Steve Holley Speaks With Incredible UK Singer Songwriter, Elles Bailey

When you watch some artists perform, one of their songs might spring to mind. For me, and this is more because I’d never seen the artist play live before, a song by Carrie Underwood sprang to mind! When Elles Bailey takes to the stage with her husky blues country voice rocking a to die for jump suit and takes a live audience along for the ride, the only song I could think of was ‘Poor Everybody Else’, in fact I think Elles would do an awesome cover of it. I was lucky enough to see this UK artist smash The Black Deer Festival recently and can’t wait to see her play again. Until then, I got to ask her a few questions. 

EP: Well, here we are a week after The Black Deer Festival and your triumphant set on Sunday. I know you have a busy schedule ahead, and that you’ve supported the brilliant Lukas Nelson & POTR who also starred at the festival, what memories will you take from last weekend’s event?

EB: Gosh there are so many. Watching Bonny Light Horseman with my husband and friends True Strays was pretty special. I knew nothing about them but now are my new fave band. Also watching Demi Marriner smash her set at Hayley’s bar. She won the emerging artist prize however she proved that she’s very much arrived! Obs my set felt pretty darn amazing too – to see the audience rammed in as well – it was defo a highlight moment for me. 

EP: It was brilliant to see you pay tribute to Vera Black on stage and I think the story behind her touching appearance is one that should be shared if you don’t mind? Vera is a staple at Country music festivals and it’s always lovely to see her and her family, especially given that her own childbirth came with its own difficult journey. 

EB: Yes, Vera’s journey into motherhood was filled with huge challenges but It was wonderful to see little Bobby running around the festival. I actually brought my first Vera Black hat at Black Deer 2019, but it wasn’t until 2021 that I really got to know Vera when she styled me for a photo shoot. 

It was about four months after giving birth and I was feeling incredibly nervous about going out in front of the camera to do press shots for my upcoming album release. ‘Shining In The Half Light’ is the first album I’ve released without me on the cover and that was all because I didn’t feel confident enough in front of the camera. I chatted with Rob, the photographer and we were talking about style and he said, ‘Why don’t we get Vera involved?’ I said ‘Yes, 100%!’ 

Vera came up with a mood board and this image for me in a white suit that was quite exposed at the top. I would never usually do that; I didn’t feel comfortable with it. So, Vera sent me some tops and I bought a white jacket.  And I thought, oh, wow this actually looks good! I can honestly say she really helped me own my figure, which I was really struggling to do. Which I have always struggled to do. I’ve always battled my weight and stuff and now after working with her I feel the most confident I ever have, even though I am much bigger than I used to be.

It was really nice to have Vera at my set at Black Deer and then to pay tribute to her. She is an incredible woman, and I am very proud to know her. 

EP: One of my takes always from Americana is that the quality of the musicianship on show is amazing. Does that make it easier being surrounded with such brilliance or is that an added motivation/pressure. Demi on additional vocals in particular was super!

EB: It is very nerve wracking playing in front of your peers and so I was particularly nervous all of the Sunday before my set, especially because everyone is so very talented. Knowing that I have such an amazing band does put me at ease for sure – but I’m not gonna lie – I was nervous and I don’t usually get nervous! 

EP: It must have been a great thing to share the songwriters round. I’m a huge fan of Drake White. Is the collaborative nature of Americana something that you enjoy? 

EB: Yes, that was an amazing opportunity for me and all the artists on stage were fabulous, it was really inspiring. So much of Americana is collaboration and I adore that about it. I was chatting with Amanda Shires after my set, and she said ‘ we are stronger together’ – that is all truth. 

EP: I noticed that you’ll be back in Kent in Maidstone in late July. Do you have a busy gig and festival schedule ahead and is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to or do you just enjoy every moment of live performance. From Sunday, your positive energy on stage felt like an almost physical thing.

EB: I am really looking forward to coming back and playing Maid of Stone festival. I have a nicely busy schedule but it’s not too busy which is great. It’s been very busy these last few months, so my festival schedule is feeling pretty good to be honest. A nice balance between home time and stage time. 

I’m a live artist – I really enjoy being on stage and connecting with this audience is that setting – there nothing better IMO. 

EP: For someone who obviously loves live performance, lockdown must have been difficult. Did you feel like you were ‘shining in the half light’, to purloin the name of your new album, and has that made you enjoy the live performance even more, if that’s possible?

EB: Shining in the half light was inspired by all of those who got in front of a camera and connected with the online audience during that totally dystopian time (including myself), so the fact that we are back now, and it FINALLY feels like we are – that feels pretty darn great! I missed it and I have defo enjoyed it even more since but that may be because I am really proud of the album we created during that time, so it’s been super fun to tour it. 

EP: Your husky blues voice is one of your trademark features and yet it’s the result of an early almost tragic episode in your life. Does that make you believe in taking the positive from the negative in all things ? 

EB: 100% I am a glass half full girl for sure. 

EP: Finally, and this is on behalf of my wife, where did you get the amazing jump suit you wore on stage at Black Deer? Looking at your Instagram posts, it’s evident you love them ! 

EB: Haha – everyone asks me this – Joanie Clothing – I was scrolling on Instagram around 1am after a show and they advertised at me and I was immediately hooked – they got me for sure – I bought 4 jumpsuits that night! I think I need to be endorsed by them haha! 

EP: Thank you so much and good luck with the Summer’s music.

Find out more about Elles Bailey and her music online on her official website.

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