British Country is exploding everywhere right now. Not only was Country2Country bigger than ever this year, but there are now announcements of new Country specific radio stations and even more Country festivals popping up around the country. One of the most exciting talents to have appeared within the last 12 months is St Ives' Bailey Tomkinson. With her new single, 7 Minutes In Heaven, showcasing her folk-pop-country sensibilities, we decided to catch up with to find out more about this upcoming talent.

7 Minutes in Heaven is a real pop folk bop. What inspired it?

The jumping off point was probably watching the movie ‘13 Going On 30’. In truth, I just wanted to create something relatable and youthful, with a sense of fun. I love movies like ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ for the sense they have that in one, crazy night anything can happen. We throw some pretty awesome parties down here in St Ives, so I thought it would be interesting to try to capture that feeling in a song.

How did you decide it would be the first single to follow your EP, Hey Ace?

We had quite a hard time deciding whether to release “7 Minutes in Heaven” or “Last Kiss” first, I wrote and recorded them both around the same time. In the end we made a decision to go with the more traditionally Country sound of “Last Kiss” first, I wanted to show I could do that. We thought 7 Minutes in Heaven would have perhaps show a different, more playful side. I’m still a pretty new artist, I think therefore, it’s important to show range.

The song has a slightly different feel to the EP, was this a conscious decision?

A little bit of both. I think it’s a conscious decision to go with what I think is a natural evolution! I wrote Hey Ace when I was 15 so I think it’s natural my sound has changed and evolved from that point. My process is still the same and the intention is still the same, I want to write songs that people can relate to…but I guess, growing as an artist is about constantly seeking out new ways to do that.

What did you learn from releasing your debut EP that you have applied to the current single?

The importance of building a team around me, it really does take a village. I’ve definitely learned about the importance of having a network, the music industry is still so much about ‘who you know”.

Is the single a taste of what is to come?

Yes and No - I’m definitely going to keep pushing genre boundaries more and more, I’m pretty restless and I like to experiment, for example I’ve been experimenting a lot with 80’s synth on some things I’ve been working on lately, that’ll make it onto a record at some point!

If you had to define your sound, what would you say?

I’m a Country artist so the whole 3 chords and the truth thing is very much at the heart of what I do but I’m a British country artist, I tell stories that relate to my experience rather than an American one. I believe that British Country should be authentically British, not a watered down copy of American country, why would anyone want to listen to an impersonation, the real thing is available! My influences extend into Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, ABBA, Maggie Rodgers, The Eagles, Carole King…so you’re going to get some of that in there too!

Comparisons are inevitable in the industry. Who would you compare yourself to?

I get told that I’m probably most like Jewel in the way my voice sounds. Taylor Swift was a big influence and is still probably the benchmark. She’s a wonderful songwriter.

If you could work with any of the artists you named, who would you choose? Why?

Can I have all of them please? I’d also love to work with Billy Joel, he’s such a brilliant lyricist.

Where and when can we experience Bailey Tomkinson live?

I’m playing at Boardmasters in Newquay this summer which i’m super excited about. I’m making my London debut on April 13th at Luna Lounge too. Then there’s Stomp and Twang and Helly’s Guitar Festival, I’m pretty busy now although open to new bookings if anyone wants me to come play! (hint hint!) Check out my website baileytomkinson.com everything is up there.

How does your sound differ live to on record?

I tend to perform acoustically more live, I like the simplicity of a guitar and voice, it’s more personal and focused on the vocal.

Finally, if you could achieve one thing by the end of the year, what would it be?

Well, I’ve written a 5 year plan recently so I’ve got a bunch of things I want to achieve. But, and I know it sounds corny, most of all I just want to be happy, having fun, making and performing music, I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to do this for a living.

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