Words by Kieran K. Meadows, Photos by Kevin Ornelas—
One of our top artists to watch for 2014, Liam Bailey became a LargeUp favorite last year with his feature on drum-and-bass kingpin Shy FX’s lovers rock throwback “Soon Come.” The 31-year-old singer-songwriter out of the U.K. recently announced that he’s signed to Sony Music’s Flying Buddha imprint, headed up by brilliant producer Salaam Remi. With backing from the man behind classics by The Fugees, Nas, Amy Winehouse and a whole heap of others, Bailey has just finished recording his debut album for the label. Remi says Bailey has one of the best voices he’s heard in his lifetime, claiming “This album is only the beginning— he is one of the greats, as you will see.”
Bailey made his U.S. debut this past weekend in Austin, Texas, appearing at Remi’s South by Southwest showcase alongside labelmates Collie Buddz and Mack Wilds on Friday night, before hitting Saturday night’s official Okayplayer showcase with Erykah Badu and friends. Live, he donned an electric guitar and, along with his three-piece backing band, ran through a solid set of heavily blues-influenced and 70s-tinged rock n roll. A genuine soul and authenticity came through his songs the same way it had earlier in the week when LargeUp spoke to him in New York City while en route from London to Austin.
In conversation, Bailey projects a quiet confidence, very clear on what his vision is. Born to a Jamaican father and British mother, he’s aware that he’s got a bit of a few different cultures in him. And that’s what he says he wants to come out naturally on his debut album, which he says will be released in September.