When the YouTube video started playing at the next table, I didn’t pay much attention. But then I glimpsed the face of the singer.
“She looks just like Bailey Ingle,” I thought.
And then I realized that the young country singer in the video was exactly who I thought. Bailey Ingle had just grown up a bit.
It was almost five years ago when I went to Bailey’s suburban Birmingham home to take photos of her for a community magazine. It was just another freelance photo shoot for me, but this impressive 16-year-old made a strongly positive impression.
When I met her for the photoshoot, she was just a talented young girl with big dreams. She sang at some local venues. Her big claim to fame was winning a radio station’s contest for a chance to sing a duet with country star Keith Urban at a local concert.
But this young woman had talent and dreams — and she’s come quite a way since the day I met her.
I hadn’t thought much about Bailey since I shot her photos in 2015, so I had no idea whether she was still pursuing music. After seeing her in the video, though, I started looking her up. The 16-year-old with dreams has become a young woman with dreams — but she’s clearly been putting feet on those dreams.
It turns out that the video I saw someone sharing with a friend was a promotional video about Bailey recording in Johnny Cash’s cabin in Tennessee. The professional video and the pricey recording venue made it obvious that someone believes in her potential enough to be investing money in her career.
When I started searching online to find out what’s been going on for her, I found an article from early in 2019 from a local music critic called “12 recent Alabama-made songs you should hear.” The music writer was clear what he sees in Bailey’s future.
“Call her up to the radio-country big-leagues and the sky will rain money,” he wrote.
I’m excited that Bailey is doing well. Some of the people I’ve met to photograph or to write about come across as pompous or egotistical. Bailey came across as a bright and genuine person who simply wanted to sing. I liked her, so it makes me happy to see that she’s going well — and potentially on track to be a big star one day.
And it makes me look at where each of us is right now compared to where we were when we met almost five years ago.
Bailey has been working hard toward achieving the things she told me she wanted. She’s created new music. She’s put herself before the right people. She’s promoted herself in ways that might easily lead to a big break.
I had some artistic dreams five years ago and I still have them. I had the same dreams before Bailey was even born, much less could sing or write songs. But I haven’t done much in the same five years to match the progress she’s made.
On the day that I met her to take magazine photos, Bailey was just a young girl with some talent and some dreams. I was an older guy with some talent and some dreams. But one of us has done something about the dreams — and one of us hasn’t.
I hope Bailey achieves the stardom she wants. And I hope I am as dedicated over the next five years to becoming successful as she has been.
I’d like to be a star, too, but it won’t happen unless I start acting more like Bailey.