Bristol-based Elles Bailey has a talent for crafting and seamlessly weaving rootsy blues, country, and soulful rock, with a contemporary edge. What’s more fate has blessed her with a ‘smoky vocal’ style that perfectly fits her music. Now, the miracle girl with the made-for-the-blues voice is about to release her debut album, ‘Wildfire’, on 1st September, 2017.
We got a chance to speak to her and began by asking her about her upcoming live dates.
You start the next part of your tour in Leeds on August 26th. How are preparations going?
I’ve basically been on tour for most of the year, so it’s just picking it up and carrying it on really. It’s all prepared and ready!
Have you enjoyed touring round?
It’s been amazing! I think I’ve been to seven countries this year so feel blessed to all the different places that I’ve been to.
How would you describe your live set?
It’s loud, it’s intense, there’s lots of lovely guitar playing from my guitarist Joe. It’s quite a varied set. I mix and match between songs so I think there’s something for everyone.
You recorded a lot of music in Nashville; what was that experience like?
That was mind-blowing really. I got to work with some of the best musicians in the world. I’m not going to lie; it was all a bit of a blur, but it was just a fabulous experience [and] I’m releasing that album on the 1st September, so really looking forward to getting that out there.
How would you describe your upcoming debut album ‘Wildfire’?
It’s a mixture of rootsy-blues and country rock. It’s got some really nice country rock guitar playing, and I made sure I put my British guitarist Joe on there because he’s such a big part of my sound. He’s got a really dirty grungy sound to it, so it’s kind of a mixture between the British side of me and the smooth American side as well.
Did you have a lot of the album planned before the studio sessions?
I had all of the songs prepared. I actually wrote a couple of songs whilst I was out there which were never meant to be on the album; I’d already had the album done. I wrote these two songs and people were like ‘you’d be stupid not to put them on the album’ and actually the [song] ‘Same Flame’ is one I co-wrote out there and that’s ended up being a single and I’m really glad that I put that on the record.
What was the inspiration behind your single ‘Same Flame’?
I wanted to do a kind of dirty country-rock song. It’s about a passionate relationship, one that is just as destructive as it is passionate and I’m sure lots of people have been there and can identify with those types of feelings. “Passion and pain / It’s all in the same flame”, and that’s how we came up with that song.
What was it like recording the video?
It was pretty crazy! It looked like we did it in America and I was actually in America just before I filmed it, but I actually flew from LA to Spain and actually filmed it in the Spanish desert rather than in the Californian desert. It was really fun and I had a blast doing it. I love filming music videos, so any excuse, especially when you get to go to the sunshine!
You’ve had some great reactions recently in the country music magazines; that must be great to see?
It’s a funny thing. I recorded this album back in September 2016. I’ve had it in the background for a long time and I’m so ready to release it now but the scariest thing is when you send it out to the press and they’ve got all their reviews to do before you actually release the music and I’ve just been totally overwhelmed at the critics’ reaction to it. Maverick gave it five stars, which blew me away, and I feel humbled. But it’s all about the amazing team that helped put the record together; the team in Nashville and the UK. Plus I have a wonderful PR team who are doing the releases, so kudos to all of them!
You’re also running a campaign on Pledge Music. Has that been helpful to you as an artist in reaching out to your fans?
Oh yes. I’ve been amazed by what Pledge offer. The main reason I’ve done this is to really connect with fans in an interesting way. Basically if you pledge online you get opened up to this VIP area where there’s exclusive videos and content available, only to the people who pledged, so they get something more than just an album or a download. They get to see the recording as it happened as I recorded everything and made these cute little videos. It’s quite a nice thing actually; I’d recommend people to pledge. Of course I would!
Finally what are your big ambitions for the rest of the year?
I don’t really know! I’m touring until the end of the year so it’s hard to really think beyond that, but I am actually taking part in something called the UK Blues Challenge, and if I win that I get to go to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge and also to Europe. It would be amazing to win that and get to travel to perform in Memphis; that would be a pretty cool thing. There’s five bands and we’re playing at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and there’s six judges, so it’s kind of like the Blues does The X Factor, I guess, but way more cool! It’s going to be something very interesting, and the competition’s very good so whoever wins it, it will be a great achievement. But it’s something high on my list.