Born in Wisconsin and raised in Iowa, Alaska, Colorado and Texas, Barbara K, an Austin based American singer-songwriter, was formerly one half of the 1980's successful cutting edge acoustic rock band Timbuk3. In 1986, these IRS recording artists' hit song "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" reached #18 in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in the U.S. and #21 in the U.K. Singles Chart. That song has since appeared in many movies and television shows. It has also been hotly pursued as a commercial jingle, a usage for which both of the song's creators have steadfastly turned down lucrative offers. The song is often perceived as a light-hearted slice of optimism, though it was written as an ironic forecast of nuclear destruction after social complacency. The duo's entire body of work was filled with more melodic hooks and subtle lyrical observations, leading them to much success and road work with Bob Dylan, Sting, Jackson Browne and others. From the streets of New York to the concert halls of London, Timbuk3 appeared on Saturday Night Live and were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987.

After Timbuk3 performed their final shows in 1996, Barbara K remained in Austin and became entrenched in the city's rich musical community where she recorded three solo albums, currently unavailable, two of which featured her lyrically powerful original songs and one filled with her own interpretations of the songs of Timbuk3. With Mike Hardwick and Hector Muñoz, Barbara began a weekly musical residency in 2011 at the highly esteemed Continental Club Gallery in Austin which lasted until she made her way to Germany in 2013.

As an independent recording artist, Barbara K recognized a need in the music industry for strengthening alliances between independent artists and independent media. In 2008, she co-founded Artists For Media Diversity, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization for the purpose of protecting freedom of speech through the power of music.  Together with her co-founders and board members, A4MD developed new funding services for alternative non-commercial media sources, fostering independent media voices and  promoting musical and cultural diversity.  In 2012 Barbara co-produced the album "Artists for Vieques" featuring Calle 13, Willie Nelson and Family, Los Lonely Boys and others. "Artists for Vieques" became instrumental in establishing WVQR - 90.1FM Radio Vieques on a sister island of Puerto Rico that had been utilized as a bombing range by the US Navy and it's NATO allies for over 60 years.  

In 2013, Barbara returned to the recording studio, this time with Mike Hardwick and some of Austin's finest musicians, to record a new album of songs written during her years of community activism and engagement. The album is currently unreleased.

Alongside her Austin roots,  Barbara established a dual residency in Germany in 2014 with the assistance of her songwriting partner and co-founder of A4MD Wolfgang Pracht. Together they write songs, play guitars, make recordings and host Americana songwriters as they drop by to visit on their European tours.

 

 

Barbara K and Richard Bowden perform "Maria".
Written by Barbara K and Wolfgang Pracht.