“Fill it with thy fire/Love is not for cowards/Mighty be our powers/Either way it’s gonna burn and so we may as well go out in flames ” – Aurora Barnes (from “Mighty Be Our Powers”)
New York City-based singer, songwriter and actress, Aurora Barnes creates fiery music that tells vivid stories of love, heartbreak, joy, struggle and human resiliency. Aurora uses intricate melodies and harmonies as a vehicle for her lyrics, painting abstract pictures with purpose. Her vocal performances demonstrate her total connection to the material – unique for a singer nowadays.
Aurora has always been fascinated by the ability of musicians to capture complex emotions and the spirit of a particular moment in history. She was raised in uptown Manhattan surrounded by passionate members of the civil rights, women’s rights, labor and anti-war movements, learning early on the importance of a lifelong commitment to political and social activism. Raised on everyone from Bob Dylan to Stephen Sondheim, Nina Simone to Bonnie Raitt, Aurora grew to understand that the words she spoke and the ones she wrote must be deliberate and meaningful.
As a young child Aurora’s natural aptitude for music and acting was apparent when she joined TADA! Youth Theater (for musical theater) and Opus 118 East Harlem Violin Program. As a young violinist, she played alongside legends Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern and was profiled in the Oscar-nominated documentary Small Wonders. She continued to develop as a singer, storyteller and actress, working with coaches Adrienne Angel and Harold Guskin, and performing in NYC venues like The Bitter End, Nuyorican Poet’s Café and The Knitting Factory.
Aurora has played at many venues, including Central Park’s Summerstage, the Kennedy Center, Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Hotel Cafe, Bryant Park, Brooklyn Museum, Rockwood Music Hall, The Carlyle Hotel, Joe’s Pub, and on Late Night with David Letterman, The Conan O’Brien Show and VH1′s Concert of the Century and Fashion Awards. She played alongside Madonna, Gloria Estefan, N’ Sync and Wyclef Jean and has collaborated with artists including pianist Jonathan Batiste and guitarist Julian Lage. Aurora joined Grammy®-winning composer/violinist Mark O’Connor at his Christmas Review Show at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, where she sang her own rendition of “Santa Baby,” rewritten to reflect the views of “The Protester”, Time magazine’s 2011 “Person of the Year.” In 2014, she opened for Ziggy Marley at the Belly Up, in San Diego and this past summer, was invited to pay tribute to Pete Seeger, at SeegerFest in NYC, performing a solo set at Central Park Summerstage and with David Amram at Lincoln Center Out Of Doors.
“Aurora has a beautiful singing voice with wonderful technique and has made a great impression in the acting industry.” – Bernadette Peters
In theater, Aurora has performed original work by Suzan-Lori Parks, Jeanine Tesori, and alongside esteemed artists such as Ann Reinking, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Ben Vereen and Gwen Verdon. She has composed vocal selections for “Paradox Of The Urban Cliché” by Craig “muMs” Grant, produced by the LAByrinth Theater Company and Andre Royo. Aurora made her feature film debut in 2009 with roles in The Last Film Festival (Donnell Rawlings, Jacqueline Bisset, Dennis Hopper), directed by Linda Yellen and Get Him To The Greek (Jonah Hill, Russell Brand).
Mixing her passion for activism and the arts, Aurora created the GirlsTalk/GuysTalk program. The program, based in Harlem, offers workshops and activities, to teenagers, that teach about social awareness, health consciousness and positive self-esteem. It is the goal of GirlsTalk/GuysTalk to teach students they have choices and to help cultivate well rounded, confident, young men and women who will choose to invest in themselves and their futures while making positive contributions in their communities. Additionally, Aurora has collaborated with many different social justice organizations, like VDay, Justice League NYC, Planned Parenthood, Sankofa and NYCLU and is a guest contributor for Huffington Post. Aurora performed at Amnesty International’s 2014 Human Rights Conference, at the House Of Blues in Chicago; at the Gathering For Justice “Growing Up Locked Down” conference in NYC; and most recently, at Soledad Prison, for 250 inmates, at the invitation of Nane Alejandrez, Executive Director of Barrios Unidos, in Santa Cruz, California.
Aurora released her debut five-song EP Fair Game in early 2014. The collection was co-produced by Grammy® nominated Rob Lewis (Christina Aguilera, Patti Labelle, Babyface) and Grammy® winner Om’Mas Keith (Frank Ocean, John Legend, Erykah Badu).
“Aurora’s sound and songwriting is special, relentlessly free and lyrically purposeful. It was a pleasure to help in the creative process of bringing her stories and melodies to life.” – Rob Lewis (musical director, arranger, producer)
Aurora produced her latest single, “Mighty Be Our Powers” now available on iTunes.