Being Britney

Derrick Barry impersonates famous pop icon Britney Spears

by Jorge Treviano    
Published: May 15, 2010 in A&E / Life&Style

Derrick Barry has made a career out of being Britney Spears. His impersonation of the pop icon has landed him spots on numerous national TV programs including “America’s Got Talent,” “The Today Show,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and ABC’s “The Next Best Thing.” Local fans can see him live when he brings his Britney show to Wilmington’s Ibiza Nightclub on Sunday, May 30.

Derrick Barry grew up in Modesto, Calif., where he trained as a gymnast from age five. At 12, he traded the parallel bars for the theater stage. In truth, it was the adrenaline he experienced from a cheering audience that inspired him to make the change. Barry also realized musical theatre gave him the opportunity to perform with his body and voice.

Today, Barry utilizes that musical theater background in his career as an impersonator. All of his stage performances incorporate live vocals, whether singing the numbers live or giving the audience an a cappella teaser.

Barry’s career as an impersonator began seven years ago when he first dressed up as Britney Spears for Halloween. His impeccably accurate and choreographed impersonation of the pop princess seems to flow naturally. It has won him much praise — including from Britney herself. In fact, the second time he dressed up as Britney, Barry came face to face with the princess of pop. Britney applauded Barry’s impersonation of her when he danced while she was interviewed on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Barry has even been featured several times on Britney’s official website. While on her recent “Circus” tour, Britney kept a copy of their shared magazine cover in her dressing room.

If you go…

Derrick Barry performs at Wilmington’s Ibiza Nightclub.
When: May 30
Where: 118 Market St.
Get more info at derrickbritney.com on May 30.

The adoration is mutual. “Britney inspires me,” says Barry who shaved his head the day after Britney Spears shaved hers in a sign of solidarity. “Her music video concept for ‘… Baby One More Time’ remains iconic. She proved her talent to the world and accomplished so much at a young age. I am excited to see what is next in her career.”

As for Barry’s career, he recently added a new pop icon to his six-nights-a week “Divas Las Vegas” show: Lady Gaga.

“I am huge fan of her music,” he says, acknowledging that a significantly greater amount of effort is required in order to create an accurate representation of Lady Gaga, the artist.

“I spend hours creating crazy costumes and perfecting her elaborate make-up tricks,” continues Barry. On his days off, when not working on his vocals or choreography, Barry can usually be found adorning his costumes with Swarovski crystals.

The persistence has paid off. “Lady Gaga told me I was beautiful. She was shocked to learn that I do my own make-up.”

Before Barry added live vocals to his Gaga act, he apologized to Lady Gaga for lip syncing to her music. She responded, “It’s okay, because if you didn’t, you drag queens would put us out of business.”

Her job is safe. Derrick Barry’s ultimate career goal is not only in music. It’s actually in comedy. More specifically, he’d love to land a role on “Saturday Night Live.“

“Fans are surprised to learn that I am more like Jim Carrey in my normal life. I am always hiding around corners, scaring people, or making funny faces and voices. I love to get a laugh.”

In the meantime, he’s enjoying being part of the resurgence of the impersonation industry. He credits icons like RuPaul whom he says has made the art of impersonation a huge part of today’s culture.

Derrick Barry is busier than ever, too. In addition to his “Divas Las Vegas” show, he headlines “Boys n Barry Sundaes” in Las Vegas every Sunday night at Krave nightclub. This summer, he is embarking on his second U.S. tour — a Britney Spears and Lady Gaga tribute — that will hit 20 cities including Wilmington.

Female impersonation has opened doors for the young actor/singer/dancer. It has brought him in front of leading directors, producers and entertainers. Derrick Barry believes the exposure will eventually lead him to his ultimate goal in comedy.

For now, he truly has the best of both worlds. Doesn’t everyone dream of being a pop icon? : :

— Provided courtesy Project Publicity