Bailey James: “Always have a backup plan”

Always have a backup plan. — I’ve had many times when somebody didn’t show or I had to play more or less songs. Have a backup plan and you won’t be so worried. The show must go on. Never stop singing or playing in the middle of the song. Brush it off, act like nothing happened and […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Always have a backup plan. — I’ve had many times when somebody didn’t show or I had to play more or less songs. Have a backup plan and you won’t be so worried. The show must go on. Never stop singing or playing in the middle of the song. Brush it off, act like nothing happened and joke about it after.


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Bailey James.

You would be hard-pressed to find an 18-year-old music artist with a resume like that possessed by Bailey James. Not only has she appeared and performed at the legendary Bluebird Café, the famous The Wildhorse Saloon, the home of the Grand Ole Opry radio station WSM-AM, as well as participating in the mega-popular CMA Music Festival in Nashville, she also took part in numerous press interviews and showcased her talent during the annual Country Radio Seminar in Music City. A vocalist, guitarist and songwriter with over 145,000 fans across her social media platforms, Bailey is a standout artist in a new country traditionalist genre who combines elements of classic country with contemporary sounds and energy. This soulful performer is introducing and drawing her swiftly-growing young audience to a fresh musical adaptation that is well beyond her years.

This teen country sensation launched her first release to country radio, Run Girl, which peaked in the Top 40 (#36) on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart. The accompanying music video has been viewed on her YouTube page over 132,000 times and made its premiere on The Country Network. It also ran across many national TV affiliates including The Heartland TV Network. This tune, which she co-wrote, boasts an engaging storyline of hard-word and genuine passion in pursuit of her dreams. This opened up doors to her performing at numerous industry locations including the Music Row office and was also on a full-fledged radio tour, visiting stations in Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, New York, among others in support of the single.

Both the song and video for Run Girl were produced by Nashville entertainment veteran Jeffrey Teague of Artist & Repertoire and is available on iTunes and all major retailers. Currently, she has been expanding her repertoire by writing and recording new material for a follow-up single and EP to be released soon.

In addition, this rising country songstress and social media sensation has been tapped as the first teen ambassador with The Jason Foundation for several years now. She is dedicated to raising awareness for suicide prevention through education and empowerment on behalf of this important non-profit organization in her shows and across her social media. This honor places Bailey alongside longtime Jason Foundation musical ambassadors, Charlie Daniels and Rascal Flatts.

Bailey’s genuine love for music and helping others shines through in everything she does and promises to only grow stronger as this teen continues her musical journey.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in a small town about an hour out of Philadelphia. Levittown, Pennsylvania. I don’t remember not ever being outside. I loved it.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have a distinct memory of driving in the car with my dad on my way to ballet or after school he would always sing a Johnny Cash Song. Folsom Prison Blues or I Walk the Line. That’s where my love for country music began, and I couldn’t have had a love for music at all if it weren’t for him.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

One time my parents and I got invited to a Halloween party, and that’s all we were told. It was a Halloween party hosted by Brad Paisley and Xbox. The party gift was an Xbox which I use way too often. My second story is short, but I’ve met a lot of artists but the sweetest one was also the most famous, Charlie Daniels. He took the time to talk to me when he didn’t need to.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was on my first radio show, and I was so very nervous. I remember him asking me questions and I would just nod. Not say anything. We were on air. It was absolutely dreadful, but I went back to see him this year, and it was a great laugh. I think I learned it’s okay to begin somewhere.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Finally Free has been absolutely amazing as a project. The Opry named it circle song of the week, and that was just amazing.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I think number 1 it is realistic, this world is a melting pot, and I adore all the different cultures and diversity. Hollywood sometimes likes to glam things up, but I enjoy the realism. Number 2 it brings us together and unifies us. We need that more than ever. Regardless of our skin color, we are people. Number 3 maybe it will change people’s perspective on different cultures and they can learn to appreciate everyone. It’s a good change for our culture. We are so used to playing it safe.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Always have a backup plan. — I’ve had many times when somebody didn’t show or I had to play more or less songs. Have a backup plan and you won’t be so worried.

2- The show must go on.- Never stop singing or playing in the middle of the song. Brush it off, act like nothing happened and joke about it after.

3- Don’t eat McDonald’s before a show.- just don’t!

4- The band is family, treat them like it.- the bond will show through in your music

5- Don’t take the negative comments too seriously- There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like you. Think about all the people who do. 🙂

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take time off when you need it. We all have times where we don’t want to do music. Something happened, we aren’t busy, etc. Take that time off, but keep writing, keep playing, keep listening. Never stop loving music.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Mental Health Movement. It’s happening, but I have a few ideas about some other things that could really help us, teens.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My parents. I’d be absolutely nowhere without them. They have sacrificed so much for me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“On stage, I make love to 1000 people and then I go home alone.” — Janis Joplin not exactly a life lesson quote but it sums me up.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Amy Winehouse’s parents.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find me @baileyjamesgang on all social platforms

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

    You might also like...

    Challenge//

    13 Tips to Help You Connect With Others and Strengthen Your Relationships

    by Thrive Studio
    Thriving With Music//

    5 Ways to Manage Stress With Music

    by Frank Fitzpatrick
    Community//

    “Nirankaar” by Snatam Kaur: CD Review

    by Ira Israel
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.