2020 has been incredibly busy and exciting for teenage singer/songwriter Bailey James. The Nashville based artist has not only released several singles including her most recent “Mama Says” (which you can read about and listen to here https://www.bellesandgals.com/2020/09/07/bailey-james-releases-new-single-mama-says/) but earlier in the year she was announced as joining Drew Haley, Heather Nikole Harper and Kristen Kae to become the newest (and youngest!) member of The Highway Women, who also put out their single “Shake The Dust” in June and have more new music on the way.
While we have been keeping a close eye on Bailey’s career ( and indeed premiered the lyric video to her 2018 single “Kiss Me Goodbye”) it’s been a while since out last interview with this rising talent back in 2017, so there was a lot to catch up with when I fired off some questions to her a few days ago… I particularly love the honesty in her answers. Let’s hope that when the world is a different place to now that we will get a visit from Bailey here in the UK, meanwhile though it seems she will be sharing a lot more music with all her fans in the coming months, definitely something we will keep you updated with . I hope you enjoy our “e-chat’!
1. LH Hi Bailey! As always I like to ask interviewees where they are while they are replying to my questions…..to paint a picture like any good country song does!
BJ Hey! I’m currently in Pennsylvania sitting on my Grandma’s couch. We like to come back to where we are from often. It’s about 12:51 in the morning. Night owl!
2. LH We last interviewed you in 2017 when you hadn’t long moved to Nashville. Have you found the music community there supportive and welcoming, and do you consider the city to be your home now?
BJ Yes and no. Just like any city, there are amazing people and not so nice people. You live and you learn, and surround yourself with the ones who lift you up.
3. LH This year has obviously been very strange for everyone, but you have remained very creative as I mentioned in the introduction both as a solo artist and the newest member of Highway Women. How hard (or easy!) are you finding it to write, record, release and promote new music during these unprecedented times?
BJ I find it so much easier to release songs and write them and just be creative during this odd time. It gives me more time to reflect and write material I’m extremely proud of. I’m usually traveling and doing shows, and I don’t have much time to really write. This has given me lots of time to improve, and make songs I’m very proud of.
4. LH Your most recent solo single ” Mama Says” was released very recently …can you tell me a bit about its inspiration and writing process please?
BJ “Mama Says” is about a relationship I was in where the boy’s mother didn’t like me. I had no idea why, and it annoyed me so badly. I’m a performer, and my job is to entertain people and make them love something about me. So I wrote a song to make myself feel better, and to remind myself to stay true to my roots.
5. LH And looking back a few months to you single ” Train Wreck” …I love that you managed to film a video during lockdown! How fun was that to make and are you enjoying that aspect of the business?
BJ Yes! Thank you for asking. Anything that sparks creativity gets me going, and that video was so much fun to film. Just me, my parents, and a train track by my house. We will have to include bloopers next time. They can be really funny!
LH Oh yes please do!!
6. LH Which artists have been inspiring you recently? Your style is definitely evolving and sounding much more bluesy than your early music.
BJ Amy Winehouse is a big one. I adored her honesty and her authenticity. When she was down you knew, and when she was happy you knew. She never lied in her music, those were words of her life. I love Janis Joplin too. I’ve been listening to rock artists Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Black Sabbath. Amazing, amazing bands.
7. LH And are there any plans afoot for an EP/Album? Or more singles in the coming months?
BJ More singles. They seem to do better in the world we live in today. I hope to release an album soon though. All these songs string together into one part of my life.
8. LH And with regards to joining Highway Women….how did that come about? Were you already friends with Drew, Heather and Kristen?
BJ I was friends with Kristen. She would support me as an artist before she even started her solo career. I adore her, and joining them was just a lucky hand of fate for me. I came around at the right time and I’m so glad.
9. LH Is this your first time as being a member of a band, and what is it teaching you as an artist?
BJ It is! It’s teaching me so much about music. Harmonies, textures, and blending with other voices. I love it. It gives me a new perspective to write about also.
10. LH Music and I assume your ongoing education must take up a lot of your time but I see you are the first teenage ambassador for what sounds like a brilliant non-profit organisation, The Jason Foundation. Can you tell me a bit more about the work it does and why it’s a cause close to your heart?
BJ I joined the Jason Foundation because of my brother. He had been suffering from depression and self harm for years. I hated the way he suffered, and I wanted to help people by being a voice for him and his story. Then my brother took his own life at the age of 18, and it was even more important. The toughest time of my life, but the most important. I learned so much in that year, and was able to help so many people by telling his story. Ultimately it helped me heal.
11.LH I’ll finish with some quick fire questions regarding you bucket list….ok, your dream…. Co-writer? Duet partner? Venue to play? Act/Artist to open for?
BJ I’m gonna say Johnny Cash for dream songwriter. Chris Stapleton for dream duet. I wanna play any venue in New Orleans and Memphis. I think I’d love to open for Lake Street Dive.
LH Many thanks for your time, Bailey …we’ll look forwards to more music from you very soon !
Keep bang up to date with all Bailey’s news via her website www.BaileyJamesGang.com and all her socials @BaileyJamesGang
Interview conducted by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)