Barry James Hickey Media Biography
ON HIS MUSIC:
Some of Barry James Hickey’s songs are being played on 80,000 digital jukeboxes across America. “I’m an overnight success thirty years in the making,” he puns. "My first experience as a singer was driving all night in a blizzard to audition for a country music label owned by Johnny Cash. I had never sung in front of anyone in my life. The audition was a disaster. I was absolutely terrible. I shook more than Elvis. But I tried. That was what was important. The studio engineer gave me a plastic key ring for my efforts. I carried it with me for years until it disintegrated.”
Hickey began his entertainment career as a back-up singer to an Elvis impersonator in Chicago before forming his first band called Outer Drive. It didn’t last long. Discotheques arrived and swept away the live band scene.
Hickey moved to Colorado, performing in musical theater, melodramas and television commercials for a couple of years before forming his next band – The Acapulco Road Show, a mix of Country, Top 40 and Rock ‘n Roll. “Our play list was dictated by the clubs that booked us,” he says. The band toured extensively in Colorado and Wyoming.
After graduating from the University of Colorado with a Communications degree Hickey literally flipped a coin to determine his future. Heads for Los Angeles, tails for Nashville. The coin landed heads. Hickey spent his first year delivering singing telegrams until he landed the leading role in the feature film Revenge of the Stolen Stars.
Other movies followed. For the next decade he bounced between his love of music, acting and writing. He often sang at the world famous Palomino in North Hollywood. He frequented Bakersfield, California, singing with a handful of country musicians who toured with Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
Hickey cut several music demos and drove to Nashville, knocking on the doors of country music agents, managers and labels before he ran out of money and returned to Los Angeles.
For the next few years he focused on songwriting, screenplays and independent film production with long stints as an executive assistant at CBS Television and Walt Disney Studios to studio heads.
After 15 years of living in Hollywood, Hickey returned to Colorado after a disastrous experience starring in a film in India. He taught high school English, dabbled in real estate, worked at an auto dealership in sales and finance, managed a book publishing company and performed legal work for attorneys.
Hickey still writes songs about the American experience. He is also a novelist with works that include The Five Pearls, Chasing God’s River, The Glass Fence, Waking Purgatory and The Water Lawyer. Any new songs? “I have a stack of lyrics and melodies. All I need is the time, the musicians and the money to record and market them. We’ll see how it goes.”