Jak Bailey has been in music for nearly 30 years, on both the performance and business sides of an illustrious career.
Now that he’s released his latest album, “Electric Noize,” Bailey is taking some time to reflect on his musical past.
An 8-year-old Bailey fell in love with music when his father gave him his first guitar. He said his dad taught him basic chords and then introduced him to the music of Jimi Hendrix.
“I was gone from then on,” Bailey said.
In the early 1980s he joined his first group, a funk band called Spacedelic.
“I was only 16, so it was mind blowing for me at the time because that was my first professional outfit and those guys were nice enough to mentor me, take me under their wing,” Bailey said. “It was an experience I’ll never forget.”
Bailey said he learned a lot about live performance, which he would incorporate into his solo gigs for the rest of his career.
In 1985 Bailey was signed to CBS Records and released his debut album, “I Go Wild,” the same year. Although he had fun making that album and learned about recording with other musicians, he said he wishes he had known more about production.
“Again, there always has to be a starting point, and there was mine, so it was a great experience and I’ll never forget it,” he said.
After two years in Los Angeles, Bailey returned to Albuquerque and formed Soul Divine. Like his band mates in Spacedelic, he was a mentor to one of the members.
“We had a young singer who was a very talented guy and I was one of the ones that he kind of looked up to,” Bailey said. “I helped to guide him and he’s out in California now.”
Bailey said he was inspired to mentor artists as a way of giving back to music. He wants to teach new musicians about the business side of the music industry and what to expect from it.
“I just like to have them be aware that you need to be part musician and (part) businessman,” he said. “In my experience … if you’re strictly a musician, you’re not paying attention, you’re not on top of the business aspect of it (and) you can be taken advantage of.”
Hair stylist Kristin Zehnder has been Bailey’s biggest fan — and his girlfriend — for the last 16 years. The two met at the El Rey Theatre after Bailey had performed with Soul Divine.
“I was amazed at how talented and creative he is,” Zehnder said.
Today Bailey works as a solo artist, owns an independent record label and plans to mentor more up-and-coming musicians in the Albuquerque music scene.
Bailey is vocal about letting artists have creative control over their music and their image.
“I don’t think you can come in and force your opinions on someone,” he said.