Interview: Bailey Hefley – “Moving ahead with either a blessin’ or a lesson”

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Bailey Hefley
Photo: Jack Guy

Singer-songwriter Bailey Hefley recently released the lyric video for “+1,” a song about spending forever plus a day enveloped in true love.

When she was 3-years-old, Bailey informed her mother she wanted to be a country singer. By the time she hit her teens, she made her performance debut, followed by experiencing incapacitating seizures. The medication prescribed by doctors helped, but left Bailey listless.

Almost miraculously, she outgrew the seizures. Bailey shares “feeling awake and alive” for the first time. “I’d spent years observing, taking everything in, and longing for the day I would feel like myself again.”

She continues, adding, “I recall so clearly the moment I felt the fog lift. It was as if someone had cleaned the windshield of a car that had driven cross-country — twice. It was that dramatic. Every sense was brand new; I felt like I’d been given superpowers, and maybe having that ‘observation incubation’ was a gift because I value every little thing. I was given a new outlook on life that day, I’ve never looked back.”

Since then, she’s flourished, sharing the stage with Hank Williams, Jr., Old Dominion, Ashley McBryde, Deana Carter, and Justin Moore, as well as obtaining her degree from the University of Arkansas, and moving to Music City.

Presently, Bailey is putting the finishing touches on her debut album, Forever 20 Something, slated for release this coming fall. Speaking to the album, she says, “Someone once said, ‘sometimes you have to look back to look forward,’ and that’s what this project feels like to me. A brief pause to reflect on all I’ve been through, all I’ve been given, and all I’ve yet to do. I give my all, I learn, I grow, and I move ahead with either a blessin’ or a lesson.”

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Guitar Girl Magazine sat down with Bailey to find out more about where she’s been, where she’s at now, and where she’s going.

What three things can’t you live without?

Right now more than ever, soap. Two other things are a tinted moisturizer with SPF 30, and my daily devotional book.

What inspired your new single/music video “+1?”

I wrote “+1” about the hope of finding true love, which is something many of us long for and want to spend every day +1 with that person.

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When I heard the finished recording I just saw hanging pastel roses and knew I wanted to insert myself into them somehow. My friends and the director helped me bring the idea to life by helping me craft the set. Journaling is also important to me, and it felt right to show that side of myself in this video.

What’s your songwriting process? Melody first, or lyrics?

I love songwriting because it’s different each time, but I would say my most consistent method is falling into a trance-like state and letting my subconscious take over whilst strumming my guitar lightly and humming a melody with remnants of words and phrases into a voice memo on my phone. Voice memo is my best friend when it comes to songwriting because I almost never remember what I sang or said in the daydream state. It truly all comes from the deepest places, and I sometimes even surprise myself with what comes out, which is interesting. I’ll find myself thinking, oh wow, I didn’t realize how deeply I had buried that thought.

What do you hope your fans/listeners take away with them when they listen to your music?

Hi. This is me. This is real. I’m human. Some days are great and whimsical and others are completely horrible and feel like the-world-is-ending-and-I’m-crying-on-my-bedroom-floor. I have songs for both of those days and all the days in between. I hope you get as much healing and joy out of them as I did writing them because that’s why I’m in this crazy business. I want to heal others, and it’s not about me—it’s about the magic of connecting to someone I’ve never met through a lyric and melody that came out of the ether in a similar magical, mysterious way. It’s about that girl in her car driving home from work crying about the love she just lost, and turning on the radio and feeling some type of solace in the fact that she’s not alone. It’s about the person who feels misunderstood and alone until they hear lyrics that make them feel reassurance they’re absolutely not somehow. It’s about others. That’s why I write and release music—in the hope, I am able to give others the gift of a feeling that improves their lives in some way.

What kind of guitar do you play?

I have two Taylor guitars, and they are two of my most prized possessions. I’m so grateful for them.

If you could have any guitar, which would it be?

I already have my dream guitars. I always wanted one with Koa wood, and I now have that.

How did you get started in music? 

It’s always been in my blood. I remember “writing” my first song in my crib. It went, “mommy I love you mommy come get me,” on repeat. I guess I knew at a young age that crying would only get me so far (laughs). For me, it’s putting my thoughts and feelings to a melody that really gets the job done in regards to healing.

Bailey Hefley
Bailey Hefley

What’s the backstory there?

When I was in high school I started writing my own songs, which ultimately led to moving to Nashville at 21 to pursue a career. I wrote most of my first songs about the same guy that I had a huge crush on, and they involved everything from lamenting over the fact that he just considered me a best friend, to feeling my first taste of heartbreak when there was a glimpse of hope that went nowhere. I was obsessed with the process of writing a song and would pull out my phone and record voice memos anywhere with no shame.

Which musicians/vocalists influenced you the most?

So many, but to narrow down I would say, Jewel, Shawn Mullins, Shania Twain, The Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, and even classical music as my mom is a classical pianist.

Which artists are you listening to right now?

I love so many. I try to support all of my friends in town, and I love fellow Radio Disney artists like Kalie Shorr and Savannah Keyes. On any given day I listen to everything from Queen, Stevie Wonder, Mr. Big, and Jackson 5 to Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett, and Justin Bieber.

Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?

Funny you should ask, I’m actually a huge fan of a Spotify playlist titled, “Guilty Pleasures.”

Why make music? I mean what’s the point?

Honestly, making music is something, at the risk of using an intentional double negative, I can’t NOT do. I hope to make a difference somehow in the world, and use the gift that God gave me the best and only way I know how to.

What’s next for you?

With COVID-19 risks at the forefront of my mind, I will be self-quarantining and practicing social distancing until we are advised to do otherwise by CDC officials. I plan to journal, write songs, do concerts online, and clean out my cabinets with my newfound free time. I am trying to stay positive and make the best of the situation using this time alone to grow in my faith.

Follow Bailey Hefley Website | Instagram | Facebook | Spotify

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