Brand Bailey: Me, my selfie & I

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It seems ages ago but barely 12 months back, no -one knew Bailey McConnell, writes Sammy Jones.

Like many youngsters he had a passion for music and a dream of turning that into success.

He had started to make headway too – City Nights was the first to write about the young talent with a remarkable ability to pen a great tune.

Then, almost in the blink of an eye, the MK hopeful was playing before millions on Britain’s Got Talent.

He was even afforded that Simon Cowell ‘whiter-than-white’ grin.

He didn’t win the TV talent show, making it as far as the semi-finals.

But believe you and me, Bailey is the real winner.

This week he is out on the road, on his first ever tour.

His sound has matured, his passion for music is unbroken and he has a fervant, faithful fanbase.

It’s that fanbase that keep calling his mobile when we sit down to chat in his rehearsal room on the eve of his tour.

“I keep getting random calls all the time,” he says, letting the call go unanswered.

“... every few minutes.”

Take us back to that BGT audition. How was that for you?

“Because I had watched the show that many times before it didn’t feel real,” he says, polishing off a pizza lunch.

“The only thing I can compare it to is when you are on a scary ride for the first time. When the harness comes down and you get that rush, that feeling...I still get the same feeling now, every time I step on stage.”

When he steps onto the stage this week, he’ll not be alone – Mark Goff, member of three-part harmony makers The Shures, has been brought into the fold.

“...I’m bringing in a new element,” Mark said, explaining the role.

“When you are doing something on the scale that Bailey is, it’s good to have a new sound, something different.

“I think this tour will give him a burst as a musician and push him along too...”

Bailey: “When you have someone on stage who is able to play different instruments – like Mark – it opens up a whole new playing field.

“That’s what we want to get over on the tour...”.

Those who rock up to see him in Newcastle and Manchester will also get to see fellow MK singer-songwriter Tony Hill, (below).

He himself has been scouted for BGT four times, and shifted more than 1300 copies of his single Love Me So, independently.

Tony will benefit from being exposed to a fan base that plenty of artists could only dream of – already 107,000 follow Bailey’s every move on Twitter!

“My fans are amazing,” he says with a big grin.”
And they are generous too.

He tells me of the confectionary cupboard he has at home with hundreds of pounds worth of chocolate piled inside, and a bedroom packed so tightly with gifts and cards from fans that you can’t get a second person inside. He has even gone Tom Jones and had underwear thrown on stage!

But occasionally things are more difficult: “Sometimes I get in-boxed by fans who say ‘If you don’t message me I’m going to do something silly,” he says with a pause, “That can be quite hard to see.

“My mum tells me not to let that stuff fester, but it can be hard to deal with...”

These days, our 15-year-old success – he doesn’t turn 16 for a few more weeks – is unable to pop into town like the average teen.

His every move is followed by devotees. He is the king of ‘selfie’ snaps too – and has featured in literally thousands with fans.

Now that BGT is a distant memory, Bailey is knuckling down with big plans for the future.

“All I really want is for people to understand my music,” he says before Mark and he give me a rendition of brilliant new track Crystallise.

“It isn’t about me in particular, it’s about a friend who was going through a really hard time and got to the point where they’d had enough, and thought ‘I can’t do this anymore...’

“It’s a very, very deep song and I immerse myself in it every time” he says.

Post tour, exciting tour opportunities are on the horizon, and a debut album is waiting to be recorded, with all material self-penned.

Brand Bailey – much to the delight of that fervant fan base – is here to stay.