After the release of her single, “play w/ me”, representing 300 Entertainment and founder of the Sensitive Bad Bitch Club, singer-songwriter, Bailey Bryan connected with Variance for a brief Q+A to talk about her musical upbringing, upcoming releases, and release of her newest single, “Roster.” With the growth and success that she’s made throughout her career, the versatility that she displays through various genres of music proves that Bailey has everything and more to accomplish as a prolific artist.
Q: Tracing back you’re originally from Washington (state) which has been home for a variety of genres such as hip-hop, rock, artists such as Brandi Carlile, Macklemore, Nirvana, and more. As an artist do you feel growing up in the various genres of Washington and moving to a country-dominant area as Nashville benefited in finding your sound?
BB: I would say that growing up in the diverse music scene of the PNW and then moving to a place famous for country music definitely benefitted me as far as finding my sound. I don’t feel like I ever had to miss out on experiencing any one style of music. I was raised by people who love all genres, I grew up with access to all kinds of influences, which lead to picking and choosing the different elements that I’ve identified with over the years, and crafting my own sound from that.
Q: With that being said, regarding your versatility and wide range of genres that you incorporate in your music, are there any specific inspirations that have influenced you as an artist?
BB: I think the most specific influences for me today would be the artists that I listen to the most... Drake, Kehlani, Jhene Aiko, J. Cole. All the way back to the stuff that planted the seed of my love for R&B, like the Brandi CD my mom had on repeat when I was little. Taylor Swift’s lyricism is the reason I moved to Nashville, and Chance The Rapper’s ‘Coloring Book’ album is what made me want to broaden the way I tell stories through my lyrics. Post Malone is one of the biggest reasons I feel like I never need to choose a genre. My inspiration is more eclectic than specific, just like my music will probably continue to be in some ways.
Q: Relating to what you mentioned about feeling like you never need to choose a genre, as an artist who has experimented with genres such as country, pop, and R&B. How do you handle criticism that comes from labels, listeners, and critics they give you as an artist when you do more than one genre?
BB: I’m fortunate enough to have a team that has always given me ample room to grow, and fans that for the most part have been eager to grow with me. I haven’t received a ton of critique from those who really listen because I think it's clear that I’m just evolving through the music I’m releasing, the same way every one evolves through their life choices. I’ve chosen to be open about it and share my creative and personal journey through my music, instead of waiting until it feels like this perfect product to show the world. I feel like I’m the closest to that that I’ve ever been with ‘play w/ me’ and the music that will follow, but I wouldn’t ever take back the music I’ve released that got me to this point, even if some of it sounds like a completely different person.
Q: That’s such a great approach that you have set for yourself, speaking on that, your sound contains lyricizations about the balance that comes with the positives and negatives related to mental health topics such as insecurities, overthinking, and toxic relationships, but you find an empowering undertone to the topic that has a positive note to it to which you describe as Sensitive Bad Bitch Music. During the writing and creative process of your songs how to go about it to find inspiration?
BB: It’s not hard for me to find inspiration for this music because it’s who I am! I don’t really go back and forth between feeling emotional and confident, I’m more so living in both worlds at the same time, all the time. I think that women my age tend to feel like they have to shut off their vulnerability and deny any feelings of heartbreak or conflicted-ness to match this perfect picture of a “bad bitch” that pop culture has sort of painted for us. I want my music and my “brand” as an artist simply to be a reminder that being messy, doesn’t mean you’re not worthy. It’s a message that I need to hear and that I always come back to in one way or another when I’m seeking inspiration.
Q: Regarding how you seek and find inspiration for your songs, when writing “play w/ me”, what was the influence behind the song’s composition? Was there anything that played a major role that inspired you to write it?
BB: The main influence behind the composition of play with me is really just the place I was at in life when I wrote it. I was dating around, I got a late-night “U up?” from a dude who had kinda been ghosting me for a few days… But it didn’t phase me because I had been listening to nothing but Ariana Grande’s "Thank U, Next” album and Lizzo’s “Because I Love You”, back to back, on repeat, for a few weeks. I put down my phone and I picked up my guitar and wrote the first half of the song right there, I had no idea that it would turn into what it is. I just needed to hype myself up at that moment.
Q: Similar to Ariana Grande and Lizzo’s albums, your single “play w/ me” and “Roster” contain more pop-based elements which are both unlike your previous releases that have more of a country based style to it from before, can fans expect your future releases to be pop records rather than country music.
BB: Fans can definitely expect my future release’s to be more “pop” than anything else. I can’t speak for the distant future because it’s important to me to always leave myself room to grow. But I’m really leaning into my love for R&B type production at the moment, and my lyrics will always just be inspired by what's going on in my heart. That’s as much as I can tell anyone to expect!
Q: So for the music video for your single, “play w/ me”, is it true that you served as the producer, stylist, talent, hair/makeup, and shot the whole video during quarantine with just a makeshift green screen. With all the amount of work that involves, how was the DIY process for you when making your video?
BB: The DIY process for making the ‘play w/ me’ video was a lot of work and a lot of fun! I love to be hands-on with every element of my work, so it felt right. With Becky Hearn, a brilliant creative director, helping remotely to bring the vision to life and keep the ideas on track, it all came together in a really dope way. I’m proud of everything that went into the release of that song, in the middle of such a weird time to put out music.
Q: As for your career, you continue to develop and grow as an artist, do you have any specific goals or main aspirations that you have set for yourself that you look to achieve in the foreseeable future?
BB: My main goal is to stay on the path that God has for me musically whatever that may look like. I’m happy as long as I get to write songs that make people feel ok about being human, I’ll be ecstatic if millions of people get to hear it! I hope that when the world opens up I can travel the world with it. My most immediate goal is to get my single ‘Roster’ to a million streams, so everybody helps a girl out and go listen!
Q: For current and new listeners of your music, is there anything that they can expect from you that’s scheduled to be released?
BB: My latest single called, ‘Roster’ is out now! And to me, it is the epitome of “Sensitive Bad B” music. And there’s an entire project’s worth of it on the way.