By Aaron Wagner
Bailey James is part of the next generation of country artists that are looking to put their footprint on country music. She recently released a new song with “Beck & Call” that is sure to catch your attention with it’s catchy and funky sound.
We chatted with Bailey about her new release as well as her upbringing and where she sees her career going in the next few years. For being a young artist in the country music, her musical roots and influences might surprise you.
GROWING UP AND MOVING TO NASHVILLE
After a few years of going back and forth a few times a month between Nashville and her hometown in the Philadelphia area, Bailey moved to Nashville when she was only 13
Bailey shares, “Until I was 13, I was going back and forth which was a 12-hour drive every month. That was a lot. We finally decided we were going to move and I’ve been here ever since.”
“It was a big change. People are very different here than back home. You learn southern manners really quick. When they say ‘bless your heart’ they don’t actually mean it,” she laughs.
Moving to Nashville at 13 meant she had to navigate the music industry and school at the same time. “The music industry side of it was harder than I thought it was going to be, but there are a lot of beautiful parts about it.”
EARLY MUSIC MEMORIES
Like most of us, one of Bailey’s earliest music memory was listening to music in the car with her parents. What our parents listen to more often than not shapes our musical interests.
“For me it was my dad. My earliest memory is my dad singing Johnny Cash to me in the car when I was on the way home from school. I was singing those songs and people would ask where I learned that old country music. He got me into music.”
“After awhile I got into it on my own. I would come home and sing until I would fall asleep and my parents realized we had to do something with this.”
Bailey continues, “My parents both had a big love for it so I was pretty destined to do what I do. I was just lucky enough to have parents let me do what I wanted to do.”
While most new artists today were shaped by 90s country or more revolutionary artists like Taylor Swift and Sam Hunt, Bailey goes back even further when it comes to her musical influences.
“It was Johnny Cash, Hank, and Patsy Kline. As I got older my parents introduced me to Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, and this crazy alternative music that I absolutely love. Then about 2 years ago I started listening to a lot of soul, like Amy Winehouse and Janice Joplin. Big, strong soulful female singers.”
“Now that I have all of those influences, they’ve really shown in my music.”
BECK & CALL
“I started in country music at a really young age and I thought that I had to do one type of country to make it on the radio. But then I realized that I can do the music that I want and people are still going to appreciate it. So “Beck & Call” was kind of the first step into venturing into the things I enjoy.”
“Beck & Call is super funky. Like a country funk. I’m really proud of the song.”
INSPIRATION BEHIND IT
One of the best parts about country music is learning the story behind the song. More often than not, it’s inspired by true events and what the artists and writers are going through in life at the time. That was no different with Bailey.
“I went in to write with Julie Downs, one of my all-time favorite writers. At this time, I was in this back and forth with someone where I wanted them here when they were here, and then when I didn’t want them here I was like “go away,'” she laughs.
“It was really funny. I said I kind of want him at my beck and call and that’s how it came about and it really poured out in a really cool way. When we went into the studio, it wasn’t meant to be that funky but it went that way. It was a super cool process of seeing the song grow.”
IN THE STUDIO
Bailey shares how once she got into the studio the style and sound of the song came together in a really organic way.
“The way I was singing it was really funky and sassy, so I think it just fit. I worked with a new producer on it and they were really open to doing whatever I wanted to do. It turned out really amazing. It wasn’t like we did one or two takes, we just kind of knew that that’s what was gonna fit and we went for it.”
COLLABORATING WITH SONGWRITERS AND PRODUCERS
“I think it’s different with each song. I definitely love to have a say, and more importantly write about what’s going on in my life. So when I go into a write with other people and we’re writing a song for me, I can share what’s going on in my life and we write about it. Because it is my music and I’m singing it, I like to have a voice in that because when I’m singing, I want to mean whatever it is I’m singing and be able to emote to it.”
“It’s the same way with producing, but sometimes I do have to take their advice as well because they’ve been in the business much longer than me and they know a lot more.”
Everyone has had to make adjustments to their daily life and the way they go about their passions. Bailey talks about how important it is to continue that connection she has with the fans she loves so much.
“For me it’s been pretty easy because in music I’m a super social person, but outside of music I’m pretty much an introvert. I can just stay inside and be in my own little world while still connecting with the fans. I’ve had to get creative with it, which I love.”
“I’ve been doing different things on my socials like going live, which I’ve always done in the past. Now I’m doing it more often. It’s super important, because they’re kind of like family to me. I want them to have something to look forward to in quarantine.”
NEW MUSIC COMING SOON
“I have a Spotify single coming out. We’re releasing some new music strictly to Spotify and I think that it’s super cool. It’s just songs that I didn’t want to release purely as a single, but I also really want the fans to enjoy it in quarantine. They all range when it comes to what genre they are. The next one is really country and I think that the people who have been with me from the beginning will enjoy it. That’s all I can say at this point.”
Keep up with Bailey James on her social media platforms to stay tuned for her new music and when she goes live with fans.