Bailey Hefley immediately felt at home after moving to Nashville eight years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas. Undiscovered Nashville became aware of Bailey after seeing her play at The Listening Room last year, and I was immediately a fan. “Dust on a Diamond” was Bailey’s first release in 2019, which was one of my favorite songs released last year. Undiscovered Nashville is grateful for the opportunity to share Bailey’s story with you.
Bailey Hefley Felt the Magic of Music
In every interview I conduct, I always ask the artist about the first moment they felt the magic of music. While the stories of singer-songwriters can be similar, this is unique to everyone. Hefley said, “When I was almost three, my babysitter taught me, “Jesus Loves Me.” My mom and dad came home and were blown away because I sang not only the first verse, but I went into all three verses. They would start clapping, but I just kept going. They thought maybe she needs to be in music. I told my mom I wanted to be a singer when I grew up, and she enrolled me in Kindermusik. I don’t remember it very well, but I do remember feeling the magic of music.”
If you think back to your childhood, you may remember the time you spent with your parents. For Bailey riding in the truck listening to music with her father was a particular time for her. Hefley said, “When I was nine, we moved out to our farm. We had these long drives into town. I would ride with my dad in his truck, especially after church on Sundays, that was our time. I would put my feet up on the dash, and he would play whatever CD he had. We listened to a variety, but specifically, remember listening to Leann Rimes’ “Me and Bobby McGee.” I started to go out and play that at the White Hall Tavern, where I would sing with a house band. It was the “diviest” of dive bars, but it was so fun.”
From Little Rock to Nashville
Bailey Hefley was no stranger to Nashville when she came to Belmont. The singer-songwriter said, “I have been coming to Nashville with my mom since I could convince her to drive me here. I had watched a documentary on Shania Twain when I was eleven. I remember sitting on the floor watching one of those big box TVs. Shania was talking about how she was discovered in a bar in Nashville. I had all these little songs, but I hadn’t written any yet. We found someone to record a demo in East Nashville. I took the demo to Music Row and venues looking to play.”
On one of her trips to Nashville, Bailey Hefley would meet Bobby Pinson. Bobby Pinson is one of the best songwriters in Nashville. Hefley said, “Bobby took me under his wing. He told me I needed to move to Nashville, and he taught me how to write songs. Bobby and his wife, Lucy, took us in. They advised us on the music industry. His number one thing was you have to move to Nashville. He said you are not going to make it if you live in Arkansas.”
Bailey Hefley originally moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University. However, after a year, she returned to Arkansas. The singer-songwriter said, “I attended Belmont on a voice scholarship. After a year, I could attend the University of Arkansas for a year and a half before moving back to Nashville.” Many songwriters are intimidated their first year in town, but not Bailey. Hefley said, “The big surprises of Nashville came as a teenager, but when I moved here, it felt like home. It wasn’t much of a whirlwind; it was a process.”
Learning the Craft of Songwriting
Bailey Hefley’s first experience with songwriting is unique. It is not typically someone’s first co-write is not with a writer as good as Bobby Pinson. However, those experiences were invaluable for Bailey Hefley. Bailey said, “Writing had not even been a thought for me until I met Bobby Pinson. We sat down and wrote a song together, and this was my first taste of songwriting. Talk about being thrown into the fire. He would zone out and close his eyes, and you wouldn’t hear much of anything but some small muttering of a melody.”
Hefley continued, “He was coming up with a map of a song. Bobby would come out of this trance, and he would record it. We would listen back, and he would fill in the lines. He did that for the first verse and chorus, and it was hard for me to jump in. I was this wide-eyed kid. He said we have the first verse and chorus, and I want you to go home and do the rest of the song by yourself. That was the first song I wrote, and I may record it.”
Bailey Hefley on Stage
Bailey Hefley was a performer before she began writing songs, and when you see her on stage, you can see how comfortable she is up there. Hefley said, “Performing for me is about connecting with people in a different way than any other setting. It’s a deep connection that I feel, and it’s genuine, and it’s going to sound impossible, but it’s almost a way to feel connected to a whole room of people.”
Bailey Hefley believes performing is more about the audience. Bailey said, “I love making eye contact with the audience, but it’s not about me. It’s about what feeling I can give them through a song. There is something special about that. I love the adrenaline rush, and I love seeing them bob their head and tap their foot. However, it is about sharing that feeling with them.” I have been in the audience while Bailey has been playing, she made your feel like she was singing only to you. Artists who make eye contact on stage can genuinely make you feel that connection.
Bailey Hefley: Music of 2020
Bailey Hefley followed 2019 releases “Dust on a Diamond” and “So That Girl” with five songs this year. The first single of 2020 was “+1.” She followed that with a remix of “Dust on a Diamond.” The remix was just as good as the first single. “Dust on a Diamond” was one of my favorite songs of last year. The next single was “Doing Time with You.” This song could have a negative connotation of a lousy marriage, but the concept flips it. The idea that marriage is like a prison sentence, but if you have the right person, doing time with them would be fantastic.
Hefley’s most recent singles, “Forever 20 Something” and “Gotta Find Out’ are legitimate hit songs if they gain some traction. Hefley said, “Forever 20 Something is probably my favorite song from the album. I wrote it with Robert Counts and Chuck Jones. Well, I am in my twenties, and I was thinking about not wanting to turn thirty. The idea came to me probably three years ago. I had just turned twenty-six, and I thought, oh man, I am on the other side. While walking by Forever 21 in the mall, and I thought Forever 21, forever 20 something. I wrote it down. Every time I think of an idea, there is a humbleness about it. I don’t know if anyone would want to write this. However, when I went in, I threw it out there, and they loved it.”
“Gotta Find Out” is Hefley’s latest single, written with Jamie O’Neal and Ava Suppelsa. The song recently added to the Wild Country playlist on Spotify, is another relatable song from the singer-songwriter. Radio Disney made “Gotta Find Out” the “let the girls play” song of the week. Bailey Hefley’s 2020 has been busy. While many artists pushed their projects back, Hefley had continued to release great music this year.
Fun Facts about Bailey Hefley
I asked Bailey to give me some fun facts about herself. Hefley said, “I used to be a barrel racer. Other than that, I can quickly memorize the words to any song, including rap songs. When a rap song comes on, people are surprised that I know every single word. I may have only listened to it a couple of times. I was at a restaurant with a magical piano, and the guy sitting next to me said you don’t like rap music. But, he hit play, and I was singing all the words.”
Thank you, Bailey
Thank you to Bailey Hefley for allowing us to tell her story. Since the first time I saw Bailey playing at The Listening Room, I have closely followed her career. Please check out Bailey’s new music on Apple Music and Spotify.