"Emmy-Kate Montrose, from Kenickie, teaching me my first chords is probably my first musical memory" We chat with Bailey Tomkinson
Hailing from a Southern county isn't the only thing that Bailey Tomkinson has in common with some of her Stateside peers, she has her love of country music as well. With her latest single, '7 Minutes In Heaven' out now, Bailey spent some time answering our questions.
Hey Bailey, what have you been up to today?
Hi! I’m prepping for my first London show on April 13th at Luna Lounge, so I’ve been writing out set lists and rehearsing mostly.
Introduce yourself to our lovely readers.
OK, so Hi! I’m Bailey, I’m a 19-year-old singer/songwriter from sunny St Ives in Cornwall. I’m signed to German indie label FBP Music, I like to write country melodies that even people who don’t traditionally like country music hopefully want to sing along to!
Tell us about you, what’s your first memory of playing music?
This is going to sound like one of those bizarre name dropping stories or that I come from a showbiz background or something which is totally not the case... one of my dad’s best friends came to our house one weekend with his girlfriend who actually used to play bass in the band Kenickie. I was only about seven and I’d just had a toy guitar and mic stand for Christmas...so Emmy-Kate Montrose teaching me my first chords is probably my first musical memory! Pretty cool eh?
What can you tell us about your new single, ‘7 Minutes In Heaven’?
The jumping off point was probably watching the movie 13 Going On 30. In truth, I just wanted to create something relatable and youthful, with a sense of fun. I love movies like Dazed and Confused and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist in the sense that they have one, crazy night where anything can happen. I thought it would be interesting to try to capture that feeling in a song.
What song of yours is the one you’d really want people to hear, and why?
Of the songs I’ve recorded up to now. 'Last Kiss' I think is the most country but I love them all for different reasons. Probably it’s always my next one! I guess that’s just my personality, I’m always restless, always wanting to test the boundaries. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done up to now but I want to keep moving forward.
How do you go about writing (and choosing) songs to record?
I generally start with the melody because I think that’s what drives a good song. Its the melody that grabs you and then you learn the words. Generally what I love about country is the relatable storytelling, so I try to write as authentically to my experience as possible, I don’t generally write well about whisky fuelled bar brawls in a Texan Honky Tonk because that’s not my experience. In terms of selecting songs, I listen to the people around me, but ultimately it’s a question about whether I feel passionately about the song or the direction of the music. If it’s a choice between making a safe choice or being more experimental, I’m going to choose the experiment every time.
What part of Cornwall are you in?
I’m in beautiful, sunny St Ives.
And, aside from writing, what’s your favourite thing to do in Cornwall?
Surfing! I love the sunshine, hanging out with friends in St Ives, on the best beaches in the country, we’re incredibly blessed.
What’s the worst thing about living in Cornwall? (It’s the tourists, right?)
Hah! I quite like the buzz of the town when the tourists arrive. My parents run a vintage clothing store down here and without the tourist trade, they, like many other local businesses, wouldn’t survive. I’d say the worst thing is second homes left empty for most of the year. They kill communities and syphon off the profits of tourism. The flow of money is like the flow of blood in the body, if too much bleeds out then the body dies.
What’s coming up for you in 2019?
I’m working on some new material in the studio in April, I fully intend to stretch the country music genre with my next set of material. After that’s it’s festival season, I’m really fortunate to be playing Boardmasters this year, so that’s one I’m really looking forward to. I want to be as active as possible at live venues this year. We’ll probably do an EP later in the year too.
Obviously there’s a lot of talk about equality in general at the moment, what’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
Personally, i tend to think of any issues I’ve run into as being more of the “because you’re new" variety than because I’m female. There are cliques that seem to only want to talk about or play the same artists all the time. That said I do look at the numbers, when I see a guy that’s doing a fraction of my numbers getting 10 times as many gigs and loads of airplay I recognise that as a closed door that I’m going to have to kick down. All any of us want is to be judged on our music.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
I’m listening to a lot of Maggie Rogers at the moment. Also Midland are awesome.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
Are you too pop for Country? That would have elicited a lively response!
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
I always start the day with a cappuccino, one sugar. Thanks!
To find out more about Bailey you can check out her website, check her out on Twitter, like her on Facebook, or check her Instagram.