Introducing: Bailey333 & Temi NLA

With every new decade comes with it a set of distinct sounds and trends that either reflect the taste of music lovers… or the creative agendas of the institutions which service them.

After years of unsuccessfully pitching songs to established artists and having more success with emerging talent, I decided to focus solely on new blood in 2020 and was introduced to the Irish act Bailey333 by producer Chris Grayson in January 2022. One meeting became 20 sessions and a body of Grunge-inspired pop and R&B built at London’s Wendy House Studios. Later that year, as the newcomer performed at festivals across the United Kingdom, I was also introduced to his friend and collaborator Temi NLA.

As we venture further into this decade, the buzz around the artists both in and out of the industry may point towards where trends are heading for fans, and where investment from the institutions which would service them will be delivered. After the release of their fire collaboration, “Monsters In My Head,” I caught up with them during a Temi NLA session to discuss TikTok, The Kid Laroi, meeting Central Cee, and representing Ireland’s scene.

An easy one to start with. Who were your earliest musical influences and what is the first song you remember hearing?

Temi: One of my earliest influences is Iann Dior. The first song I heard was “Emotions.” I started listening to him more after that.

Bailey: I wouldn’t be able to retract my memory that far back to remember the first song I ever heard, but the first song I was obsessed over and I literally learned all the lyrics to this song instead of doing my homework was “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars. I used to sing/rap all of his and Ed Sheeran’s songs when I was younger and when I went on holiday, I performed them on stage in front of my friends and family, etc.

How does the Irish music scene differ from what you know about London and how have those differences shaped your sound journey?

Bailey: I don’t feel like the Irish scene is way behind but there’s definitely more variety of artists and producers in the UK maybe because of the population difference too but ye…

Temi: I don’t think there is as much opportunity in Ireland for the direction my music is heading in so I think the UK has a bigger and wider audience.

Bailey, we met through our mutual friend and collaborator Chris Grayson during our sessions in London last year. Tell us about your journey leading up to that point.

Bailey: Yeah before we met I was only freshly signed to a label in November 2021 and was only getting used to being in bigger studios and better quality mics setup, etc. But how I got recognized was basically through a TikTok spiraling viral with my ma reacting to one of my songs, “Cheetah,” and that got me a shit load of recognition and popularity around Dublin.

You introduced me to Temi last summer when I told you I wanted to build a group for Caroline. How did you guys meet and why did you think Temi would work?

Bailey: Me and Temi met during lockdown. Basically, he was a producer and he sent me beats on Instagram. I liked them so made a song for one of them. Then, we randomly met up in town and since then I’ve sorta inspired him to start singing/rapping and got him into manifestation and stuff. Also, I introduced you to him because of how you helped me when we worked in London. I know the talent he has and I believe in him not only because he’s one of my best mates but because he’s honestly sick!

One thing the both of you have in common is your work rate. You go IN in the studio. How did you create “Monsters In My Head?”

Temi: “Monsters In My Head” was a song I originally came up with one night and had it for a year because I didn’t think it had potential until I showed it to Bailey and he loved it. I dropped a verse on it and my confidence in the song grew stronger.

Bailey: Yeah so the way “Monsters In My Head” came about was basically I was chillin’ at Temi’s and he played me the hook, which is all he had at the time, and I was surprised and blown away by how good it was since he never really did singing or wrote anything before. That was one of the first songs he made. I asked him if I could lay a verse down and we just went with the flow and it ended up being catchy enough to get good feedback from people you know.

How do you manage the attention that comes with TikTok? Temi said that people stop him and ask for pictures when he’s at work.

Bailey: Yeah, it’s great to be known and make people smile or perhaps make their day when you do
something simple as taking a photo with them it’s definitely a great feeling that I’m very grateful for.

Temi: I am so grateful for my fans. They are the reason I can make this a career. I’m appreciative when I get recognized outside because I love people and enjoy talking to them and influencing them with some good advice.

You’re both on the verge of breaking out massively. I’ve spoken to both of you about managing your mental health in what can be a mental business. How do you manage stress? Do you feel supported?

Temi: My mental health is great. I have a great mindset plus a strong encouraging Irish family. No matter what happens I believe negativity is a choice so I always choose happiness.

Bailey: I agree. All about trying your best to do your best when you can.

You played a few festivals last year. Are there any shows you have your eye on this year?

Bailey: I was active last year with the festivals, which were incredible. This year I’m just aiming for more consistency with music releases and getting my name out there… and who nows maybe I’ll be performing at Glastonbury this year. I also got to meet Central Cee and The Kid Laroi last year during some of those dates which was grand. They’re both legends.

Temi: 100 percent. They’re definitely inspirations for the both of us. Yeah, I got to experience Longitude with Bailey last year and it was a magical experience that has motivated me to keep performing. I had my own headline show last week and I’m excited to show everyone what else I’m capable of.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone, like yourselves, who have a dream but doesn’t know how to make it a reality?

Bailey: MANIFEST. That’s what I did. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s easier said than done but you just have to build to courage to go for it. As cliche as it sounds you only live once so I just went for it and so far the hard work is paying off.

Temi: Fear has killed more dreams than failure so do what makes you happy and believe in yourself. I was producing tracks in my room after school last year and now I have headlined my own show. You can achieve anything in this world. Just go for it.