Liam Bailey

Territory: DE | AT | CH

20 years into his career, Liam Bailey can finally be himself. Over the past two decades, the Nottingham-born singer-songwriter has lent his majestically powerful and affecting voice to enduring tracks as diverse as his 2010 lo-fi guitar and vocal breakout “I’d Rather Go Blind”, released on Amy Winehouse’s Lioness Records, the 2011 Chase and Status hit “Blind Faith” and 2013’s reggae stepper “When Will They Learn”. In 2015, he released his solo debut, Definitely Now, and has since been a sought-after collaborator, co-writing and featuring with the likes of singers VV Brown and Paloma Faith, as well as with dancefloor-shaking producers like Shy FX and Break. Yet it’s only now, in 2024, that Bailey has created what he describes as “the album I’ve always wanted to make”: Zero Grace.

Across 12 tracks of tape-recorded analogue ingenuity, Zero Grace sees Bailey unveil a series of remarkable new guises for his iconic voice. From the baritone graininess and psychedelic guitars of “Winter Is Within Thee”, to the sprightly ‘60s Beatles references of “Holding On”, the soul-baring storytelling of his chaotic early childhood on “Disorder Starts At Home” and the infectious falsetto reggae of “Sekkle Down”, Bailey showcases a musical maturity that traverses all aspects of the soulful modern songbook. “I needed to grow to embody everything from The Stooges to Zamrock, Bowie and Peter Tosh,” he says. “I’ve been absorbing it all and now it’s coming out. It’s my finest piece of work.”

This free-flowing creativity hasn’t been unleashed alone. Producer Leon Michels has been by Bailey’s side throughout, enlisting his cult favourite label Big Crown Records for the release, as well as a roster of musicians including bassist Nick Movshon and upcoming guitarist Dylan Nowik. The quartet tapped into an intuitive inventiveness over the course of two week-long sessions in New York where the entirety of the album was written and recorded. “It all came together so fast because Leon is a genius and because we go back such a long way,” Bailey says. “This is the album we wanted to make right at the start of my career.”

Ultimately, “you just gotta stay in the ring and go where the love is,” Bailey says of his musical journey. “And if you sit and you focus on the craft, you'll pick a nugget up somewhere. You will find your freedom.”

Zero Grace is Bailey with the guardrails down, creating without airs and only with this newfound sense of freedom. “It’s Zero Grace because I've got no filter,” he says. “I have an unadulterated sense of self, so I find it hard to not be me.” It’s a privilege to finally hear Bailey in this way – a generational talent, raw and unfiltered.