Bailey Bryan

“A whip-smart lyricist with a good grasp on how to capture emotion” - Rolling Stone

“It came from a place in me that I didn’t even know existed,” says Bailey Bryan of her soulful, “Perspective.” “It’s the first love song I’ve ever written.”

The charming and confident cut avoids the super saccharine clichés that litter other heartsick missives—something Bryan said was important to her. “I’d rather be real and express who I really am, than put out something sappy,” she explains. “And the reason I like this one so much is because it really captures the core of what I think real love should be: something that reflects back on you and makes you see yourself in a positive light.”

And while a unique relationship inspired the first kernels of the song, Bryan says she recorded it with another group in mind. “There’s just some really thoughtful, sweet people that have become fans of my music,” she says. “When I started thinking of it from that perspective I was like, ‘Man, I want to dedicate this song to those people.’”

The cut arrives as the title track to Bryan’s forthcoming EP, due out October 11. A follow-up to her 2017 debut, So Far, the four-song collection sees Bryan embracing a technicolor pop landscape. “Now that I’ve gone through [releasing an EP before], I know what I like. So, it was important for me to find a producer who was going to be okay with me being in the studio 24/7, just saying my ideas.”

Post Malone and SZA served as metaphorical North Stars throughout the process for Bryan and producer Clint Lagerberg, as did former indie rockers-gone-big league-band Arcade Fire. So together, they culled Bryan’s favorite musical moments— “I’d reference a drum sound in a hip-hop song, and then a guitar sound in a Fleetwood Mac song”—and weave them behind her words. “I was like, ‘How do we translate them into Bailey?’”

The answer arrives, beautifully, with each razor-sharp song. On “Where We Started,” which yearns for respite from an ongoing relationship rough patch, she embraces warm acoustics, sweeping atmospherics and even cityscape sound recordings. “I wanted that song to sound like New York City,” the singer and songwriter explains. “It’s such a romantic place for a dramatic love story to happen—I wanted listeners to feel that.”

With the swirling, synth-laden kiss-off “Watered Down” comes Bryan’s most self-actualized statement yet. “You get a lot of people telling you things like, ‘You’re great. What you do is cool—but the way to make it work would be to tone yourself down,” she explains. The song refuses that suggestion. “What you get, if you do that, is a puddle. This is me deciding that it’s okay that some people aren’t going to like [my music]. But I hope to create a space for myself, not fill a space that’s already there.”

Fittingly, the collection closes with the chugging anthem “Pressure.” “That really sums up my last couple of years,” she says. “There’s this weight on us—when you’re scrolling through social media or talking to your parents or comparing yourself to your friends—to know exactly who you are and to present yourself as if you’re having the time of your life. I’m trying to allow myself the space to experiment, whether it’s the sound of my music or the things I wear, to figure out who I am and how to be true to me.”