When Nate Jackson, the Weekly’s former music editor, wrote about Gavyn Bailey in 2012, the singer-songwriter was 14, with many live gigs under his belt since his first show four years before at Muldoon’s in his hometown of Newport Beach.
The subject of “Gavyn Bailey Learns the Value of Being a Slower Grower” is “all growed’ up” now, not that coming of age was problem-free. His new single “Numb Me, Bad” is based on his struggle with mental health.
“It’s a cry for help from a younger version of myself” is how Bailey puts it. “It’s my personal experience with depression and crippling anxiety, and feeling the need to self-medicate to escape that dark place we’re all capable of falling into.”
Produced by Trevor Muzzy (SonReal, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj) and co-written with Muzzy and Ashley Maietta (of the trio Luci), “Numb Me, Bad” is a very personal, deep dive into Gavyn’s relationship with his demons. The Children’s Hospital of Orange County Mental Health Initiative ambassador is using the song to raise awareness and show anyone who is suffering from any kind of mental illness that they are not alone.
“I want to connect with others on that level because I know how important it was to me when I was younger to have someone who understood what I was going through,” he says.
Bailey also benefitted from the experience of creating the song, calling his sessions with co-writers Muzzy and Maietta “essentially free therapy.”
Health woes actually laid the foundation for Bailey’s musical future long before that Muldoon’s gig at age 10. As a 3-year-old recovering from a kidney transplant, he taught himself to play many instruments and began writing songs.
A year after the Weekly‘s Jackson first caught up with Bailey, he released an EP that landed at No. 4 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart. The then-15-year-old was also nominated for an OC Music Award for Best Youth Artist and LA Music Awards for Best Album and Male Singer/Songwriter of the year.
In 2014, he joined a Scandinavian tour with the Danish pop band Dúné, and his song “All Growed’ Up” was placed in the Canadian MTV television series Degrassi the following year.
“Numb Me, Bad” comes as a result of a publishing deal he entered in 2016 with Bump Into Genius and Warner/Chappell Music. That deal has found Bailey collaborating with Ray Dalton, The Voice‘s Xenia, Karen Dezelle, MOODY, Romeo Blanco, Soren Bryce, Dylan Jordan, SVEA and many others. His song “Novocaine” by Tim Schou was awarded Grand Prize at the International Acoustic Music Awards last year.
To my ears, “Numb Me, Bad” could have found a place on the Garden State soundtrack had it been released in 2004 (although then-6-year-old Bailey’s voice would not have sounded as mature as it does now). See if you agree after downloading the song that is currently available wherever you listen to music.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.