Casey Barnes

“I want to get to know ya,” Casey Barnes sings on the opening track of his new album, Light It Up.

That line says everything you need to know about the Gold Coast-based artist. His music is all about building a genuine relationship with his audience, making an emotional connection and taking his fans along for the ride.

And it’s been a remarkable journey so far.

The story starts in Tasmania, where a six-year-old Casey saw his first gig – Johnny Cash in his hometown of Launceston, supported by Aussie legend John Williamson. Casey will never forget standing on his toes, desperately trying to get a peek at The Man in Black.

A few years later, while still at high school, Casey found himself on stage, at the Forth Pub on Tasmania’s northern coast, playing Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears in Heaven’. And where did Casey launch his Light It Up Tour, his biggest tour to date? The Forth Pub.

A lot has happened between those two gigs at the Forth. Five number one singles on the country charts; eight Golden Guitar nominations, including New Talent, Album of the Year and Male Artist of the Year; and a swag of other awards action – nominations for Best Country Album at the ARIA Awards, Best Independent Country Album at the AIR Awards, and Most Performed Country Work (‘A Little More’) at the APRA Awards.

Casey was awarded Artist of the Year at the Gold Coast Music Awards in 2020 and 2021 and received the People’s Choice Award for best live act at the Groundwater Country Music Festival, a nod to his powerful live show and ability to connect with his audiences. Casey’s songs have collectively been streamed more than 25 million times, making him one of the most streamed Australian country artists of all time.

Casey’s 2020 album, Town of A Million Dreams, cemented his place in the Australian music scene, topping the country charts and spending over 70 weeks on the ARIA Australian Country Album chart to date.

While making the album with the Melbourne production and songwriting team MSquared in 2019, the two Michaels – Michael Paynter and Michael Delorenzis – gave Casey a pep talk. “This is your best record,” they said. “Have you thought about getting the right team behind you? Who would be at the top of your list?”

Casey replied: “Michael Chugg.”

He sent a couple of tracks to the legendary Australian music man, who signed Casey to Chugg Music in 2019. “The Chugg Music team are proud to be taking Casey’s music to the world,” Michael Chugg says.

“It’s unbelievable how good his live show is,” Chuggi told American touring industry bible Pollstar. Casey has done gigs all around the world, including major festivals, the NRL State of Origin, shows with Lady Antebellum and Bryan Adams, and a memorable appearance at the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Finals in Las Vegas.

Preceded by the single ‘Come Turn Me On’ (“exactly the sort of song that the phrase “crossover hit” was made to describe” – Rolling Stone), the new album Light It Up plays like a great gig, with fist-in-the-air anthems, fun, up-tempo tracks, as well as tender moments of reflection, including the crossover smash ‘God Took His Time On You’, which Casey wrote in

Nashville with Kaci Brown and Sam Gray. Casey immediately clicked with the duo – the first song they wrote together was ‘Sparks Fly’, which became Casey’s first number one on the country charts.

Casey also loves collaborating with the MSquared team. “They come from a pop headspace and I’m coming from a country headspace, and we’ve blended those two things together,” Casey explains. “Magic seems to happen when we work together.” Indeed, the first song they wrote together was called ‘Just Like Magic’.

Casey and his talented co-writers have brought the magic across the ten tracks on Light It Up, driven by the belief that a song could just save your life or, at the very least, make your day. As he declares on ‘God Took His Time on You’, “Put on a song and we’ll dance ’round the room till the sun comes up.”

Written as a tribute to his wife, Michelle, ‘God Took His Time on You’ is Casey’s most successful release to date. The track received the cover artist position on Spotify’s coveted New Music Friday playlist upon release as well as global playlist additions and is Casey’s most viewed video on YouTube to date. It has also cut through on radio with additions to commercial radio including NOVA, The Hit Network, Triple M and many more.

But despite the accolades, awards and chart achievements, Casey will never forget where he came from. A town of a million dreams. “The best piece of advice I’ve been given is, be yourself, don’t try to be somebody else, and be humble and grateful,” he says.

In his final year at high school, Casey would walk past Irish Murphy’s in Launceston. He’d stop every morning and read the blackboard at the front of the hotel, listing the acts who were playing there that week. “If I could just get my name on the blackboard, I’ve hit the big time,” Casey thought to himself.

And yes, he did get his name on that board, when he landed a Tuesday night gig at the venue. “That was my goal,” Casey smiles. “And once you tick that goal off, you go to the next one … and the next one after that.”

Indeed, as Casey sings on Light It Up, this ain’t the encore. There are many more goals and chapters to come in the Casey Barnes story.