Q&A: Bailey Wiley

Kiwi soul singer Bailey Wiley and her band are locked in to perform three gigs in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch this winter. What’s Hot New Zealand put some questions to her about her new self-titled EP, and what she is looking forward to about performing in her hometown Christchurch.

How did your musical career get started? I’ve always been singing – since I could open my mouth. I started writing and recording music when I was a teenager. But performance has always been a big part of my life.

You got to work with some great talent on your new EP – how much fun was that? So much FUN! Because these great talents are all good friends of mine. It’s important to me to share and enjoy the creative process with people I know and love. It’s also important to me to find the chemistry that can be shared between musicians. That’s really what creating this project was about – taking positive creative risks with good people when making the music I love.

You’ve really bared your soul on some of your new songs – how hard was that for you? Of course. Sometimes it’s really tough to speak your truth, let alone share these deep truths with an audience. It’s a process, that’s for sure. I really had to be brave when opening certain wounds. But that’s also part of being an artist – we live and breathe these traumas then share them with the world wrapped up beautifully in a tight bundle called a song. An odd concept but for some reason I find it truly therapeutic.

Soul and R’n’B are what you are known for – any other music genres you like to explore? Sure, I feel a real connection to hip-hop and as a vocalist I feel a deep connection to 90s R’n’B, but I think R’n’B is an obvious creative choice from me. Lyrically I’m inspired by hip-hop, I could listen to it any time any where. I love storytelling across all genres of music, old and new. I’m not a hater when it comes to different genres of music. I just think there are certain sounds I lean into more than others.

You studied performing arts in Christchurch – what are your memories of that? I was 21 when I graduated. Just a baby, so it feels like a long time ago. But I do believe going to Performing Arts School (NASDA) was the most valuable thing I could have done at that stage in my life. Teaching me new techniques and reforming old bad habits to make way for my future in music was a total win.

What are you most looking forward to about being back in Christchurch? Just being back in the city where I spent the best part of my teenage years. Connecting with old friends and sharing my new music. It’s a beautiful thing to share a new piece of who you are with the past. I can’t wait.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Stop smoking, be yourself and make more music.

Who’s your personal hero? Women ALWAYS. I love having strong women around me. They inspire me to be a better version of myself.

What album do you have on high rotation at the moment? Ari Lennox, Shea Butter Baby.

July 12 – Galatos, Auckland
July 13 – Fat Eddie’s, Christchurch
July 26 – Moon 1, Wellington