Bailey Zimmerman Speaks To His Whirlwind, Unconventional Rise In Music

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Bailey Zimmerman said the lifestyle he lives now is “not supposed to be real.”

The Illinois-born country star, 24, recently met with journalist Jan Crawford for a CBS Mornings interview that aired on Wednesday (April 3), days before the 2024 CMT Music Awards in Austin, Texas. The two met backstage ahead of Zimmerman’s two sold-out shows at Hammerstein Ballroom at Manhattan Center in New York City. Zimmerman said he feels “awake in a dream,” as he reflected on his whirlwind rise in the music industry. Just a few years ago, Crawford noted, Zimmerman was working a job laying gas pipelines in West Virginia. But thanks to TikTok, his entire career path and life changed drastically.

The fast-rising “Religiously” superstar told Crawford he used to sign karaoke and with his radio, and although he said he knew he could carry a tune, he “didn’t think it was good.” But when he posted a video on Snapchat singing — he delivered a line from Florida Georgia Line’s 2012 hit, “Stay” — and ultimately took to TikTok, he began to change his mind. Zimmerman said one TikTok video garnered about 2 million views in a matter of a few hours, and he quickly quit his job.

Zimmerman said in the interview that he asks himself “every day” what it is about his music that resonates so deeply with so many listeners. He admitted, “I don’t know. I just write songs, and then I also cut other outside songs, and if that sends chills up my back, then it probably will my fans, too. …When I first heard ‘Rock and A Hard Place,’ I was like, ‘that’s it. Holy cow. That’s it, man.’”

“I just wanna preface with, I have no idea what I’m doing,” Zimmerman told Crawford later in the interview, when asked about the unconventional way he landed a record deal in Nashville. “You have to take advice, but you also have to know where you’re at inside and know who you are and go, ‘this is who I am now.’”

Zimmerman released his debut full-length album in May 2023, days ahead of his first-ever iHeartCountry Festival performance and a metaverse show in iHeartLand in Fortnite and Roblox. The 16-track project, Religiously. The Album., also inspired the name of Zimmerman’s sold-out headlining tour. Zimmerman said in a statement when his album released last year: “The past two years of my life have been insane and the fact that I get to release my first ever album is so surreal. Thank you to everyone that has had my back through thick and thin. I will never be able to repay y’all for the love and support, this album is for you.”

  1. Religiously
  2. Warzone
  3. Fix’n To Break
  4. Forget About You
  5. Chase Her
  6. Fall In Love
  7. You Don’t Want That Smoke
  8. Found Your Love
  9. Rock and A Hard Place
  10. Other Side Of Lettin’ Go
  11. Pain Won’t Last
  12. Where It Ends
  13. God’s Gonna Cut You Down
  14. Fadeaway
  15. Get to Gettin’ Gone
  16. Is This Really Over?

Now, Zimmerman is looking ahead to the 2024 CMT Music Awards, where he’s set to take the stage on Sunday evening (April 7). Zimmerman is also nominated in the Male Video of the Year category for “Religiously.” He told Crawford that “it’s such a blessing” to be nominated and to feel as though “country music is embracing me and accepting me.”

Other artists slated to perform during the show include Cody JohnsonJelly RollKeith UrbanKelsea BalleriniLainey WilsonLittle Big Town with SugarlandMegan MoroneyNEEDTOBREATHE with Jordan DavisOld Dominion with Megan MoroneyParker McCollum with Brittney SpencerSam Hunt, Jason AldeanDasha, and Trisha Yearwood, who will also receive the first-ever June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award. Ballerini is returning to solo host the show.

CMT also revealed the list of presenters for the 2024 awards show on Wednesday morning: Amber RileyBilly Bob Thornton (Landman), Carly PearceCody AlanCody JohnsonEmily Osment (Young Sheldon), Emma RobertsGayle King (CBS Mornings), James Van Der Beek, Jane Seymour, Jelly RollMax Theriot (Fire Country), Megan MoroneyMelissa EtheridgeMickey GuytonMinnie DriverMontana Jordan (Young Sheldon), Parmalee and Paul Walter Hauser, a press release reads.

The 2024 CMT Music Awards will return to Moody Center in Austin, Texas, taking place on Sunday, April 7, and airing live (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT). Viewers can watch on CBS and stream live and on demand on Paramount+. See the full list of nominees here.

Watch Zimmerman’s CBS Mornings interview here:

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