Liam Bailey is a singer-songwriter from Nottingham, loved for his jazz and blues-style sound. Best known for his collaborations with DJ Fresh and Chase & Status, his reggae undertones have seen him dubbed as the young Bob Marley. But with over a decade of musical endeavours under his belt, this guy’s sound is as varied as they come.
Things are heating up once again for Liam. With a host of new music, collaborations and tours with Paloma Faith coming up, his diary is jam-packed. After we managed to wake him up from his McDonalds-induced nap, we caught up with Liam ahead of the release of his newest single.
Tell us about the making of your new single Brother, why you gotta love her?
I found myself coming out of a really dark place, coming back from New York. For a long time, I just didn’t want to write anything, and I didn’t realise how long that had gone on for until last year. If you’ve ever struggled with mental health issues, it’s really hard to stop depression pulling you back in. So it’s different, this single. It’s been difficult, because I’m known as such an outgoing character.
Would you say it’s a different style to your other music, or does it follow the same sort of vein?
I think that it sounds a bit more current. I just fancied that fresh approach to it. I’m going to be releasing songs every six weeks or something. I’ve got an EP ready at the moment, but I’m not sure if I’ll be releasing it like that, or just keep releasing new tracks every so often. We’ve got a sort of gospel thing going on at the moment. I feel really positive about it. It’s been a long time, and I’ve been singing songs from the last album for years. There’s new energy behind this album, and there’s new management.
You’ve just been at a festival in Bulgaria – how was that?
Yeah, I just got back from Bulgaria. I did a festival called Meadow in the Mountains. The festival was good. It’s always strange when people are getting their tits out! We were there all weekend, and it was amazing. While we were there, I was on a mountain filming the video for my newest single, and it was so nice. It was like being on top of the world.
You're supporting Paloma Faith again. That must be exciting...
Yeah, that’s really good. She’s given me the budget to take these singers with me. I’m doing five dates with her, and then I’ve got my headline show after that. We were supposed to be doing a headline show in July, but because they offered me these dates, we changed it round. It’s really different this time: you take care of things yourself and you get the results you want. I’m so excited about playing, definitely. And there’s a few more Chase and Status songs to go.
What kind of set are you putting together for the tour?
Showcasing a lot of my new stuff. There’ll be a lot of backing singers and the band will be bigger. I can’t wait. I’ve never had a backing singer on tour before, so it’ll be the full show. And then my show is at the end of the tour. I’m looking forward to doing my own show. We did a really good show at Rescue Rooms last year, and I thought no one was going to come, but it was like ¾ sold out, which is good, it was a surprise.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
The best gig I ever played was at the Union Chapel in London, which was a sold-out show. It’s like this really amazing church, and it was the pinnacle of that chapter of my life, I think. That was a really special night.
It’d be good to play a church again, with the gospel edge to your new music?
Exactly. I’d love to play it again, because I remember thinking "Oh, I’ll be working in Aldi next week". So it’d be good to go back and prove myself wrong. I’d absolutely love to play the Nottingham Concert Hall as well. But it’s all still possible.
What’s your favourite spot in Nottingham?
Where the arboretum is, there’s a nature reserve. That’s where my grandad used to take me when I was little, and that’s the first thing that comes to mind. I also like the Hockley Arts Club a lot. Notts has a really good vibe now, it’s different to a few years ago.
Do you miss it when you’re in London?
Well, I’m in Nottingham a lot to see my mum. But I love London as well. I’ve been there for 12 years. I can’t really answer that question, because when I’m in London I’m seeing a lot of my friends. And I see a lot of my Nottingham friends in London too. That happens a lot more than it used to.
You’ve collaborated with some huge names. Who would you most like to collaborate with next?
I’ve got collaborations coming, so you’ll find out soon. Don’t worry.
So, it sounds like your diaries packed?
Yeah, it is, which is good. I’m better busy than I am not busy.
Liam Bailey's new single Brother, why you gotta love her? will be out Friday 17 August.