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New Star Statements / Elles Bailey

 

 

Elles Bailey

Elles Bailey, Singer-Songwriter

www.ellesbailey.com

 

 

 

Biography - Elles Bailey

 

Elles Bailey : Wildfire


Bristol-born blues songstress follows fateful path to deliver debut album.

 

Whilst some tread a somewhat meandering path to discovering their vocation in life, there are many for whom the chance to fulfil a role that was truly meant for them, remains ever elusive. For the very rare few, life's calling is distinctly inherent; appearing almost as if their fate were etched into their DNA. For Bristol-born singer songwriter Elles Bailey, that seems undoubtedly the case.


At the tender age of just two years old, Elles contracted both viral and bacterial pneumonia. It was to prove near fatal. On arrival at Bristol's Southmead hospital, her parents were bluntly informed that she would need a tube inserted in her throat within the hour, in order to survive. The immediate problem allayed by a rapidly enacted procedure, little Elles was far from out of imminent danger. Twice her lungs began to collapse, and in fact she was to spend much of the subsequent months incapacitated in hospital, as her frail body struggled to repel the vagaries and complexities of her condition. Inevitably, Elles' mother Lynne and father Richard lived in a perpetual state of fear and high anxiety.


Blessed with an inner strength that was later to become all too apparent, and thanks to the great care of medical staff, one day at a time, Elles was to recover. Dubbed 'little miss miracle' in the local press, the now three year old was allowed to return home and begin the long recuperation, learning how to walk and function normally again, having been bed-ridden for so long. That her recovery was completed seemed nothing less than miraculous; yet the experience was to leave its mark in another way.
Lynne and Richard had been surprised at the husky tone of their daughter’s voice post-treatment. A visit to an ear, nose and throat specialist revealed no permanent damage, but as the specialist himself put it "if she ever wants to sing, she’ll be a natural blues vocalist..!” No one in the room at that time could possibly have realised the significance of the remark.


Growing up with a family immersed in the music of west coast Americana, and father Richard playing in a bluegrass band, it comes as no surprise to hear the influence this had on the young Elles; "Mum and dad had really eclectic taste. Everything from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to Ike & Tina Turner via Howlin’ Wolf. And it gripped me from the outset. There was something raw and honest and guttural that spoke to me, even then as a little girl growing up in the outskirts of Bristol," she laughs now. "I guess a lot of kids first experience music through the tastes of their parents, and I was no different. The fact that I could go and watch dad's band in the flesh, and play these incredible records he used to put under my nose, just made the connection so much more real."


It wasn't long before Elles and brother Henry were writing songs of their own and playing in bands together. Their musical explorations blended their upbringing with a reflection of their own era, taking in the likes of the Kooks, Jason Mraz and Ryan Adams. It was ever apparent though that the budding writer in Elles was always to return to her Americana roots. It was to prove her compass reference point, a place of comfort and expression.


By the time of her early twenties, now having struck firmly out on her own, Elles was ready to record and release her debut EPs, the brilliantly blended ‘Who I Am To Me’ and further accomplished ‘Elberton Sessions.’ The EPs were to be the first major showcase of the raw and gravelly voice with which her early life experience had blessed her. Bookended by a touring schedule that took in legs across Europe as well as the UK, it was a period of honing her craft; what many a musician would recognise as that of 'paying her dues.' Tours with Wille & The Bandits, and festival appearances alongside Lisa Simone, The Mystery Jets & Wilko Johnson took her performances to a new level, as well as creating themes, time and space for an album writing process. A debut long player was an inevitability.


The actual recording process came about quicker than expected when a planned family road trip across the Southern States saw fate intervene once again. Elles takes up the story, “We had arranged to cut a demo in Nashville along the route. You know, ‘when in Rome’ and all that..? But what was intended to be just the solitary track took on a life of its own. Before I knew it, boom, we had a whole album!”


In fact it was a little more than that. Produced by Brad Nowell at Blackbird Studios, ‘Wildfire’ was recorded by a host of Nashville’s finest; including Grammy Award winner and two-time CMA ‘Musician of the Year’ Brent Mason on guitar, three-time ‘Musician Hall Of Famer’ Bobby Wood on piano, joined by Chris Leuzinger (Garth Brooks) on guitar, Mike Brignardello (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Amy Grant) on bass, Wes Little (Stevie Wonder, Melissa Etheridge) on drums and even legendary Ivor Novello Award winning songwriter Roger Cook came on board to help add some extra sparkle.


As producer Nowell himself puts it “We wanted to make sure that the quality of Elles’ voice was backed by the very best musicians in the world. We originally shot for making just a few songs; I never imagined that everyone would gravitate so strongly to her, devoting the extra time and energy to make a full album!”


Yet that is precisely what happened, and it rapidly became apparent that plans for the rest of the road trip had to be put on ice. When Wood, the pianist for the likes of Johnny Cash, Dusty Springfield and even Elvis says “Elles is one of the most soulful artist I've heard in years,” you know its time to stop what you’re doing and pay attention.


‘Wildfire’ is a proper record then, showcasing Bailey’s ‘lived in’ vocals every much as you might hope and expect, allowing her to convey the impact, the vulnerabilities of her subjects; but always with a focus on the song, not the singer. Witness the calculating revenge of ‘Barrel Of A Gun’ or the withering attack on modern-day materialism that is ‘Shackles Of Love,’ and it becomes clear that this is a writer who knows how to tell a story. Written specifically about Janis Joplin, ‘Girl Who Owned the Blues’ almost literally drips in the solitude of its subject matter.


"The song is the thing.” Elles explains, “That's the theme that runs through my music. I've only known the notion of storytelling through song, so it's completely natural for me to continue in that long tradition." Its one of the reasons the Nashville band stuck around the studio for far longer than planned. As guitarist Brent Mason said after the event, “Elles just knows how to milk each and every drop of soul that a song can muster.”


And so it is then that the miracle girl, the one with the ‘made for the blues’ voice, gets to drop her debut album. As steeped in soul, in yearning country as much as it is in the blues, Elles Bailey herself prefers to refer to the storytelling, and letting the audience decide exactly where she fits in. Fateful it may be, but ‘Wildfire’ is no less of an album for it. For the artist, it is a marker; Elles Bailey has arrived.

 

StarStatements.com möchte sich bedanken bei:
Elles Bailey
& Mark Dehler
( NETINFECT, Promotion & Marketing )

Frank Gerber
Star Statement / Celebrity Statements

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