Fourteen year old country newcomer Bailey James has already performed at the Bluebird Café, CMA Music Festival, and showcased during Country Radio Seminar. A vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, Bailey is a standout artist who combines elements of classic country with contemporary sounds and energy. Recently, Bailey released her new single, "Run Girl," a song championing hard work and pursuing one's dreams, and kindly took the time to answer a few questions via email about the track, her involvement with The Jason Foundation, and more.
Being fourteen, when did you begin singing and playing guitar, and know that you wanted to pursue music professionally?
I have been singing since I could talk. My dad sang a lot of Johnny Cash, George Jones and Hank Sr. to me from the time I was my baby. I was a huge Hannah Montana and Taylor Swift fan when I was younger. I still love Miley and Taylor. When I was 10, I tried out for my first school talent show and was blown away by how I was received. I made a demo of “Blue” and “Crazy” at 11 and paid a visit to Nashville and, 3 years later, I have “Run Girl” charting on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart. It is 93rd as of last week… Top 80 here we come!
Music is my passion. It is the one thing that feels so natural to me in my life. Since picking up guitar about two years ago, I find the melodies come very easy now. I love that when the guitar is in my hands I really control the entire delivery and not just the vocals. You can emote with a guitar as much as you do with your voice.
Was it always country you gravitated to and if so, who do you draw from?
I love all music. Country, rock, pop, rap and opera. Yep, opera! One of my vocal coaches was a former opera professional. Country and more specifically, traditional country is where my heart and my voice feel most at home. My dad got it started, but I found Patsy, Dolly, Tammy, Loretta, etc. on my own. Patsy Cline is my all-time favorite. She is the bar that I have set for myself. That is what I work towards.
I do draw from all genres though, but usually from past artists and not present artists. Other artists that I love to listen to and cover are Elvis, Whitney, and Janis.
How do you balance music and school?
Not super easy to do. I have missed a great deal of school and my grades are rather average. My folks are a huge support physically, emotionally, financially… I am guessing that if things get any busier that I will have to turn to home schooling.
Your new single, “Run Girl,” really encourages following your dreams. Is there a story behind the song?
My folks are blue collar people that earned every dollar they have. My mom owns a daycare with 250+ kids. She originally started that daycare from watching a couple kids out of her home many years ago. My dad has risen up through the landscape company he works for and currently is responsible for all commercial sales in the Nashville market. I mention all this because I am a product of my home. I will only be as successful as the work and drive that I put into my music. “Run Girl” is about drive, determination and hard work. Dream as big as you want, but it won’t come to you. You have to “Run Girl” to achieve those dreams.
There’s also a video for the song. Did you come up with the treatment and did you enjoy making it?
My music producer and video producer, Jeffrey Teague of Artist & Repertoire LLC, is responsible for the treatment. I loved making the video. It was a lot of fun. What is best about making a video is no matter how much you think you understand the vision and even though you are in the middle of the filming, the end product is always full of very cool surprises.
You’ve already performed at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, and CMA Music Fest…..is there one thing that’s a bucket list must for you? Or a dream tour partner?
Goals 1 – Sing at the Opry. 2 – A number one single. 3 – Country Music Entertainer of the Year
Oh yeah, I want to do them before I turn 20.
Where can fans catch you playing out the remainder of the Summer/Fall?
I will be in upstate NY the playing in Syracuse the 11th & 12th and Monticello for the Bagel Festival on the 13th. After that school starts, but we are always adding dates so follow me on my social media for updates.
I always like to know, is there one recent release you cannot stop listening to and recommend others check out?
Lana Del Rey’s new album, Lust for Life.
You're involved with The Jason Foundation which is dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators/youth workers, and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth. What spurred you to team up with them?
My involvement with The Jason Foundation began with me watching the battle that my brother went through daily to be here. Depression and anxiety are so difficult to understand and treat. They can be very mild or in my brother’s case very debilitating. My brother had the heart of a lion. He battled every day to have a normal life. There was a long period of self-harm and depression. Zane was like a soldier. He got up every day and every day he went to war. It was ugly, scary and hard. The difference between Zane and a soldier is that Zane didn’t sign up for this war and he didn’t know the enemy with whom he battled. I joined JFI because I wanted to help kids realize that suicide is a tragedy and that their battle with depression is not a weakness. It is a disease, but there is help out there and people that understand the battle they are going through. On May 25th, my brother’s war ended. Selfishly I want him here with me, but I find great relief in knowing that his heart is finally at rest. I live now for him as much as I live for myself. The work that JFI does is important. Its goal is to prevent teen suicide, but it also helps those families that have had to face a suicide as JFI has helped my family. I don’t want another person to go through what my brother did, and I don’t want them to have to go through what I have. That said, my work with The Jason Foundation is more important than ever.
For more information visit her official website
Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Purchase "Run Girl" HERE