Women in entertainment: Janelle Barreto, rocking the indie world

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and had the chance to spend time with family and friends.  Indie Voice Blog is so thankful to be able to continue its series on Women in Entertainment, and shine a spotlight on one of LA’s hardest rocking indie voices, Janelle Barreto, current lead singer of the indie-pop-punk-rock band ROCKET.

Barreto grew up in Southern California where she first began performing on stage in musicals, winning local talent competitions and landing a Press Telegram Award in Performing Arts.  Immediately after high school, she was discovered by and signed to her first development/production deal with Howling Dog Productions.  Shortly thereafter she recorded several 12” singles and began showcasing at local dance clubs and venues, which led to her being signed to Solar/Sony Records as part of an all female pop group.

Barreto soon realized that pop music was not her calling, either musically or lyrically, and began to write her own original alternative rock material.   This led to her co-founding the alternative indie rock band Exploiting Eve, which built a huge local following in Los Angeles and performed at some of best and largest of the local venues, including House of Blues (both Sunset Strip and Downtown Disney), BB King Blues Club, The El Rey Theater, Huntington Beach Pier, Santa Monica Pier, Gay Pride Fest, Key Club, Viper Room, Roxy Theater, and countless others.

We first met Barreto back around 2001.  The band was starting to take off, having just released their second CD, Getting Thru, and was getting airplay from LA legendary rock station, KLOS.  DK Films created a live music video for the band from a show held at the world famous Whisky-a-go-go in 2002.

After winning numerous awards, she decided to continue her music education by returning to school and graduating in Music Theory and Guitar from the Los Angeles Music Academy in Pasadena.

Barreto left the band around 2007 to pursue solo musical aspirations.  She spent several years performing as a singer-songwriter and as a studio vocalist, all the while perfecting her songwriting chops.  When The Pills, an LA indie rock band, lost their lead singer, Barreto answered the call, and Rocket was born.

Based out of Los Angeles with music in the vein of Paramore, Foo Fighters, Joan Jett and Stone Temple Pilots, Rocket recently released an amazing music video for their single “HEY BABY” as a follow-up to their radio single and current EP “The Singles.”

Rocket is currently enjoying success at commercial Alternative Radio, receiving national airplay on such stations as KROQ 106.7 “Rodney on the Roq” (Los Angeles); Indie 103.1 “Go Deep” (Los Angeles); East Atlanta Village Radio – Regular Rotation (Atlanta, GA); FM 90 KACV Regular Rotation including Featured Artist interview “Under the Radar” & “The Indie Show” (Amarillo, TX), KRZQ 104.1 The Real Alternative “New Music Show” (Reno, NV); WRIF2 101.1 “Undercover Sound System” (Detroit, MI); WLKK 107.7 “Underground Collective” (Buffalo, NY).  At the same time, the band has provided tour support to some of rock’s biggest and most infamous bands, including Puddle of Mudd, Missing Persons, Bow Wow Wow and Gene Loves Jezebel.

Here’s what a couple of local LA music critics had to say about Barreto and Rocket:

“We think the band is ready for larger venues and would not be surprised if we hear their music placed in TV commercials and movies very soon. . . Front-woman Janelle Barreto, always impresses with her powerhouse vocals and stage presence.  She is literally unstoppable.”  (Renee Silverman, AXS.com).

“Barreto’s diva stage presence fits well with her voice, which seems to project and reverberate throughout a crowd with the depth and power of a great rock voice.”  (Mari Fong Burr, Campus Circle Magazine)

But what inspires Barreto?  “My greatest inspiration comes from a desire to fulfill my destiny of being a messenger.  The influence, energy and power that music and lyrics have to move, change and effect people is very special.  I feel honored and grateful to be blessed with this gift, so I look to care for it, and to maximize its use.  I create songs to have people be reflective, engaged, taken on an emotional journey, and be evolved by my music and words.  I’m also inspired by everyday things like beauty, kindness, love, loyalty, friendship, achievement, and coincidence.”

The band has also received critical support, including the 2015 Best Rock Band award from the LA Music Critic and Best Music Video for “Hey Baby” at the Other Venice Film Festival.  In addition, Rocket was selected by World Arts Music and I am Musicology to perform at their Touring Kick-Off event at the historic Ivar Theater.  They also participated in the Levitt Pavilion “Emerging Artist” Summer Concert Series.

What does the future hold for Barreto and Rocket?  “On a personal perspective, as long as I can breathe and I’m here in this existence (forever how long that is), I will sing and make music. You never know when the ride is going to end, so I might as well spend as many moments doing the thing that I love the most, and feel I was put here to do. So, I will continue to write songs and make records for as long as I can. On a business aspect and more in the near future, for my band Rocket, our focus is on collaborating with a good record label to get us to higher heights, help us complete a new album and get radio play. Ultimately we aim to tour, so more music lovers can be exposed to and influenced by our art.”

Keep up with Barreto and Rocket by checking out their website and Facebook pages, following them on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribing to their YouTube channel.