that you'll forever cherish?
-The biggest piece of advice that Kobe ever gave me actually had to do with being the father of daughters. In terms of how to talk to them how to help them effectively and so forth. I use that wisdom to this day. Now that’s not to say that there weren’t many other gems that he gave me, but the parenting gems shine the brightest, in my eyes.
What’s next for you? What does the rest of 2022 look like?
-My daughter has a birthday coming up! Also looking forward to dressing up with the family this Halloween. Also plan to continue to support my wife’s real estate career which is flourishing (if you need any homes in Austin, hit me up!). Also promoting Yours Truly. I’m also in the process of finishing a project that another artist on my label Kyle Morgan is dropping this Fall that I produced called The Vision. I’m also in the process of getting ready for a comedy special that I’m going to be recording next year in the spring in Detroit Mi. Very exciting things going on!
Don't Leave Me Here www.youtube.com
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