The much loved vocal queen, known for so many releases on the prestigious Hed Kandi label, Bonnie Bailey, finally releases her debut album on Fierce Angel and lucky us at DMCWorld get an exclusive chat to find out more..
A huge welcome to DMCWORLD Bonnie, where on planet earth are you today?
Hello Dmcworld! Thank you for having me!! I am currently in The Big Apple!! Manhattan New York!!
What is the best piece of new music you have heard recently?
I was just introduced to music by Royal Blood which I’m loving!! I’m also loving Jhene Aiko. I like starting my mornings listen to her music. I have a very eclectic taste when it comes to music.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard any new music from you, what have you been up to?
I took a break from music to regroup and spiritually evaluate my life. My Father battled cancer for a few years and passed away a year ago. He was my biggest fan and when he passed away I knew the thing he wanted most was to see me where I’m happiest and that is writing songs and singing.
Tell us about your early days when you first started singing and writing, who inspired you and what specifically turned you on to making dance music?
I was very into alternative rock initially… it was a slow transition to dance. I loved The Cranberries, Hole, Bjork and her unique style, Tori Amos’ s unique lyrics and Ani DiFrancos storytelling through song. Then one night I went to a small club called Vynl with DJ Danny Tenaglia spinning and there was a song that played called Under the Water by Brother Brown featuring Frank’ee. That song struck a chord in me and I just felt I had to record a track like that, I danced for hours and left that club drenched with sweat.
You’re about to release a collection of your work written with US producer legend Eric Kupper ‘Song BookVolume One’ on Fierce Angel, what gems have you got in store for us?
The ‘Songbook Volume One’ was produced by Eric Kupper. There are some familiar songs on there including ‘Ever After’ and ’Safe’ , but for the most part it’s more of a singer/songwriter album with acoustic guitars and a touch of of electronics swirled in. I love ‘Suga’ it has a great chill summer feel to it. ‘Invisible’ is on a darker plain – very moody and ‘Over The Ocean’ is one of my favourite productions done by Kupper on this album. Best to listen to on headphones, there’s an exuberant amount of ear candy on that track!
How did you first link up with Eric Kupper and what was he like to work with?
I first linked up with Eric Kupper through my very first connection in the music biz by the name of Dan Hetzle. Dan worked at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove NY. I initially walked into that studio when I was 16 years old and Dan was the first person I met. He introduced me to multiple Grammy and Oscar award winning music Producer Ric Wake (who appears on Volume 2 as music producer) I played some new music that I started working on and he suggested I meet with Richie Jones and Eric Kupper. Eric and I clicked immediately. I met with him in his home and the first song I recorded with him is called ‘Remember’, I actually played guitar on that track and we used some of the beats I brought in. It was definitely a magical music connection and we went on to write this entire album plus side projects of dance track for Hed Kandi.
Your singles have featured on hundreds of dance and chill out compilations around the world, how of come you’ve never released an artist album until now?
We definitely attempted to release several albums on different occasions. Unfortunately there were boring musical politics in the way and the music industry started to change. I was on the verge of signing a deal with Warner Brothers but the entire staff got canned from the VP to the A&R person that were excited about my new material on the day of signing. I’m a firm believer though that things happen when they are meant to.
Out of the whole collection please tell us your personal favourite and why?
Out of the entire collection my favorite song is ‘Surprised Beyond The Sky’ I wrote this song with a talented artist by the name of Moi Navarro who appears on a couple of diets on Volume 2. It is just vocal and guitar produced by Ric Wake. I love the message in that song. My intention was to write a song which provided shelter for someone going through a world of pain as reminder that you are not alone.
Tell us about the early days of Hed Kandi and how you got your first break with them.
I got my first break with Hed Kandi when I submitted a song called ‘Can Hardly Wait’, Mark Doyle loved it and placed it on the Winter Chill compilation (which was always my favourite).
Is there anyone you’d love to sing a duet with?
There are 2 artists I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a duet with, one is James Bay and the other is Ed Sheeran. My number one choice would’ve been Jeff Buckley although Moi Navarro truly has such a beautiful voice not dissimilar to Buckley and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to do a few songs with him in Volume 2.
Any tips for budding vocalists wanting to break into the scene today?
The main tip I’d give to a budding singer is to find their own sound, stay true to themselves and if possible try to learn to write your own lyrics. Let’s not forget that this is a business….know what you’re signing….understand friendship is one thing and business is another.
Which singers and producers are currently rocking your world?
I’m loving Yuna’s unique voice and style and I’ve always loved Kaskade’s music productions, he creates gorgeous textures of music that truly compliment vocals and lyrics.
What do you like and dislike the most about the current dance scene and what needs to change?
I’m happy to see lyrics and vocals coming back. There was a whole there that just kept getting approached to write a nursery rhyme hook that just repeated itself. It was not very inspiring as a singer or as a writer and also contributed to taking a break.
Looking back, what precious piece of music industry advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know today?
That’s funny umm business is business. To this day I always believe in being transparent and fair. Everyone involved should get what they deserve for the work they put in. The only way to see that happen is by being on top of your contracts, having a great lawyer that knows his stuff and being involved with the business portion as much as possible.
What’s in stall for Bonnie Bailey in the future that you can tell us about, have you any new music projects in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on my next album….preliminary stages. Writing new lyrics and sketching song ideas. Can not wait to get in the studio and record…. that is my favourite part of the entire process.
Fierce Angel Presents Bonnie Bailey ’Song Book Volume 1’ will be released on May 11th 2018 on Fierce Angel Records