NYU is home to a seemingly endless number of programs that emphasize a culture of creation and artistic expression. Generally speaking, being a student allows for a degree of exploration that isn’t realistic in most other stages of life. This past month, I was able to live in the world of Steinhardt junior, artist and songwriter Bailey Gore. Bailey, music business major, released his debut EP in 2018, titled “Brevity.”
I photographed Bailey in his daily life as a student and artist, and sat down with him to talk about his entry into music, his creative process and how he envisions his musical career moving forward.
Bailey started making music when he was about 13 years old.
“I was in New York for [that] summer and was semi-interning at a music studio there, and the guys there showed me how to beat-make, and so I’ve been making music ever since that summer,” Bailey said. “I got home and got a beat machine. The first stuff I made was all sample-based hip-hop instrumentals, which is kinda how I started making music on my own.”
Bailey’s production style developed a lot during the time he spent producing hip-hop while in high school. He is inspired by producers like J Dilla’s use of drums and his use of synths alongside hip-hop drums is inspired by artists like Kanye West. More recently, he finds that his writing style influences are based a lot more in pop and electronic music like James Blake, Frank Ocean and Jon Bellion.
In his junior year of high school, Bailey started collaborating on music with two close friends, Blake and Robyn, marking his crossover from beat-making to writing.
“We were just doing covers in Blake’s room before the three of us started making our own music,” Bailey said. “I really got into the writing side of things and producing more structured songs, and it really took hold freshman year of college when I took a songwriting private lesson here and was forced to write songs every week.”
Having accumulated an abundance of songs, he started working on a full music project.
“The biggest thing for me was coming to NYU [which] exposed me to a lot of music I hadn’t heard before,” Bailey said.
After arriving at NYU, it comes as no surprise that the first area where Bailey and his classmates were able to connect was their difference in music tastes. This opened up genres he rarely listened to before, which then influenced the type of music he started making and writing. Bailey started listening to more pop, indie and alternative music, expanding his list of favorites to include Cashmere Cat, Mac DeMarco, Clairo and Beach House.
Bailey also found his own drive to create bolstered by the intense work ethic he observed in the people he met.
“Being a young person creating, I really wanted to not just be sitting on these things and wanted to actually get them out,” Bailey said. “It helped being at a school where people are creating and distributing, displaying their work and not just keeping it to themselves.”
Bailey puts much emphasis on the visuals that accompany his music, focusing on album design and distribution graphics.
“A lot of it has to do with the fact that I am really interested in packaging, and the whole experience of music that’s not just through a stream,” Bailey said. “I’m obsessed with the Spotify canvas videos that play, where the album cover is a looping video. There’s something about having a visual tie to it, that’s evolving that I find really cool.”
Despite all his passion, Bailey is hesitant to fully commit to making music full-time. He has grown attached to the business side of the industry and helping develop other artists. But he still values using songwriting and producing as tools for confronting and articulating difficult emotions and situations that he is going through.
“As far as where I see it going, I don’t know,” Bailey said. “I’m not tied to the idea of always needing to release music and be that, because at the end of the day, no one is really waiting on new stuff from me, in my eyes, so I have the liberty to take things at my own pace, and make sure I’m really happy with everything I produce while I can still be.”