Bailey Bigger got her start as a singer-songwriter when she released "Best Small Town" in 2013 at the age of 12, turning her into a bit of a local celebrity in Marion, Arkansas, a 15-minute drive across the Hernando de Soto Bridge.
Now, at the age of 20, Bigger is making a name for herself in the Americana folk genre, having released multiple singles and two EPs. Her most recent EP, "Between the Pages," released in October of 2019 under the University's label BlueTOMRecords and features songs about the uncertainties of young adulthood.
This year, Bigger said she was riding on a lot of momentum, having signed a new record deal, set to go on tour including festivals with more than 10,000 attendees.
"I was like, maybe this is starting to happen for me, you know,” she said. “Then just everything shut down."
Bigger said it is the energy and feedback from live performances that inspired her to do this for a living, and not having that has been difficult as an emerging artist.
"It was tough, you know, and when playing live and venues, there's always going to be a new face at that venue that doesn't know you, and you don't know them,” she said. “So you never feel like you're doing the same thing every weekend."
Like other artists and entertainers displaced by the pandemic, for a while live streams on Instagram and Facebook were the only way she was making money, Bigger said. It is far from the live stage, but "you have the same followers, and the same 10 ones will tune in every time, but they just stop eventually."
Sometimes, slowing down and stepping back is just what you need, understanding the world and yourself better. Bigger said the last six months have really allowed her to be at peace with herself and her art.
"I feel like a lot of good music will blossom from this,” she said. “Because if you're not in touch with yourself, I don't think you can write a good song.”
Her farm in Marion has always been an escape and a place for inspiration. In between raising free- range chickens, riding horses and sitting on the front porch, Bailey said, “it's just simple life and there's a lot of time to just be, which is really beautiful.”
While Arkansas is where her songwriting inspiration comes from, Bigger said having Memphis, a music city, 10 minutes away has allowed her to experience, progress and mature as an artist.
“I have a lot to thank the city for that,” she said.
Bailey said for a while she was only known in Marion, and until she got her first show across the bridge at the age of 15, an opening act at Otherlands Cafe in Midtown, “I just remember like my brother and I like freaking out because I was like, playing a Memphis show. That was a really big deal.”
Memphis has opened many doors for Bailey Bigger, especially in an industry that depends on connections. She is working on finalizing her third EP with Bruce Watson, a producer from Delta-Sonic Sound Studio.
Experimenting with sound on this upcoming record, introducing a bit more twang and soul, she said this record does not sound very country.
“I'm definitely open to being all kinds of genres. I don't want to stay in a box. Life's too short for that,” said Bigger.
The record, titled “Let's Call it Love,” is set to be released Dec. 5, followed by a music video for the lead single, “Weight of Independence.” It will be shot and filmed on her farm in Marion.