Timothy Bailey Jr. says it “feels like a dream” that he is beginning a two-year world tour with pop star Ariana Grande.
What makes it even sweeter: The tour kicks off Wednesday night right here in his hometown.
What a long way Bailey has come from banging on pots and pans when he was 3.
“I’m still trying to get my head around everything because it still feels like a dream,” says Bailey, 31, a KCK native now living and working in Los Angeles.
Bailey plays bass in Grande’s 8-piece band. This is his second tour with the former Nickelodeon idol. He played in her band on her debut tour, “The Listening Sessions,” which included a stop in 2013 at Kansas City’s Midland Theatre.
The month after that tour concluded he came right back to Kansas City to play with Josh Groban at the Sprint Center.
Bailey started performing when he was young, playing drums at his grandparents’ church, Salem Baptist, in KCK where his father, Timothy Bailey Sr., was minister of music.
He added violin, viola and eventually bass to his repertoire when he went to West Middle School and Sumner Academy.
He graduated from Kansas City Kansas Community College in 2004 with a degree in music technology. (Jim Mair, music professor and director of instrumental music at KCKCC, alerted us to Bailey’s gig with Grande.)
“My goal has always been to be able to make a living doing what I love, which is anything music-related. So performing is definitely one of those goals,” says Bailey.
“One of my other goals is to do even more music production because that’s where my heart is.”
Every now and then a tour will bring him home; he was in town last fall playing with Ruben Studdard and Lalah Hathaway. His dad and mom, Andrea, a local librarian, have seen him perform here.
Grande’s tour buses pulled into town on Sunday “and we’ve literally been running since then,” he says.
They spent about 12 hours at the Independence Events Center on Monday, then went back on Tuesday where they rehearsed from 2 p.m. to 3 a.m. Wednesday. They’ll leave right after tonight’s show and head for their next stop, Milwaukee.
After the tour’s North American run they’ll take a break for a few weeks before heading to Europe – where they have a concert scheduled at London’s huge O2 Arena – and then head to Asia and South America.
Of his boss, Bailey says that Grande is “an absolute pleasure to work with. Her music is high-energy and so fun to play.
“She is definitely a true talent. She can really sing.”