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Straight Outta Boyceville: Madilyn Bailey

young musician hits it huge on YouTube

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by Anna Soldner

A Boyceville native, Madilyn Bailey’s acoustic tunes have made her a YouTube sensation with  over two million video views and counting. Her rendition of Eminem’s I’m Not Afraid has grabbed half a million hits all on its own.
 
A Boyceville native, Madilyn Bailey’s acoustic
tunes have made her a YouTube sensation
with over two million video views and
counting. Her rendition of Eminem’s I’m Not
Afraid has grabbed half a million hits all
on its own.

Eighteen-year-old Madilyn Bailey sits calmly, her wavy blonde hair resting on her shoulders as she cradles her self-proclaimed “best friend” – a golden acoustic guitar. With the strum of a chord she starts to sing, releasing a rich voice that resonates the control of a trained professional. Bailey, who graduated from high school in January, keeps the talking to a minimum. With each song she sets a mood – sometimes her eyes smile with ease, others her eyebrows furrow in deep emotion, displaying the genuine passion that attracts thousands of attentive fans.

Known as “Maddy” to her friends, Bailey isn’t on stage or headlining a tour. She’s sitting on her carpeted steps, a cozy couch, or in the comfort of her bedroom, recording a video for YouTube, the video-sharing site that has served as the career-launching pad for many performers.

Along with five siblings, Bailey spent her childhood in Boyceville, just northwest of Eau Claire. With about 1,000 residents, Boyceville may be a far cry from Hollywood, but location didn’t hinder this small-town girl from sharing her love of music with people all around the world. A year-and-a-half ago, Bailey started using YouTube as a virtual venue after being influenced by now-signed YouTube sensations Kina Grannis and Marie Digby.

Today, with more than 40,000 subscribers and total upload views topping two million, Bailey is becoming a celebrity. So how exactly did she gain such a solid fan base? Besides her obvious talent and sincerity, Bailey chooses cover songs that appeal to the masses.

“My goal with my music is I’m trying to reach as many people as I can and be able to connect with those people at the same time,” she explains. With almost half a million hits, her chilling rendition of Eminem’s I’m Not Afraid has reached its level of fame not only for its originality, but also because she happened to post it around the same time as the video release. “Picking songs that are already currently popular means that they’re going to be going on YouTube and [people are] going to be looking up those songs.”

As of right now, Bailey plans on delaying college in order to focus on her music career. Creating and maintaining a successful and well-trafficked YouTube channel requires plenty of patience and dedication. She seems to master the art, keeping her listeners engaged by posting every other week (posting a video every week can be “annoying” and every three weeks is “boring,” she clarifies.)

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