13-year-old from Richmond wins BC Youth Talent Search

Richmond News

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talent search
Charlie Barstow, 13, plays his guitar (left) and holds his BC Youth Talent Search award (right). Photos: Russ Barstow

A 13-year-old singer-songwriter from Richmond won a province-wide talent search with a stunning performance of his original song “I Don’t Miss You.”

Charlie Barstow, a Grade 8 student at McMath, took the stage at the Inlet Theatre in Port Moody for the final round in the BC Youth Talent Search last Thursday.

“I didn’t expect that I was gonna win. They called my name and my mind was in complete shock,” Charlie told the Richmond News.

The song, about heartbreak, is one of five or so original numbers the teen has penned over the course of his budding musical career. He wrote this one specifically for the talent contest.

“[Charlie] worked his butt off to get here,” said his father Russ Barstow, adding that he felt like the world’s proudest dad.

Charlie looks to artists he admires like Ed Sheeran, James Arthur and Bruno Mars for songwriting inspiration.

“You listen to what they do and [then you try] your own,” he said. “I just recorded [I Don’t Miss You] on my phone and the chords and stuff. It was completely different in the start. You keep building on it and building on it until it becomes the final song.”

The father and son come from a musical family, often playing guitar around the campfire. Russ works as a custom homebuilder, but he went to Douglas College for jazz and played in the Richmond Youth Concert Band growing up. His parents (Charlie’s grandparents) were also singers—one even sang in operas.

“I love singing because it’s just freeing when you’re having a bad day or you’re stressed out,” Charlie said.

His big win came with a prize pack that includes a scholarship to a singing and dancing summer training camp in Vancouver and performance slots at two more concerts.

Charlie’s dad is excited for those, since he said it’s a challenge finding venues for him to play.

“Kids that play hockey and sports, they have all kinds of opportunities every weekend to play. Whereas Charlie, he’s got to look for them,” Russ said.

With more practice, Charlie said his goals for his music career include getting a song on the radio and playing at Rogers Arena.

Another Richmond teen, Emelia Lupynis, also performed at the talent search finals and won the Most Promising Performer/Artist award for her rendition of Adele’s When We Were Young.