Bailey Bryan may have been wearing a Reba T-shirt when she took the stage at CMA Fest in June, but there was little else “country” about her set. And the 21-year-old Washington State native knew it. Since releasing her debut EP So Far in 2017 and its clever single “Own It,” Bryan had been slowly transitioning into a pop artist, writing lyrics and embracing sounds in the studio that were far afield from what’s being played on already poppy country radio.
“A week or so after that show is when my team came together and said, ‘OK, we’re pop now, right? Who are we kidding?'” says Bryan. “I showed up to a country festival and did what a lot of people would call a pop show and felt great about it. It gave me confidence to make that decision once and for all.”
On October 11th, Bryan will release her new EP Perspective, an unapologetic modern-pop project that captures an artist indulging her undiluted instincts. Among the five songs on the EP is the original demo version of the title track, which features the lyric “fuck my exes/they can leave a message.” When she released “Perspective” to country radio in May, prior to her CMA Fest epiphany, she changed the lyric to the more family-friendly “thinking all my exes.”
“I wanted something that a country audience would be comfortable with,” she says. “But as this project came together, I felt like the meaning of that song has evolved for me over time. It’s evolved from a love song to a self-love song.”
For the new EP, Bryan collaborated with pop songwriters like Wrabel (Kesha, Bishop Briggs) and Scott Harris (Shawn Mendes, Bebe Rexha), but she maintains the lyrical voice that first earned her attention as a new artist, co-writing each of the five tracks.
“I feel like I have an idea of who I am. Realizing how much I don’t know is a part of maturing, and I just want to have the room to create outside of the box. Calling the music pop instead of country, it just opens everything up for me to move and grow and change in a different way,” she says.
Ahead of the EP’s release, Bryan is premiering the original version of “Perspective,” which includes the demo vocal she recorded on the day she wrote the song.
“The decision to put out the demo version came from wanting people to hear where that song started,” Bryan says, “because I think it says a lot about where I’m going.”
Here’s the track list for Bryan’s Perspective:
1. “Songbird” (Bailey Bryan, Michael Hardy, Dennis Matkosky)
2. “Where We Started”(Bailey Bryan, Scott Harris, Wrabel, Smarterchild)
3. “Perspective” (Demo)(Bailey Bryan, Joe Ginsberg, Fancy Hagood)
4. “Watered Down” (Bailey Bryan, Jessie Jo Dillon, Blake Hubbard)
5. “Pressure” (Bailey Bryan, Joe Ginsberg)