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Multi-platinum songwriter Brandon Barnes has penned songs for Rascal Flatts, Brian McKnight, Alicia Keys, Ann Murray, Crystal Gale, Ronnie Milsap, Boys II Men, Philip Bailey, Cee Cee Peniston, BeBe Winans, Phil Collins, Stephen Bishop, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Born in Gadsden, Alabama, Barnes' musical career began at age 5, when he was a drumming mascot for his dad’s marching band at Etowah High School. His father played multiple instruments and was a vocal teacher, bandleader, singer, and songwriter. Barnes was inspired by his father and listened to works by Chicago, Tower of Power, Gino Vinelli, Earth Wind & Fire, Maurice White, and David Foster. Barnes played percussion throughout high school and college, and became a drummer for several bands in North Alabama. Before long, he began writing songs and created several demo tapes. In 1980, Barnes signed to Wishbone Recording Studio and had two hits, “When I Can Have You,” and “Love You Out Of My Mind,” for Ann Murray. However, the studio was unfortunately closed, which brought Barnes back home to Alabama. Barnes began writing for Gospel group, Take Six, at Oakwood College in Huntsville. Claude McKnight, the leader of the group, introduced him to his brother Brian. Although Brian was a piano player and singer, he was at Oakwood to play basketball. From the moment they met, Brandon Barnes and Brian McKnight clicked. Their combination proved to be a big hit on the R&B charts. Since then, Barnes has been a longtime collaborator with McKnight, co-writing many of his hit songs. Barnes has written or co-written songs for McKnight’s double platinum CD, Anytime. He also penned three songs on McKnight's Back At One, which also sold over 2 million copies. Their single, “Anytime,” received the 1999 Soul Train Award for R&B Single of the Year. The track “Never Felt This Way” which was co-written by Brandon and Brian McKnight was covered by Alicia Keys on her 10,000,000 selling 2003 debut album, Songs In A Minor. Currently Barnes is writing and producing with Heather Headly, Steve Diamond, Tyrese and Grammy recipient Gary Baker.
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