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Q & A Exclusive: Kayla Bailey Sees Herself as More than an Entertainer

Kayla Bailey

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Kayla Bailey has recently released her new single "March On Christian Soldier." The song, produced by Haxton Road Studios' Neil Greenhaw, was written by Bailey and is from her album titled "More."

In addition to touring and releasing her own music, Bailey is featured on the current radio release titled "Worthy" from "American Idol" Top 10 finalist Chris Sligh.

Bailey received a degree in Commercial Music from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2014, Bailey released her debut project, a full-length worship album titled "Prayers and Songs." Last year, the prolific songwriter released a collection of three albums intended to inspire love. The project included a pop EP: "You Loved," a praise and worship album, "More" and a Christmas EP, "Crimson to White."

Q:  Kayla, thanks for doing this interview with us.  Let's start with yourself, who is Kayla Bailey?

A: Haha, wow, start with the hard ones :) How does one sum up themselves in only a few words? Let's start with the most important thing: lover of the Creator. Being a daughter of the King drives everything about who I am and why I get up every day. And it's the reason I am a creator and an artist. I believe one of the best ways I can show others the Way is to reflect God's love through creation. So, at my core, I'm an artist, and that impacts everything I do, from cooking a meal, to writing a song.

Q:  How did you feel the calling to sing?

A: I felt the calling to sing when I was very young. I was probably around the age of 4 when I heard Amy Grant sing for the first time. I remember holding the cassette tape and thinking, "I'm going to be like her someday." And over the years as I prayed, God only continued to confirm that calling.

Q:  How would you describe your style of music?

My style is very eclectic as I grew up listening to varying styles and still continue to do so. At it's core though, my music is soulful and deep. I grew up listening to a lot of R&B and still do, so you'll always hear traces of those influences in my songs.

Q:  What really caught my attention when I listen to your albums is your wonderful use of titles.  Some of them are so intriguing that makes you want to listen to them, like "22," "Judas," "Seeds" and so forth.  Does songwriting come easy for you?  What sets you apart as a songwriter?

A: Well thank you! I put a lot of thought into every detail, including song titles. "22" was funny because Taylor Swift came out with a song with the same title that year and I was so mad! Haha :) But, though I knew that might throw some people, there's meaning. I was reading through not only Psalm 22, but many different Psalms and almost every time, verse 22 stood out to me and I incorporated a lot of verse 22's verbatim.

As a whole, yes, songwriting does come easy, but that's because I have found my groove. I never force a song. I let an idea marinate in my mind and heart for a while until I know what message I want to communicate. So, when my emotions relating to that topic are high and I feel as though I'm ready to burst, that's when I sit down to write it. 

I'd say what sets me apart from some, but not all writers, is 1. I love to use a lot of scripture and 2. I am not afraid to be vulnerable, sharing my personal hurts and shortcomings in a very raw, literal way. I feel the best way to connect with your listeners is to let them see the sides of yourself you wouldn't normally want people to see on a day-to-day basis. It's only then that you are able to truly be authentic as a writer.

Q:  Last year, you released 3 albums!  Tell us a little about each of these records.

A: Yes! It was quite the whirlwind! The first, You Loved, was a pop EP. Though praise and worship music are my focus, I wanted to write an album about love and heartache that would reach a different audience base. What's cool about it is, so many of my fellow worship-leader friends reached out after listening and told me how it helped them in their relationship with God. That was a pleasant surprise, and just shows how God can work through all types of music if you are making it for His glory!

The second, More, was obviously my sophomore worship album. When I wrote it I was in a season where I was really growing deeper in my faith and being challenged in new ways. So, in addition to being a record that challenges the listener to not "put God in a box" or stay comfortable, it also elevates the worship experience as a whole with more powerhouse praise songs that I wrote with the intention to be used during a time of worship in church.

The third EP, Crimson to White, was my first Christmas album. When I went into the pre-production process and began arranging the songs, my goal was to create an album that you could listen to year round. So much Christmas music has become very cheesy and empty and, as someone who can struggle a bit during the Holiday season, I wanted to create an album that would help the listener slow down, praise God for the miracle of His Son Jesus' birth, and remember whey they're doing what they're doing in the first place.  

Q:  On top of all that, you have sang with American Idol finalist and singer Chris Sligh.  How did you get to work with Chris?

A: Yes! Chris was living in the Chicago area at the time and working at my church. I can't honestly remember who asked who first, but we chatted about music and I asked him to join me for my album release concert and he asked me to sing on Worthy so it worked out great! He's such a talented singer/songwriter; I loved working with him.

Q:  You also have a new single off your worship album "More."  I think it's called "March on Christian Soldier."  Tell us more about this song.

A: Yes! The story behind the song is pretty simple. All who are in Christ face spiritual warfare regularly, whether they realize it or not. The song is a reminder to use the tools God gave you, as laid out in Ephesians 6:10-18, because, no matter what you are facing, the battle has already been won by Jesus Christ.

Q:  Last year, you had 3 records out.  What about this year?  Are you working on anything new now?

A: Yes! In keeping with my songwriting method, I am taking my time and writing as the Lord prompts me. He has been revealing bits of the theme and content of the next album lately, so I'm excited for some of the songs that are currently on my heart to write. God has also really given me the desire to write write, so in addition to blogging regularly, I'd love to complete a book in the next year.

Q:  How do you wish your music would impact God's kingdom and the lives of your listeners? 

A: It is my hope that those who don't know Christ would come to know His heart and character through my songs, and those that are in Christ would come to a deeper relationship with Him. To quote Handel, "I should be sorry if I only entertained them, I wish to make them better."

To learn more about Bailey, visit kaylabailey.com, like Bailey on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram

 

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