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U of O’s  Parmida Barez to perform at PersiaPelooza in L.A.

A girl sat down next to me in class a month ago and said she was going to be singing in a show produced by Ryan Seacrest at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on Oct. 13. Wondering how she could pursue a performing career while being a full-time education student, I talked to Parmida Barez about her plans for the future. The more I talked to her, the more I could see how her passions for music and education made sense together.

After finishing up her political science and business degree at the University of Ottawa a year ago, Barez didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. She wasn’t performing, she didn’t plan to be a teacher; she only knew that she wanted to do something meaningful.

“I’m just trying to make a positive impact in the world, because I feel like we’re not here just for our own selfish needs,” says Barez. “There’s a higher purpose. My body and my soul aren’t here to just follow through with the things that I want for myself.”

In her search for purpose, she started meditating.

“A few weeks after doing this, I had this dream, and it was the most vivid dream I ever had in my entire life,” she says. “It had such an impact on me, I got up in the middle of the night and I had to write a song. I had never written a song before that time.”

Although she had always written poetry and came from a musical family, Barez never thought of putting her words to music. She researched programs to make beats, and within a few weeks had written 12 songs. She rented a microphone and recorded herself at home, but she wasn’t sure if she was ever going to show the songs to anyone.

Around the same time, Barez started volunteering with Sage Youth—a non-profit organization that provides free support and mentoring for children with a higher need for literacy—and she applied to teachers’ college. She started to feel she had found the outlets that would let her share her positivity with others.

Barez eventually played her songs for a close friend, who encouraged her to release a demo on YouTube. The song “Ridiculous” received positive feedback, and she started getting phone calls and messages from musicians all over the world who wanted to collaborate with her. One of those calls was a request she perform at PersiaPelooza on Oct. 13, an event hosted by Reza Farahan for the Bravo and OMNI reality show “Shahs of Sunset.”

Barez was also accepted into U of O’s bachelor of education program in conjunction with Global Cohort, a program that focuses on teaching and learning strategies associated with international development, social justice, peace, and environmental education.

With two career paths that seem so different, I asked her how she combines her love of teaching with her love of music.

“It’s the overall good feeling that [teaching] gives you,” she says. “I mean, music is mostly based on emotions, right? I feel like whenever I’m feeling good about myself, that’s when the lyrics come out.”

Barez has decided to focus her attention on music, but she won’t neglect her passion for educating and trying to make a positive impact on the world.

“I know that regardless of where my music career goes, I’ve always wanted to open my own charity. I always wanted to start my own not-for-profit. That’s in the cards for me, 100 per cent,” she says. “I feel like being known and having my music known to a large audience would really help grow my other aspirations as well.”

With opportunities in both music and education in front of her, Barez is working hard to bring positivity into the world no matter where life takes her.


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