The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

The student online newsmagazine of SHS

The Journal Rewired

‘Completing a need’

SHS alum takes his music passion to the next level by creating his own studio album

Many students wonder what to do after high school. “Should I go to college, trade school or maybe enlist in the army?” Many students have these thoughts, but former SHS student Gerald Bailey chose a new and unique pathway for his life after high school. 

Bailey did attend college and is now a music teacher. He also has put his name out to the world as a professional musician following the release of his first album, “Migration Climate.” 

From a young age, Bailey has had a great love for music. In middle school, he attended a trip to New York with his middle school band. From then on, music became his passion. 

“I was hooked,” Bailey said. “I was ready to pursue music.”

Although he is mainly a trumpet player, he is also skilled at other instruments such as the trombone, flute, piano, synthesizer and the drums. 

For 20 years, Bailey has been teaching, composing and performing music. For some time, his goal was to play as much as he could, which ended up being around four to five nights a week. He would play as a side person for various bands. A side person is a musician who can play many types of music and mainly is a backup player for bands. However, he began to slow down and focus on himself after meeting pianist and drummer Harry Brenner. 

Brenner met Bailey through the Chicago community. Through this friendship, Brenner shared with Bailey the recording company where he records his music. Brenner quickly became one of the main collaborators that Bailey works with now. 

“Gerald’s approach to making records is something that’s very admirable, and it’s something very personal,” Brenner said. 

Kyle Hodges, a close family friend who is also a main collaborator, played an important role in creating “Migration Climate.”

I feel at peace with myself. Like this is somehow … completing a need.

— Gerald Bailey

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of making an album. It takes time and a lot of hard work. There are countless minute and intricate details in the creative process that must be dealt with very thoughtfully. 

One of the largest parts of making an album is mixing, which is when the artist puts sounds within the song at the right volume. Depending on the album it may take an extensive period of time, or it may come together quickly. 

“You can think of making a song a lot like building a puzzle,” Hodges said. “Sometimes those pieces of the puzzle carve themselves out, and other times you’re carving every individual one.”

With Hodges living just down the road from the school where Bailey teaches now, they worked together nearly every day. It began as just messing around for fun, but it became more serious when they started to like the sounds they were making. 

Starting out with just a scratch drum line that Hodges had prerecorded, they began working on creating a single. After a couple of weeks of messing with sounds and creating new background tracks, they started to record the trumpet part. 

Since Bailey is primarily a trumpet player, and since this was his album, the trumpet leads the song.

With Bailey being a full-time teacher, husband and father, he didn’t have much time to record in a studio. So, he recorded the first draft of the song at home. With the help of Brenner and Hodges, the group recorded with basic equipment, which consisted of simple microphones and a small mixing console. They also used Ableton Software to aid in the recording process. 

After a while, the group realized they wanted to have a more professional outlook on the album. They took the tracks to a sound engineer, and he put it into his recording studio. He mixed and mastered them to create songs with a higher quality. The sound engineers also gave his professional outlook and gave advice for any future songs they may record. 

Brenner used a collage picture from an earlier project for the cover art. The album was released in the Spring of 2023 on Apple Music, Spotify and as a live record.

The album’s purpose is to raise awareness about climate change. All of Bailey’s songs are written for the purpose of raising awareness of issues that are important to him. He also wants to help his followers gain a new perspective on all music. 

“(I want to) communicate a message that’s bigger than myself as an artist,” Bailey said, “So I guess, communicate a message that’s more than just ‘here’s me and my music and my experience’.”

Another large inspiration for this album and its sound is that Bailey, Brenner and Hodges wanted to create a sound they’d never heard before. Although the music is instrumental, it can still connect to people. Hearing the different sounds such as drums, trumpets, and other various instruments all coming together creates a new, and relaxing sound. 

When producing, mixing, and recording without outside help creating an album can become very costly. In Bailey’s case, he also has to hire a sound engineer to help re-record tracks in a studio, so focusing on the budget is a large challenge. 

A large motivator for Bailey was having a release date. Also, the fact that it was his first album, so he was able to look past the budget issues and look forward to what was to come in the future. 

“It’s about meeting new people, making new music with them, (and) making new friends,” Bailey said.

contributed by Gerald Bailey

Bailey uses music as a way to connect to others and as a way to relax and express himself.

“I feel at peace with myself,” Bailey said. “Like this is somehow … completing a need.”

As Bailey has gotten older, he has become more involved with his solo career. He hasn’t had the time to play as often as he used to. 

He realized a big value in his life is family time. To enjoy more hours with his wife and kids, he now plays only around two nights a week publicly. 

In the future, Bailey plans to continue writing and recording and hopes to create a second album.

“It’s infectious … he makes you want to just let go and feel the song,” Hodges said.


To see more by Gerald Bailey, click on the link to his website!


View this profile on Instagram

Gerald Matthew Bailey (@geraldmbailey) • Instagram photos and videos

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Journal Rewired Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *