As we previously stated in our recent interview with Joe Barksdale, when this former NFL player-turned R&B star aims high, we absolutely mean it. This Barksdale is both a talented and special man, one who sets lofty goals and achieves them, all the while staying grounded and focused on what matters most, health, happiness, and family. After recently revealing his brand new single “Moonbeam,” Barksdale is keeping up the momentum with the release of his brand new EP, R&B(eats).
While he has come to be well-known for his smooth, soulful approach to R&B, that doesn’t mean Barksdale is intent on being one dimensional. For R&B(eats), the artist tried his hand at something a little different, mixing drum machine beats with a jazzier, more hip-hop-focused approach that stands apart from his traditional R&B sound. The EP is illustrative of the type of musician Barksdale is; a man who is never satisfied with resting on his laurels.
Commenting on the release of R&B(eats), Barksdale explained his experimental focus when creating the album. “I am a huge fan of hip-hop/rap music and while I will never be a rapper I do own a drum machine and love to make different beats and rhythm tracks. What started out as experimentation has evolved into another method of self-expression for me. These albums are all done in house. I self-produced them and play all the instruments on the tracks and so forth. These are a collection of instrumentals that help people get to know me better because of their honesty. They do a great job of giving people a better look into my world as well as giving people a glimpse of where I am going with the music in the future.”
For those not familiar with Barksdale, he is a former National Football League offensive tackle with over 100 games of experience, played over the course of seven seasons. Drafted by the (then) Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Louisiana State University, Barksdale went on to also play for the St. Louis Rams, the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, and the Arizona Cardinals before wrapping up his football career in 2018. It was at that point that he decided to pursue music as his next career after he discovered a talent and appreciation for guitar a couple of seasons into his NFL career.
In addition to the reveal of R&B(eats), we are honoured to have the man himself, Joe Barksdale, join us today for a special guest blog, which he has titled “My Galaxy Far, Far Away.” In it, Barksdale discusses his love of Star Wars and the lasting impression it has left on him as an individual, including some of the lessons he has taken from the storied film series.
Guest Blog: “My Galaxy Far, Far Away”:
“Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” – Darth Vader.
The story of Darth Vader has been very cathartic for me to experience. I see so much of myself in him, from childhood to his death. Anakin Skywalker had a pretty shitty childhood, to put it lightly, but remained hopeful and determined to rise out of his situation and become successful. He started Jedi training late, the same way that I started playing football late. There were people in his life that he lost to death and other circumstances. He experienced so much pain… You see him growing up with an undiagnosed mental illness, I got used to keeping things to myself. I knew that other people wouldn’t understand the darkness that was inside of me because of the things that I experienced, but I always saw myself in Anakin.
Even when he became Darth Vader, I understood. I understood that he was willing to risk losing everything that he knew to save the last person that he had to hold on to in the galaxy from dying. I was always in awe of the power that Darth Vader had and the fear that people experienced when in his presence, it was the kind of respect that every kid that’s ever been bullied would love to experience. I could go on, but this isn’t about just Darth Vader but all of Star Wars…
I know that I am just one person inside of a nation of Star Wars fans and I know that all of those people are fans for a ton of different reasons… but we can all agree that Star Wars has affected them all in some way, shape or form enough to make a lasting impression and keep them coming back for more. Being a Jedi is recognized as a religion in some countries! There are theme parks that offer “build your own lightsaber” experiences as well as so many other Star Wars attractions. It’s become a culture!
It always amazed me that all of the Star Wars universe started with just some ideas from George Lucas. It’s pretty amazing that this cultural phenomenon is the result of one man’s vision. One man’s vision was able to unite millions of people around the world and even give a young, mentally ill, lonely kid some hope. One man’s vision built a world and I am forever grateful for it.
The mysticism of the force, the fighting for intergalactic Justice, the constant struggles between good and evil and the shades of grey in between, the fantasy elements, etc… all come together to make something special that sticks with people and helped create the foundation for the platform that it stands on today. I plan to do the same thing with my music… I’m not just dropping albums and songs, I’m building a world and I hope that you can be a part of it.