Voices of the Bay

The Story Behind the Song

How singer/songwriter “Lily Rhodes” balances school life and a budding music career


Thanks to platforms like Spotify and SoundCloud, Warren’s Lily Rhodes Barker is able to share her original music to an audience far beyond her home in the East Bay. Performing as “Lily Rhodes,” the Mt. Hope High School senior was a frequent singer accompanying musician Otis Read at Hope & Main’s weekly markets, which evolved into solo acts at Open Mic nights at the Galactic Theatre, The Collaborative, The Pump House, and recent performances at Providence’s WaterFire. Life for this busy teen – juggling classes, college applications, and nature advocacy as co-president of the Mt. Hope Environmental Club, coupled with family responsibilities – provides plenty of inspiration for her songwriting. Currently recording at TRIAD in Warren, Lily is hoping to release her first EP in late winter, but right now her music is available as “lilyrhodesings” on Instagram and SoundCloud and “Lily Rhodes” on Spotify.

Why She Sings: I definitely feel really nervous, but once I’m on stage, it’s an easy way for me to pour my heart out. Music is the one aspect of my life I can be

completely honest and be myself.


Online Presence: I wanted to put my songs out there to get more gigs and find people who want to play and write music with me. It seems to be working.


Memorable Moment: This past fall, I was performing covers at the Galactic Theatre, and when I started playing my own songs and everyone was looking at me and listening, it was a very powerful realization that they were listening to my words. What means the most is if someone resonates with my work then I feel I am really doing my job.


Favorite Cover: Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.”


Tender Subject: A big catalyst for doing my music has been growing up with a parent with a debilitating illness [a father with Parkinson’s]. Music has been a refuge for me. If I have a bad or good day, I’ll sit down and put those feelings into a song. I am not sure how people who are having a similar experience react hearing my songs because it is a tender subject; I have a different relationship with my parents compared to kids who don’t have a parent with this type of illness.


Biggest Supporters: My parents have been great! My mom can relate with a different level of understanding because she is an artist. She is able to attend all of my shows and calls herself my “Momager.”


Mentors: I’m learning to read music with Otis Read in Warren, and I take vocal lessons with Sandy Chabot.


Looking Ahead: The future is definitely very uncertain. The one thing I am very certain about is that I want to continue to do music. However that ends up manifesting itself, I’ll be very happy.


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