Not everything from 2020 is doom and gloom. Mike Bama’s personal life and music style have each taken an “Amazing” turn since February.
The Prattville artist had a whole “hick hop” country rap music thing going on with songs like 2017’s “I Do What I Want!”
It turns out Bama didn’t really know what he wanted.
Earlier in his career, Bama had some semi-viral hits, some reaching more than a million views in streams. Some in the six figures. But those were all just “fun, mud bog, this, that and the other songs.” He thought he’d reached the peak of his artistry with them.
Bama now realizes those years were far from his prime.
“I’ve always shown such a small part of who I am as an artist and a person,” Bama said.
With wife Amber at his side, Mike Barrett (Bama) is a happily married man and a proud Army veteran. None of that really leapt out in his songwriting until a new piece of his life’s puzzle came along: being a father to little Ezra Wyatt Barrett.
“He’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life so far,” Bama said.
Like any proud dad, he’s showing his boy off with photos and videos. But Bama took it a step further when he wrote the song “Amazing!” about the little guy.
"It's so amazing. Look what I'm raising. A little mini-Mike Bama in the making."
The result has been life and career changing.
“That was the very first song I wrote since he was born,” Bama said. “I’ve written two or three others since, and I’ve noticed a drastic shift in my entire writing style. I just have a new perspective… I realized I haven’t even scratched the surface of what I’m capable of. It honestly just took me having my first child.”
The Barretts are so proud of Wyatt that they put him in the music video for “Amazing.” He’s undeniably the star. You’d think that using a baby in a music video would be difficult. There should have at least be a blooper reel. Actually, that wasn’t the case. Their son was a pro through the filming.
“I couldn’t ask for a better kid,” Bama said.
The music video for “Amazing” was shot and edited by Time 2 Reup Filmz, AKA Reup Tha Boss, an artist Bama worked with for the July release of another song “Bad Dream.”
“('Bad Dream') is kind of about the 2020 climate, and feeling like it’s a bad dream,” Bama said. “The song for my son was obviously going to be a much more wholesome vibe, but with that being the very next song that I wrote, I noticed a big shift in the way that I wrote. I noticed that I’m now looking to make much more impactful music. I’m looking to make songs that have a strong message that I wouldn’t mind having my son singing along to it in class, or something like that. I really just want to showcase more of whom I am.”
With his new music, Bama hopes to inspire listeners.
“There will still be some feel good songs, but I want feel good songs that you can play in any environment and no one be offended or taken aback, or dismissive of them,” Bama said.
The son of Terry and Stacy Barrett, Bama was born and raised in Millbrook, and went to Stanhope Elmore High School. “I did do a year in Holtville and a year in Marbury,” he said.
Bama said his dad was a salesman, and that’s where he got a lot of his personality and ability to relate to people. “He worked his way up from being a sales rep up to being a general manager,” Bama said.
Bama’s mom had a little bit of passion for writing. “It was kind of one of those things that she would have liked to have done, but never did,” Bama said.
Growing up, Bama was always good at poetry, and had a natural ability to deliver rap sounds.
“If I had the voice to be a singer, I would sing,” Bama said. “But I don’t.”
The hick hop movement - something major artists like Colt Ford and Bubba Sparxxx made bank on - was gaining movement. It seemed like a natural fit for Bama, who couldn’t take on traditional rap and talk about a life he’d never lived.
“What I knew was country living in a trailer in the sticks in Alabama,” Bama said.
When Bama got old enough, he joined the Army and traveled for a few years.
“When I moved back home to Alabama, my wife and I got a trailer out in Prattville, and we’ve been living here for the last six years,” Bama said.
Bama stepped away from music and social media for about 6 or 7 months after the release of his 2019 Trilogy album, because he was considering reenlisting in the Army.
“I got through 95 percent of the process. The day I thought I was going to sign my reenlistment contract, I was told that there was a holdup and that I needed a medical waiver,” Bama said. “A couple of weeks later, I was informed that unfortunately the surgeon general had denied my waiver. So I wouldn’t be able to reenlist.”
He was pretty upset for a while, but Bama came to realize that things happen for a reason.
“I felt like, well that means that I’m supposed to be here. And if I’m not going to be traveling and going off to do this training, then I’m ready (for a child),” Bama said.
Less than a month later, he and Amber got the news that they were expecting.
“We were completely blessed with that,” he said.
Wyatt was born five-and-a-half weeks early in February, but was healthy.
“He’s been growing perfectly,” Bama said. “He’s been blessed, and we’ve been blessed.”
Becoming a father gave Bama a whole new list of motivations for his other interests, as a person and as an artist. Along with music, Bama is into acting, script writing and directing videos.
“I’ve done a little bit of all of that,” he said.
Bama says he seems to be outgrowing hick hop or not seeing eye to eye with where the genre is going. So much so that he started over a big chunk of his music career by creating new social media accounts not linked to his former works. While there’s been some crossover fans from his old “Bama Nation” life (which stood for Believe And Manifest Anything, Never Abandon Those In Obvious Need), Bama is actively building and growing into a new BAMFAM fanbase (Believe And Manifest For All Mankind).
“I see my fanbase as my family, because they’re supporting my art. They’re supporting what I’m doing,” Bama said. “I think we’re all family in one way or another.”
He’s looking at creating more music videos from new music, instead of going back and doing videos for older songs that were popular in their day. His fans seem to approve of the direction.
“I’m really trying to shift into more of a pop rap or meaningful rap,” Bama said. “I no longer want people to think of Mike Bama as the country rapper. I want them to think of Mike Bama as the country veteran, father and husband who makes rap music.”
In addition to the singles he’s releasing, up ahead he’s got a group album in the works. That’s something completely new for him.
“I’ve never been part of a group, or had a team or a band or anything like that,” Bama said. “But I’ve recently linked up with another Alabama native from out in Shelby County. Her name is Stormie Leigh. She’s a singer and she also does rap. She has a beautiful voice and can sing really good hooks.”
There’s also Sir. Tron Tha Great from Statesboro, Georgia, who has been making Bama’s beats and rapping on some of the verses and hooks.
“Us three together are making a collaborative album called New Southern Royalty,” Bama said. It’ll be a mix of solo, duo and trio pieces.
It’s all thanks to the little guy.
So if in about 15 years or so if Wyatt decided to get into music, would Bama encourage it?
“Absolutely,” he said. “I would encourage him to do anything he enjoys, whether it’s basketball, football, gymnastics… Anything he enjoys doing and has a passion for, I’m going to encourage it to the max. If he decides to get into music, I’m going to grant him every resource and head start that I know how to do.”
Follow Mike Bama on Facebook an Instagram at yaboymikebama and on Twitter @MikeBama333. His YouTube channel is Mike Bama.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Shannon Heupel at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: New son, new outlook, new music: Prattville's Mike Bama finds calling beyond 'hick hop'
This article is written by Shannon Heupel from The Montgomery Advertiser and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.