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Beano: From The Choir to Center Stage.

September 16, 2013

BeanoChill2012smallText by Niesha Miller. Top image by Tiesha Miller.

Barton Joseph French, Jr., better known as Beano, sits on a stone wall in the center of Rittenhouse Square. A man he doesn’t know approaches him, congratulating him on his recent success and hard work.

“You don’t know how often that happens,” says the 24-year-old wearing a maroon and green AnmlHse fitted cap, khaki colored pants, Jordan sneakers and a blue camo hoodie.

He is modest and grateful after the acknowledgement. Before appearing on Chill Moody and Hank McCoy’s Valentine’s Day mixtape Who Do You Love? and performing in front of a sold-out crowd at the Hard Rock Cafe with his Talent Island collective of artists, the singer was once known for performing at open mics at the Walnut Room.

But Beano’s performance experience started in his church choir when he was 13-years-old.

“My mom was like, ‘If you’re going to sing, you’re gonna get your voice strong by singing in the choir,’” he says. “That was my vocal training right there. My vocal coaching was Sunday mornings at nine o’clock service.”

His first childhood memory with music involved his mom yelling at him about singing Dru Hill’s “In My Bed” in church.

“’No, we’re in church!’” he remembers her barking.

The singer played football for West Catholic and Ben Franklin High Schools and was a top-ranked running back in the city. He claims he once ran for more than 500 yards in a game.

“A lot of people don’t know my first love was football,” he says.

His mother was a gospel singer and his father was a guitarist. Being raised by musicians helped him listen to music differently than most people.
“I was at the Justin Timberlake concert,” he says.

“Everybody going crazy over the lyrics. I’m going crazy over transitions, changes and harmonies. It’s a different type of way you listen to music when you’re brought up in music.”

The vocalist has performed alongside the likes of Ryan Leslie, The Dream and Musiq Soulchild. Opening for other artists has allowed him to study their performances and improve his own stage presence.

In July, he was given the opportunity to headline a show at The Blockley, where he performed all new music. He admitted to being nervous because he was unsure how the crowd would
react. But they loved it.

“It’s always scary because you don’t know how anybody’s going to respond to something they never heard before,” he admits.

Over the past few months, Beano has performed at MTV’s O Music Awards, Hot 97’s Who’s Next? showcase and at Harlem Day with his close friend Chill Moody. It’s been a long time coming but the
singer will finally release a solo project this fall.

“I wanted myself to be at a point where I was so comfortable that I knew they were gonna love this music,” he confesses. “Now, I think it’s time. I found who I am.”

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