There are two reasons we're celebrating Bayleigh Cheek today: First, we are eternally crushing on the musician's sophisticated brand of psych indie rock and deeply wounding vocals, and it also happened to be her birthday yesterday. Cheek is on the path to becoming just as iconic as the same powerhouse singers that she so admires. See why we're so obsessed.
How are you celebrating your birthday during the quarantine?
Been officially quarantined for about a week now, so it feels weird to not only not be able to get out but especially on your birthday. Spent most of my day writing, which is amazing because I finally have some time to work on some stuff I wasn’t able to before. I was with my family and they made me a nice dinner, and I was surprised with a FaceTime call from some of my close friends and another one with my bandmates, which made my day!
What things have you come to realize through this moment in history?
How much we actually really need each other and human connection. You’ve seen it in history, and it’s happening now, how people will find ways to still support and love on each other, even when it’s physically impossible.
I have a song from my EP I just released earlier this month called “Visage.” I wrote it around this idea of how much we need human connection, not realizing the time it was being released was perfect. I have done a couple Instagram live shows, played it and was able to explain the meaning behind it, and it’s been really special and a cool experience to give this song in a time that is needed.
What’s one song that keeps your spirit up?
"Cloudbusting" by Kate Bush
Describe yourself with two words starting with your initials.
What’s the coolest thing in your house?
One of my favorite things when I go to antique stores is finding random pictures that I feel like tell a story, whether it’s a painting or old photograph. I have collected a lot over the years, and they’re all hanging on my walls. It’s cool having other people’s stories you’re constantly being reminded of, even if you don’t know what that story is.
What’s your favorite photo in music history?
There is a photo of Patti Smith onstage. It was in Austin in 1978 by Scott Newton. She’s sitting onstage, and the guitarist, who I assume is Lenny Kaye, you can tell is just feeling it. I love it too because the photo looks like it’s coming from behind the stage, almost like you’re there getting a glimpse into the performance. The photo is pure emotion. I’m sure there are many more, but that was the first that came to mind.
What’s one thing you feel that most people know how to do except for you?
Save money. I’ve always been bad at it but trying to get better.
What project are you most excited about right now?
I’ve been working on two concept albums since 2015. I just finished the first one actually during this quarantine. I finally completed the story and concept behind the first full-length, and it has some of my favorite songs I’ve written so far, so I’m pretty excited to hopefully get started recording it soon.
What’s one vice you have no intention of getting rid of?
Feeling too deep.
Who’s your woman crush in music?
So, so many. Patti Smith, Bjork, Joni Mitchell, PJ Harvey, just to name a few, have all inspired and influenced me in some way.
If you were a character in a movie, what song would play when you first appeared on screen?
"Earth Moon" by MIEN. I love everything about the essence of that song.
What historical moment do you wish you could’ve witnessed?
I would have loved to have been there when CBGB opened, and seeing the now-legends play there for the first time.
Name the smallest thing that makes you happy.
Being able to take my dog to work. She loves being around people and it makes her so happy, which obviously makes me happy, and just being able to have her with me.
Tell me something that bothers you for no good reason.
Small talk. I don’t know why or where it started, but I can’t stand it. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty, that’s how you really get to know someone.
Do you have any strange eating habits?
Well, I just found out I’m allergic to gluten, dairy and sugar. Does that count?
What's your biggest peeve on social media?
It actually used to be vlogs. I just never understood it or the culture behind it. Never say never, though, because I decided to start a vlog on YouTube documenting the journey through music with my band. I get it now.
What’s something you’ve been told about yourself that made you laugh?
That I constantly talk about things there are no answers for.
What’s one random subject you know so much about that you could write a whole book?
Natural remedies. I’ve done so much research on it over the years.
Do you have any unpopular opinions?
I think sleeping is a waste of time. Yeah, I get scientifically why we need it and the importance, but, think of all the time you’re asleep in your lifetime and how much more you could have experienced. Could also be I've dealt with bad insomnia all my life, so sleep's never really been a friend.
Tell me your favorite personal tradition.
I’ve started this thing recently where I listen to new music every Tuesday morning (which is the start of my work week) for a couple of hours.
What’s your biggest cause?
Sharing art. I think art is what can heal people and let people know that they’re not alone. You can portray and say something so perfectly through all forms of art that you could never say in words, and that is what will really reach people.
Finish the sentence, “You know you’re my friend if I ...”
I love meeting new people, so probably "almost instantly."
Who’s your favorite lyricist?
I spent many years studying Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. The poetry, especially for their time, was so perfect. I feel like they somehow were able to perfectly put certain things into words, and better yet, to music.
Tell me a memory that makes you laugh every time.
I was on this date one time, and a gnat flew right into my eye, and was stuck there for some time ... it was kind of embarrassing in the moment but made for a good laugh.
What’s one rule you particularly don’t subscribe to?
Following the latest trends. It’s OK to just be yourself.
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What question do you love to be asked?
Literally anything about favorite films.
And what’s the answer?
Do you have enough time? I can go on for hours.