When I was a little girl my mother would put me to bed at night with tales of her childhood in the Mississippi Delta. Other girls may have wanted to hear Cinderella or Snow White, but I wanted to hear about Herman the Rooster who met Mama at the school bus every day until he met his end in Grandma’s stew pot. And there was always music in my house. I grew up singing along to my mother’s 1950’s pop, and Broadway cast albums. I remember sitting in the empty front room of our house in Pearl River, Mississippi, with a book open on my lap, singing the stories it contained. Even then I knew that singing was more than making noise; it was telling a story. It doesn’t matter what genre - pop, musical theatre, jazz, country, folk - if a song is well written and tells a great tale, that’s enough for me. While some of the songs I love most were written long before I was born, wonderful new songs are being written every day and I love them too. Great songs never go out of style.
After high school I set my sights on being a serious actress so I went off to drama school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and HB Studios both in New York City. I enjoyed it... but I missed music. Eventually I realized that I could use everything I learned about acting in my music. Every song is like a short play complete with plot, and characters. For me there is nothing more exciting than bringing those plays to life which has lead to my latest project: Hot Coffee, MIssissippi, a one-woman theatrical piece with music, based on the stories I grew up with. I have been blessed with terrific collaborators in Michele Brourman and Gretchen Cryer.
I’ve performed in some great venues -The Kennedy Center, Blues Alley, and Signature Theatre in my adopted home town of Washington, DC., Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Metropolitan Room in New York City, The Gardenia in Los Angeles, The Blue Room in New Orleans, Odette’s in New Hope, PA and numerous house concerts and private venues. Oh, and lest I forget, I'm a proud Foie Graae backing up the hysterical Jason Graae whenever & wherever I can.
After being a guest vocalist on a number of recordings for other artists, including Susan Egan’s Winter Tracks and Lesley Gore’s track on Carol Hall’s Hallways, Michele Brourman convinced me it was time for my own recording. So with Michele as arranger, accompanist and co-producer with Stephan Oberhoff I recorded and released my debut EP Breathing.
I am energized by working with other performers.While in Washington, DC I founded a regional networking organization for musicians, and for six years I was the Associate Director of the Cabaret Conference at Yale University. Whether as a producer, director, teacher, coach or consultant, helping bring a performance from the gleam of an idea to the stage is as thrilling as it gets. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing than singing or working with fellow artists on a project.
With the ten minutes I have left after all of this I can be found ballroom dancing, haunting estate sales and vintage stores to feed my sparkle addiction, and working on perfecting my brownie recipe (my current favorite involves dried cherries reconstituted in cherry brandy and topped with buttercream icing, but I'm open to suggestion).
Some nice things other people have said about me:
Wendy Lane Bailey is that rare singer in whom intelligence, wit, and passion are accompanied by a rich and supple voice. I am a fan!
Laurel Masse’ Founding Member of Manhattan Transfer
I’m sure people tell you all the time that you’re real good, because you are.
Barbara Cook as quoted in the New York Times by Todd Purdham
There’s a musical space that sits between jazz and cabaret and pop: between showtunes and pop where the most wonderful treasure trove of artists can be found. It is a place where art is made compromise isn’t welcome here. Bailey is perfectly suited to this kind of cross genre outing- the range, power and interpretive ability of the stage, matched with the subtleness needed in smaller spaces...it sure is sublime.
Doug Boynton girlsingers.org
Anyone watching Wendy Lane Bailey perform will not be surprised to learn she originally trained as an actress. She knows how to deliver a song that makes a direct hit whether it’s to our heart or our funny bone...a powerful voice at home in a wide range of genres. She knows how to make a classic tune seem new and a new one seem timeless.
Paulanne Simmons Times Square Chronicle
A consummate crowd pleaser - soulful depth, personable, a top notch communicator, at times simply sidesplitting. Wholeheartedly worth catching.
Andrew Martin Cabaret Scenes
New Orleans Times Picayune
Honesty...personal conviction...vocal prowess
Michael Miyazaki Cabaret Scenes