Who’s New: Bailey Bryan

Who’s New: Bailey Bryan

Age: 19
Hometown: Sequim, Wash.
Lives: Nashville
Single: “Own It”
EP: …So Far
Twitter: @baileymyown
Website: baileybryan.com
Influences: Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift, Macklemore, Chance The Rapper, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Nirvana

INSIDE SCOOP:

Bailey Bryan was destined to be a songwriter. Growing up in the rural town of Sequim, Wash., and undergoing life-changing back surgery gave the 19-year-old (going on 35) the tools to tell her story through song. Her debut single, “Own It,” is an autobiographical tune about taking the good with the bad and accepting who you are. Featured on her upcoming EP—...So Far, due to drop Friday, April 14—the song places Bailey at the top of the list of country’s most promising tunesmiths.

SMALL TOWN GIRL

“I kind of credit growing up in Washington, in the little town that I did, to the kind of music that I do and the way I write. I grew up in a pretty small town, so there’s that rural influence. I’m getting stuck behind tractors on the way to school. It was little, so everyone related to country music. We had farms. They were like lavender farms, so it’s a little different. That was kind of what I related to first when I started writing songs and playing guitar when I was 13. As I got older, I could drive two hours and be in Seattle, where there’s this awesome underground hip-hop scene and alternative music. So I became passionate about a lot of different types of music. It influenced my sound and my perspective on writing.”

IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SONG

“Once I wrote my first song, [songwriting] is the part of it that I fell in love with the most and that is the most important to me. I’m traveling to Nashville, I’m writing songs, I’m figuring out my sound, I was like, ‘I need to be in Nashville and doing country music because this is the genre that places the most importance on songwriting.’ First and foremost, I want to tell an honest story and that’s what all this is about. I got really serious about writing songs and performing when I was 13. That was when Taylor Swift’s first album came out. I was like, ‘This is everything. This is—as a 13-year-old girl who writes songs—my life.'”

OWNING IT

“I wrote ‘Own It’ when I was 16 years old. Whenever I introduce it to people, I always say it’s a very autobiographical song, which is a huge part of why it’s my first single. It’s kind of the introduction to me, but more importantly it’s the beginning of the message I want to send to the world. I think once I wrote that song, it became the basis for what I want to say to people as an artist and my premise for my message as a person. Because it’s important to—if I’m pursuing a career that comes with a public platform—have something to say and that I believe really strongly in. ‘Own It’ is really just about taking ownership of and loving the things that make you who you are, even if it might not be someone else’s favorite thing or if it’s something that’s hard for you to accept. At the end of the day, if you can look at the things you love and don’t love about yourself and hold them up equally, because they make you who you are, that’s how I want to live life, and so that’s why I wrote that song.”

SPINAL SURGERY

“The other side to ‘Own It’—the other side to that story is that I had back surgery when I was 16 years old. When I wrote that song, I was coming out of the recovery from that, and needed to learn who I was after a big earthshaking thing for me as a 16-year-old. [The surgery] was to correct scoliosis. That’s a two-month recovery, and you lose a lot of weight. Scoliosis means your spine is shaped like an ‘S.’ When your spine gets straightened, you’re actually two inches taller, which I didn’t know was going to happen. At 16, and of course even now at 19—but especially at 16, you have no idea who you are or what you’re trying to do. Then being compromised physically and  having to miss a couple months of school, which feels like the end of the world at the time, it left me in a lost space. I was just trying to figure out any way to feel like myself or even learn what that felt like. I went in and wrote ‘Own It’ because I needed to just list these random things about who I am and find a way to put it in a positive light. That’s really what songwriting is for me. It’s first and foremost saying what’s true for me, and then in hopes that it’ll make other people feel understood too.”

SOUND OF AN EP

“I would say that the sound ranges from ‘Own It,’ probably being the most upbeat and poppy—like full-sounding, to songs like one that you’ll hear once it’s released called ‘Used To,’ which is a lot more of an acoustic, soulful vibe. I think part of why I chose these five songs to be on it is because you really get a range of the different influences musically that I have. Then the other side to how we chose the songs was that every single song on here represents a lesson that I learned up to this point in my life, and that kind of got me here.”

FIRST-EVER TOUR

“I’d done a couple of random gigs with people here and there, but [Dan + Shay’s Obsessed Tour] was my first touring experience. I feel really lucky that that was my first touring experience because Dan and Shay—they’re so professional and their whole team is so welcoming. I learned a lot just from watching them perform every night. The way that they treat their fans is really inspiring to me. They always have their meet and greet before the show, and they always just take a moment to talk to people. Their interaction with the fans from the stage is so cool and so genuine. It was just really cool for me to see that and have that example the very first time.”

THE YEAR AHEAD

“We’ll release the EP in three days [April 14] and my life is going to be shouting that from the rooftops. That’s probably what I’m most excited about. I’m just playing those songs, and then festival season is coming up so we’re going to be all over playing festivals. We’re doing LakeShake and Stagecoach in California. I’m going to get to play Watershed again in my hometown, but this time I’m going to get to play the main stage, which is crazy. Last year I played the Next From Nashville side stage, and that was a dream come true because I’m at The Gorge, I’m at Watershed, which I’ve heard about my whole life. Getting to play that I’m like, ‘This is cool. I can die happy now.’ But my whole family, everyone was like, ‘Yeah, but next year you’ll be on the main stage.’ I was like, ‘Okay, guys.’ But now I get to be.”

Photo by Anna Haas / The Greenroom PR

 

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