From Fisher-Price to YouTube, a life of music

Gavyn Bailey, a 13-year-old from Laguna Niguel, has overcome adversity to keep his young career going strong.

January 19, 2012|By Joanna Clay
(DON LEACH, Coastline…)

When one hears Gavyn Bailey's voice, it's hard to believe that the 13-year-old from Laguna Niguel doesn't have a recording contract.

On YouTube he sings Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I am" as if the song were written for him.

While some kids might point to a heavy course load or an active social life as distractions, Gavyn's had to battle a much larger obstacle when it comes to focusing on his music. At 3 years old, Gavyn had a kidney transplant. His mother, Giselle Bailey, said that the day before he was born she was told he might not make it.

About a year ago, his body rejected the transplanted kidney — a common occurrence for transplant patients — which caused him to have high blood pressure and a brain hemorrhage. He had to be taken by helicopter to UCLA Medical Center. Now stable and home-schooled, Gavyn said he's ready to start a career in music.


"I think it's time now," he said.

His supportive mother attempts to keep him grounded. He is singing in the church choir and hanging out with his friends, away from the hustle a full-fledged singing career would bring.

"This is his passion," Giselle Bailey said. "Music brings a smile to his face."

His love for making music started as a toddler. His mother brought Fisher-Price instruments to his hospital bedroom and videotaped his early "gigs."

Recognized locally for his talent, he started playing at Muldoon's Irish Pub in Newport Beach at age 10. Jeff Wright, a local musician, noticed Gavyn and asked him to play at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano with him. He's also sung alongside Jimmy Hopper at the Island Hotel in Newport on Friday nights, belting out Coldplay and OneRepublic songs. He's even performed at the Orange County Fair with pal Jamella Perkins.

At last year's"The X Factor"auditions, Gavyn told the judge about his health; he felt it factored into his dismissal. The judge told him to get healthy and return in 2012. He said he will.

"He's always positive, sometimes more than I," Giselle Bailey said.

He also admits he's prone to normal teen slip-ups in his auditions, like a cracking voice or nerves.

When he auditioned for "Majors and Minors" in June, a kid's reality music show, he felt he could have performed much better if he relaxed.

"There was so much pressure," he said. "There was like 50 people on the panel watching."

He also auditioned for"America's Got Talent"in January 2010. He got pretty far along and was told that executive producers would call him. He didn't hear back.

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