THE ROAD TO
Forever 20 Something
One of Bailey Hefley's first memories was as a three-year-old, telling her mother that she wanted to be a country singer. As a five-year-old, she took the stage for the first time, singing Shirley Temple's "Baby Take a Bow" at her kindergarten talent show. As a teen, Bailey was ready to begin fulfilling her dream of country stardom, drawing inspiration from heroes like Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, and Shania Twain, whose Live VHS tape captured her imagination.
What makes Bailey's journey so remarkable is shortly after her singing debut, she began having debilitating seizures. "Bailey's seizure medication helped quell the episodes," says Bailey's mother, Lisa Hefley, "but left her in a state of perpetual lethargy."
When Bailey outgrew the seizures at age 13, she remembers, "feeling awake and alive" for the first time. "I'd spent years observing, taking everything in, and longing for the day I would feel like myself again."
"I recall so clearly the moment I felt the fog lift. It was as if someone had cleaned the windshield of a car that had driven cross-country — twice. It was that dramatic. Every sense was brand new; I felt like I'd been given superpowers, and maybe having that 'observation incubation' was a gift because I value every little thing. I was given a new life that day, and I've never looked back."
Bailey stepped off the sideline and plunged headfirst into her brand new life with the same charisma, imagination, and tenacity that drives her today. Of course, at 13, her focus was cultivating real friendships, discovering boys, and even developing a love of horses, which ultimately led to a season of competitive barrel racing.
Bailey also experienced a creative evolution. Her parents had already recognized her vocal talent and knack for melody and lyrics when she was a child, but they quickly realized something brand new had blossomed. Soon, singing lessons, local gigs at the White Water Tavern in Little Rock, and trips to Nashville were on the family's calendar, and the teenager began co-writing with other artists and even tracked her first demos.
Doors opened, and doors closed, but Bailey drew confidence from small victories she garnered along the way, like opening for Hank Williams Jr. at Little Rock's RiverFest or besting Brett Eldredge in a local singing competition.
After studying voice at Nashville's Belmont University from 2009–2010 and continuing to pursue a degree at the University of Arkansas from 2010–2012, Bailey moved to Music City for good in May of 2012 — this time with her sights solely set on her music career.
Armed with a quick wit and charismatic personality that brings to mind the "Friends" era Jennifer Aniston, Bailey has shared her songs at writers' rounds and opened for artists including Old Dominion, Ashley McBryde, Deana Carter, and fellow Arkansan, Justin Moore. Her tireless work ethic has led her to hone her craft, resulting in her debut album, Forever 20 Something, produced by Brian Kennedy (Rihanna, Chris Brown, Natasha Bedingfield/Rascal Flatts) and Davix Foreman (Keyshia Cole, Timbaland, Nicky Jam) scheduled for release in the fall of 2020.
Each of the songs on the album was co-written by Bailey and rooted deeply in personal experiences ranging from being bullied as a child, to quite literally finding her voice as a teenager, and of course, the heartbreak that comes with first love.
The overarching theme, however, is hope. "Someone once said, 'sometimes you have to look back to look forward,' and that's what this project feels like to me. A brief pause to reflect on all I've been through, all I've been given, and all I've yet to do. I give my all, I learn, I grow, and I move ahead with either a blessin' or a lesson. My 2020 is not about hindsight; it's about a clear vision into my future and a hope that these songs can inspire others to chase their dreams and never give up on themselves."