Personal Space: One on One

one-on-one-bailey-coatsA One on One Conversation with Bailey Coats

When Bailey Coats headed off to college at the University of Alabama, her mom gave her as a gift the diary she had kept of Bailey’s earliest years. “When I was three,” Coats says, “my mom had written in there, ‘You’re going to be a performer someday—I just know it.’ And so it’s kind of always been in my blood that this was going to be the path I would take.”

A Birmingham native and now sophomore at Alabama, Coats is starting to see her childhood dreams of becoming a successful singer/songwriter come to fruition. She’s played festivals and concerts around the country, released her first EP in 2014, and was recognized as one of the Top 8 Emerging Artists of 2015 by Kings of A&R.

But one of her biggest thrills to date hit closer to home, at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta between the Tide and Florida State September 2 this year. That’s when she was surprised to hear her single “American Girl” played over the loudspeakers, with her EP cover shown on the Jumbo Tron for all the stadium to see. As both an Alabama fan and budding musician, “I will never forget that as long as I live,” Coats says. She’s also set to play a CD release concert at Rounders in Tuscaloosa October 17, with proceeds to benefit the Nick’s Kids Foundation and victims of Hurricane Irma.

We caught up with Coats to ask her a few questions about where things go from here.

B-Metro: I’ve seen your music usually described as pop, but I can also hear some country crossover in there. How would you describe it?

Coats: For the longest time I was trying to find myself. I was trying to be country, country crossover, pop, pop rock, pop blues…but at this point in my career and moving forward, how I define the songs can be completely different from how somebody else defines the songs. And eventually, music is music, and good music is good music, so more or less my genre is defined by the people who listen to it rather than my defining it myself. I just get to write the songs and make the music, do what I love and what feels right and natural.

B-Metro: Are your particularly nervous about performing at Rounders? Does it feel different playing on your home turf?

Coats: Performing in front of your peers can definitely be an interesting experience. I’ve done this pretty much my whole life, with little talent shows and everything else, but people really have not seen the progress that I have made in recent months in my career and the type of show we are now performing. So it’s going to be exciting to see their reaction, and also nerve wracking, because you always want to make sure you do great in front of your friends and the people you love and care about. I’m excited to see what their reactions are going to be. Being in the entertainment industry a lot of people say, ‘That’s so sweet, good luck with that.’ But they don’t really understand until they see it live. So it’s going to be interesting to see how they all react to it. It’s going to be a good time.

B-Metro: Now that you have new management (with LUJEN Brands, an artist management firm based in Atlanta) and are seeing things really start to take off, does it ever feel like a lot for a 19-year-old to manage?

Coats: Oftentimes I feel like I lead a double life. But the thing is, this is the one thing in my life that has always been so concrete and has always been what I believe the Lord called me to do. And so regardless of feeling like I’m making a very mature career decision or having to act like an adult as well as a student and a kid in college…it’s the life I chose and the life I know that I want to lead. And people sometimes have a hard time accepting that…you’re 19, do you feel like you’re missing out? I tell them, I feel like I would be missing out if I did not pursue what I knew I was supposed to be doing. And so whether it’s a crazy business meeting that I have to go to in Atlanta or I’m trying to rush to class to make it on time and hang out with all my friends, I still somehow get the opportunity to manage both parts of life.

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