Ty Bailie is as comfortable pulling-out Hammond drawbars in a smoky jazz club as he is ripping synth solos in front of arena-sized crowds. The Washington native made a name for himself hauling his Hammond organ around Los Angeles, and he's now a member of Katy Perry's touring band. That's why he's our TALENT SCOUT artist of the week.
NAME: Ty Bailie
HOMETOWN: I grew up on a hay farm outside of Mesa, Washington.
MUSICAL TRAINING: When I was 16, I got very lucky when a jazz pianist named Steve Haberman decided to get the heck out of Los Angeles and moved to my middle of nowhere in Eastern Washington. I saw him play, and decided that maybe piano playing might be a better gig than tractor driving. He took me under his wing and that's when my training really started.
FIRST GIGS: My first gig was a funeral, so off to a good start there!
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: What kicked it off was Gene Harris and Bill Evans, later Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock. Then when the Hammond B3 organ bug got me, it was Jimmy Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Larry Goldings, Billy Preston, Benmont Tench, Sam Yahel, Ian McLagan, Milt Buckner, and everybody else that ever played/is still playing the beast.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: I've had Amygdala by Tingsek on repeat for some time now. Everything about the playing and recording of keyboards on that album makes me happy. Also, Jason Isbell happens a lot, because songs are the best.
INSTRUMENTS PLAYED: Hammond B3, piano, Wurli, Rhodes, clav, synths, any electrified piano/organy things of various makes/models. You know, anything keyboarded! I can also hold a bass and get the right notes out of it sometimes.
MY BIG BREAK: I moved to LA with my van and my B3 and Leslie speaker in it, not knowing anyone, thinking I'd just be another organ player working around town. Turns out while there are some of the best B3 players in the world down here, nobody at that time was really hauling the real deal out, playing clubs and bars, doing the "thing." I fell in with some great musicians who got it and started a weekly residency with Rumproller B3 Trio in Hollywood that turned into a great musician hang, got me noticed, and led to me getting a call to audition for Katy Perry. Then I went and got the gig. Pretty cool!
LATEST ALBUM: I've been playing on and producing albums for others, hoping to get around to making my own record someday soonish. Gotta find that time...
FAVORITE KEYBOARD GEAR: Hammond B3 and Leslie, easy! But I have to say, the Dave Smith Prophet 6 and Rev 2 will be getting extremely worked out on the coming Katy Perry Witness World Tour and they are sounding bigger and creamier than anything made after 1993 has any right to.
TELL US ABOUT WORKING WITH KATY PERRY: "Rad" pretty much sums it up! She has a wicked sense of humor and completely runs the whole show. Since joining her band, I've seen what tightness and attention to detail really can mean. It's nuts. We are playing pop music that is breathing fire.
WHAT’S NEXT? We just rocked the Glastonbury Festival in the UK, and I’m now in rehearsals for the Witness World Tour, which kicks off in September.
ADVICE: The tried and true of "Show up on time, show up prepared, be a good hang" is the simplest way to put it. But "prepared" also can mean pretty much dedicating most of your waking hours to your craft in one form or another. Whether it's spent shedding block chords in all 12 keys, filling an arena with synth hooks while pyro explodes all around/sharks dancing in your face, or soldering in a replacement transformer in the alley behind a club 10 minutes before you have to hit; you gotta be prepared for anything. It's a life!