With a newly launched EP, west coast singer-songwriter Bailey Jordan-Neil is returning home with a particularly interesting early Christmas gift – a slew of local tour dates.
Currently based in Toronto, Pasadena native Bailey Jordan-Neil released an EP of original music in late August, titled Lucky. He’s bringing the material back to the island this December.
Speaking to The Newfoundland Herald, Jordan-Neil reminisced about his humble beginnings on the island’s west coast, and his big move to the mainland.
“I’ve been playing since I was about 15,” Jordan-Neil shared. “I had a musical family. We were always singing at family gatherings and stuff, but I never really got into it until I realized I could do it.”
He recalled his “a-ha” moment. “I was sitting in my basement … and I was watching videos of people performing, just doing the singer-songwriter thing. That’s when I realized you didn’t have to be like a rock star. You didn’t have to be Justin Bieber. You could just make music and have a career. So then I decided that’s what I wanted to do,” he recalled.
“Up to that point, I was in a bunch of different sports … I tried all these different things and it never really felt right. Nothing really stuck,” he added. “I always loved music and when I realized that I could just pursue music and that could be my life, I guess that since I was doing something, my parents were happy about that,” he added with a laugh.
Jordan-Neil’s first public gig was around the age of 14, at an open-mic held at the local high school. The show was put off by Paul Heppleston as a fundraiser for his daughter Stella, who was battling cancer. Jordan-Neil performed I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz.
“I probably started songwriting about a year into performing … then I got into like Ed Sheeran. His lyrics and his music is really great, and relatable. That’s kind of what got me into writing … I really like artists like John Mayer and Shawn Mendes, the pop-y rhythmic stuff … I really like fun, danceable music.”
Jordan-Neil’s six-song EP Lucky is available in hard copy and on iTunes, Apple Music, and Spotify. You can currently catch a set in Toronto, his adopted home.
“In order to spread the word of your music, until you have a following, you have to go out and just do it yourself. So I did that in Newfoundland for awhile. I was in Corner Brook, then the Deer Lake and Pasadena area. From there, I moved across the island to the St. John’s area …. Soon it got to a point where it felt like, in order to advance, I needed to move,” he explained.
“It’s possible to make a living with music, doing gigs and performing whatever you want, doing it however you want, whatever satisfies you. I really love sharing my music, so the more people I can share it with, the happier I’ll be. That’s kind of my goal, to just speak to people and build a fanbase who support my music and who want to listen. In order to do that, I kind of need to travel and perform in different places. So I’m trying it out in Toronto now,” he adds.
Paying your dues
“When I first moved up here, I was literally sleeping on my friend’s couches. I have an aunt who lived outside of the city, so sometimes I would go out and stay with her, but it’s expensive to get back and forth. I would busk to make a bit of extra money, and also to get the word out,” he shared.
Through busking, the young artist met like-minded creatives who passed on details of opportunities such as open-mic events.
While busking, Jordan-Neil made a connection that would lead him to performing at the Faculty of Sound Showcase Launch for industry professionals, and a panel of judges, with hundreds in the audience.
“I didn’t know anybody there, because again, I was new to the city. Totally new,” Jordan-Neil said. “There was a good crowd, and they were very receptive.”
The young singer-songwriter is hoping for another good, receptive crowd when he returns home this December, with a slew of shows planned on the province’s west coast. He’s hoping his positive media coverage will inspire people to check out his performances on the island.
“I love playing live, because that’s when you get real reactions, people coming up after the set and saying, ‘I liked that song,’ or ‘I connected with this lyric,’ stuff like that,” he shared.
When asked about what he’s heard from hometown crowds over the years, Jordan-Neil joked, “Well, my mom and friends love it!”
After having a listen, this writer will tell you that like Jordan-Neil’s mom and friends, you’ll love it too.
Catch Bailey Jordan-Neil at Rotary Arts Centre in Corner Brook on December 18, at Flynn’s in Corner Brook on December 19, at The Crooked Feeder Gastropub in Corner Brook on December 20, and at the Humber Valley Resort Beach House in Little Rapids on December 21.