In the film world, Barry Craig Minniefield is known as, "Hollywood’s Singing Chef." He earned this title for his extraordinary talents in acting, singing, and as a gourmet chef during a 10-year stint at the world-famous Improvisation Comedy Clubs. Minniefield has performed or cooked for a long list of celebrities including Roseanne Barr Tom Arnold, Cher, Milton Berle, Jay Leno (on the "Tonight Show"), Arsenio Hall, Nancy Wilson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey, and Robin Williams. In 1990, Minniefield decided to move on from cooking and comedy to focus on his music. He never looked back. "Music has been good to me. It hasn’t been easy to make it totally on music, but I’ve managed to do alright," says Minniefield.
Early influences: "My father was my biggest influence. He would have that stereo blaring with jazz and big band music, especially on Sundays. We still talk on the phone just about everyday." "My grandmother also had me singing gospel in church and my uncle worked for several different record companies, so I have always been immersed in good music," reflects Minniefield. "I dug the Jackson Five; I’d practice their numbers in the basement with my cousins. I used to love watching ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and checking out all the musical acts." Among role models, Minniefield cites Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughn. "Stevie Wonder has been a real influence too, both his music and singing. He has challenged us all to be more creative, to be better."
Instruments: Voice, Percussion
Genre: Jazz, R&B, Pop
Background: "I was singing in my high school choir in the late ’70s, and we toured all over California and Florida." "When I started singing with bands, I picked up percussion instruments and started filling in when others played their solos. It has worked out fine." Minniefield has also acted in productions of "Romeo and Juliet," "Bye Bye Birdie", and "Jesus Christ Superstar," as well as numerous commercials. "I’m also a good ‘laugher’ for voice-overs," he chuckles. "When I got tired of Hollywood and the cooking gig, I moved to Palm Springs and just love it here. There are many excellent musicians here in the desert and I am grateful to be able to sing with any of them."
Current projects: Minniefield performs regularly with Steve Madaio and Bob O’Connor, and they can expand from a trio to 25 pieces. Madaio and O’Connor are working with Minniefield on his new CD. Look for that release, "Give me Love," coming soon from Mirada Records. "I’m also thinking of putting a show together, a tribute to Luther Vandross, Barry White, and a few others of that caliber."
Insights: "At age 30, I changed my career and my lifestyle and moved here to concentrate on singing." "I’ve always listened to myself, that inner voice that comes from just knowing what’s right." "Never let anyone tell you that you can’t."