Iron City Rocks

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Pittsburgh’s Own Danielle Barbe

So you got your start in the Mon-Valley with Eye C Snakes and now you are touring with the Vans Warped Tour. What do you think the key to going form point A to point B was?

Honestly… I think just a ton of stubbornness, perseverance, and a passion for music. Every time I would think that I’d want to quit, some amazing opportunity was just waiting around the corner. There are so many people who give up too soon.

Having “Ghost Town” on TV’s Ghost Whisperer was a great way to get exposure. Was that something that was done via your publishing or how did that come about?

Kim Moses, the producer of Ghost Whisperer, was originally from Donora PA, and still has some friends from the area. When my music video was initially released, a ton of people were emailing it around, and she was copied in on it. It’s a classic example of my hometown’s support, and I am so grateful for it. Kim loved that I was from the Mon Valley as well, and I performed at the 100th episode party and she featured my song “Ghost Town” in one of the last episodes of the Ghost Whisperer TV show. Kim has done a lot for my music career. I refer to her as my fairy godmother. We didn’t even release until later that my mother went to grade school with her, because she only knew my mother by her maiden name!

Working with Luke Ebbin, how intimidating was that experience?

I did one year at Duquesne University, and then I moved out to L.A. for awhile to work with some writers and just see what happened. I met several people who knew Luke, and I ended up writing a song with him. He then agreed to record a small EP with me. Initially, I was intimidated. However, Luke has a great personality and is extremely easy to work with. He’s sarcastic and hilariously funny. We became great friends instantly and ended up writing a ton of material and recording my full-length debut album, which he produced.

How hard is it for a new artist to get the backing of the industry to make it in your opinion?

I definitely think it takes a lot of time and work if you are solely depending on the backing of the industry and what they can do for you. The music industry has changed so much, and continues to change. They aren’t investing in a lot of artists like they used to, but artists don’t necessary have to count on them as much for exposure or finances. I’ve watched the distribution of music change and the impact social media has had on my career and others careers. I think a DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude is important for an artist to have these days. It’s exciting that there are so many outlets for artists to utilize to gain exposure and momentum.

Can you tell us about The Vagabond Queen (

The Vagabond Queen is my merchandise line, which stemmed out of complete boredom over the mass produced merchandise available for artists to sell. I make a lot of my own jewelry and clothing that I wear everyday, and onstage, and I now offer it as my merchandise as well.

Last year on Warped Tour, I was selling out of friendship bracelets everyday. It’s tough being an indie artist, because not many people will buy your album until they hear you perform. This year, flower crowns ended up being my big thing, and I sold out of those everyday! I couldn’t make enough.

The jewelry line has been getting picked up by a lot of bigger retailers, such as JewelMint, and I now mass produce a lot of the items for stores. It’s another passion of mine and it’s become my “day job”. I feel so lucky. The Vagabond Queen is also the name of my blog, which I started when I wanted to write about all of my fun experiences while on the road.

Are you writing recording anything for a follow-up album?

The single should be released this fall and then the entire EP will hopefully be released in the fall as well. I’m going out to California in August to record. I’ve had an incredibly busy year and have just been enjoying the process and taking my time with things. I will admit that this is the beauty of being an independent artist! I get to enjoy every little bit of the experience and create my own timeline.
What would you say to a young teenager in Charleroi that might be considering a career as a profession musician?

It’s NOT impossible! Every career path, if it’s something that you love and are very dedicated to, is going to take time and hard work. I met so many naysayers early on who told me that this isn’t a real profession and tried to discourage me. I think that it can be, and I say go for it.

For more information on Danielle Barbe please visist and be sure to check her out on Warped Tour!