Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!
Seattle Refined: How long have you been around/writing together/performing?
Bailey: I’ve been writing and performing in some way shape or form for as long as I can remember. It started in elementary and middle school, doing plays and singing in church. I started playing guitar and really writing songs when I was 12 or 13. That lead to playing my songs on guitar as loud as I could on the side walks of Sequim, Washington, where I grew up. When I wasn’t at school singing in choir or maybe in the school musical, you could find me outside every weekend trying to get people to listen and throw money into my guitar case. Somehow that lead to me signing my first publishing deal with a company in Nashville at the age of 15, and moving there to write and be an artist full time at the age of 17. It was inevitable, but that is the short version of the story.
Tell us about the artistic process and the different stages that work into it.
The artistic process changes for me all the time. There is so much creative energy that can go into writing and releasing music. I write all of my own songs, which can come about in many different ways. Sometimes the song writing process starts with a poem in the notes on my phone, or a guitar riff that I like, or me walking into a co-write and venting for two hours to the other writers about something going on in my life. It usually is at least inspired by, or starts from a very personal place. Recently my creative process has expanded beyond the writing element, as I’ve been in the studio recording a whole new batch of music. It was important to me to start learning about and really involving myself in the production process, which I had never done before. For me, that meant asking Clint Lagerberg (producer/writer extraordinaire) if I could spend hours just sitting in his studio, trying to explain my vision for each song despite my lack of technical knowledge, and learning by watching and giving input as he completed those visions. It was the best experience to be that much closer to the creation of my own music.
Where does your inspiration come from? What other musical artists do you take inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from everything. I think its a blessing and a curse that I spend most of my time in my own head turning every situation into some kind of song or story. Whether it is something I’m going through, or something I heard or saw that made me feel I certain way, good or bad. I love to find ways to tell the story of an emotion, whether that's through extremely personal lyrics, or the right sounds in the track. I take little pieces of inspiration from so many different artists. J Cole is one of the best lyricists and storytellers releasing music today in my opinion, his music inspires me to go deeper and push boundaries from a lyrical standpoint. I love how clear Halsey’s artistic vision is in everything she does, I’m inspired by emotion in her vocals and visuals. And believe it of not, Post Malone was a huge inspiration for me when it came to the production of this new music, he provides such a cool example of genre blending and bending. I could go on and on, I just love so many songs from so many artists and genres, and I think it all has an influence, even if I don’t realize it.
What kind of genre is your music? What kinds of things do you write about?
The genre of my music is country! It is country from a girl who grew up on the west coast, listening to and loving all genres, but who found herself the most passionate about the words in the songs. The heart of country music is the words and the stories, and being proud of who you are and where you come from, that always resonated with me. So, when I picked up a guitar and wrote a song for the first time, that's what came out! I write about what everybody writes about, just through my own lens. Love and loss, the good times and bad times. Life is so full of little stories.
Something that crippled my songwriting for a while was anxiety, I went through a period of time where I wasn’t as inspired to write because I was so worried about what people would think of what I had to say. Until one day I wrote about that feeling, because that was all I had. That’s how my most recent song, “Songbird" came to be. I make it a rule now to just write about what I’m feeling, or write something that I would want to hear. Nothing else matters when I’m writing.
Do you have one song that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
Songs mean different things to me at different times. Right now "Love Yourz", from J Coles 2016 "Forest Hills Drive" album is my anthem. It’s about choosing to love what you have instead of constantly making comparisons.
What experiences in your life have shaped your music/art?
There are definitely a few key events in my life that have shaped me as an artist. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 13, and had corrective surgery for that at the age of 16. That whole experience really forced me to grow and find confidence within myself, despite all of the physical difficulties and changes I was experiencing. That inspired a lot of the music from my first EP. Along with moving across the country and living on my own for the first time as an 18 year old, all for my dream of doing music. The music that I’ve been working on most recently have been inspired by my life now, trying to figure out what it means to be an adult, to run my own business and trust myself and really have control, meanwhile try to have a real life and experience things and grow from that. I’m still dealing with the anxiety and self doubt that comes with all of those things, but let me tell you, it can make for some very real songs.
If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find? What about upcoming shows?
If you want to know more about my music just look me up anywhere! I’m on all the streaming platforms. I’m on instagram and twitter as @baileymyown I HIGHLY suggest you go onto Youtube and search “Bailey Bryan Songbird” and you will find my new music video out today.
You can also catch my performance at the CMA Songwriters Series show with Cassadee Pope, Walker McGuire and Barry Dean Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Showbox SoDo from 7-9pm.
What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I’m VERY excited about the release of “Songbird," and all of the new music that I am getting ready to put out in the new year. This is the start of a new chapter for me!
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
I take my coffee with almond milk and sugar! But really, I’ll drink coffee any way it’s presented to me, any time. I am tired.