Eighteen-year-old Bailey Bryan recently released her debut album “So Far.” Bryan was born in Sequim, Wash. and has been interested in music since she was very little. At 7 years old, she was performing in her church—and at age 12 she was writing her own songs. During an interview with All Music, she discussed how she enrolled in a workshop directed by Becki DeVries when she was 15. DeVries, noting the young artist’s potential, decided to take her on as a mentee.
The teen proved so successful, especially online, that at 18 she moved to Nashville where she entered in a publishing contract with Warner Music Group and signed with 300 Entertainment. Rolling Stone describes her as a mix between Carly Rae Jepsen and Taylor Swift. The magazine also noted that “this is country for the Snapchat generation, so lonesome they could [sadface emoji].” Luckily, Bryan’s a whip-smart lyricist with a good grasp on how to capture emotion both melodically and online — enough so that Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott nominated her as a “Grammy Artist of Tomorrow.” Bryan replied with, “But I am also really passionate about hip-hop — Chance the Rapper and Drake are some of my biggest influences. I appreciate hip-hop because it’s another genre where really honest storytelling happens.”
Rolling Stone also equated the rising star’s hit “Own It” to “a Sam Hunt ‘House Party’ where the kegs are filled with cola, not Coors.” They certainly weren’t wrong. This song is great and right on target with the younger generation, from iPhones to needing GPS and high tops. Her music video is also super fun and in with the “it” crowd. It is all done in the style of an iPhone’s functionality. There are pictures and clips in messages, Snapchat stories and even Instagram bits. This is a creative and fun lyrical masterpiece.
The teen continues to show her fresh style in her single “Life Goes On.” She has a great knack for storytelling, providing a lot more exposition than many artists these days (favoring a more repetitive style). This song feels more tailored to women who don’t feel like they fit in, but can work as a confidence boost for anyone.
“Scars” is the album’s most solemn addition. You might not like this one as much. The words and the story are lovely, but it feels that the melody paired with it could have been taken in a more unique direction as opposed to trying to match the rest of the album so much. This is the only downfall to the album, it all has a very uniform sound and the only real signifier between songs are the words.
She has a great sense for lyricism, but has an odd sound when you try to squeeze her into the country genre. It’s obvious why her interviewers compared her to Taylor Swift—and why many could see her switching over genres at some point. Until then she is a vibrant beat that mixes a country feel with a pop feel. Her songs are definitely more tailored to female audiences, but certainly take a look and see what you make of the album.