Bailey Bryan’s mantra: ‘Own It.’ She’s lived by it for the last year of her life when she went from standing in the audience during CMA Fest to performing in 3 different stages this past week. The rising country star answers 5 key questions!
1. Last year you were a fan watching CMA Fest and this year you’re up on the stage performing. What does that feel like?!
Bailey Bryan: So last year was super motivating and super cool because I’ve been in music festival settings before but CMA Fest is a whole different thing, the whole downtown Nashville is just transformed into this festival. I got to see Hillary Scott perform at the Ascend Amphitheater last year and I also got to see a show at The Wild Horse, and I get to play both of those venues this week so it’s really cool that I get to be a part of the exact moments that I watched last year. CMA Fest, for me, marks a point in my life of so many dreams having come true and just standing there and looking at this really awesome unknown future. To look back on where I was a year ago and now all of the things that have happened, it’s just really cool. I think it’ll always hold a special place in my heart because it’s a really good way to mark everything that has happened over time.
2. This year, girls will be watching you, just like you were watching others last year, and next year, they may be in your position! What do you have to say to those dreamers and people you inspired?
Bailey: That’s so exciting. I hope that anyone who sees my performances are inspired the way that I was when I was watching performances last year at CMA Fest. Any advice for those people would just be, be patient, keep working because you never know what could happen in a year. Even less than a year. I saw it all and I was like, “I can do this. I want to play here next year.” I didn’t know that I was going to get to play, I don’t even know how many shows collectively. I get to be on so many awesome stages this week, so anything can happen if you work hard and stay inspired.
3. You’ll obviously be performing your hits “Own It,” and “Scars.” Are you doing any covers during your set?
Bailey: Definitely. My favorite song to cover is “Too Good” by Drake. It’ll be interesting to see what the crowd thinks, especially because it’s such a country music crowd at CMA Fest. I’ve gotten that before when I say I’m going to play a Drake song because it’s a super country crowd, people are like, “Boo.” But I’m like, “I promise you’re going to like it, it’s acoustic guitar, it doesn’t sound anything like the original.” And then, by the end of it usually they’re like, “Okay, that was okay. That didn’t sound how I was expecting it to sound.” So that’s a cover I’m definitely going to do this week and I’m excited to see what people think of it.
4. You love rap and you do these great covers of rap songs and make them entirely your own. What rapper has influenced you in your songwriting and your career?
Bailey: Definitely Chance the Rapper. I think his most recent album, “Coloring Book” blew him up. I just really admire what he did in that project because he told so many honest stories. He did a really good job of blending different sounds in an unexpected way, which is what I want to do. I’m really passionate about hip hop the same way that I’m passionate about country music, just because I think it’s a place where really honest storytelling can be welcomed. What Chance the Rapper did is he told you the major stories of his life that regardless of what kind of genre of music you prefer, if you hear it and you listen to the words it’ll make you feel something. I want to do that. I want to impact people in the way that that album impacted me.
5. Songs like Own It and “Scars” are definitely your personal storytelling. What has the fan reaction been to those?
Bailey: I wanted every single song to represent a lesson or something in my life that has made me who I am so far, hence the title “So Far.” This is me, this is what I wrote, this is this time in my life and that’s prompted people to share their own story with me. “Scars” was inspired by my experience having scoliosis and then having corrective surgery and having this huge scar on my back. I’m very open about what inspired that song and what I’ve learned from it. It’s been so cool because people who have gone through that exact same experience or something similar have reached out to be and been like, “Hey, I had this surgery” or “I went through this,” “I have a scar from this. And your song makes me feel understood.” To me, that’s the best reaction I could get about a song because I think music is such a good tool for making people feel understood, that’s what I want to use it for.
HollywoodLifers, you can download Bailey’s EP “So Far” on iTunes and Spotify and make sure you catch her INSTAGRAM STORIES on the @HollywoodLife Instagram on 6/9!