Even country star Brantley Gilbert calls her a ‘badass.’ Local Spins’ spotlight on the mid-Michigan favorite with a bright future proved to be among the most-read stories of the year. Story, photos, videos.
EDITOR’S NOTE: When Local Spins in late October decided to spotlight up-and-coming mid-Michigan star Sadie Bass in a feature story, fans responded in huge numbers. The same goes for a follow-up piece published after the singer and her band made a big splash on a star-studded country cruise hosted by Brantley Gilbert. Local Spins revisits both stories in a revised combination piece here, marking No. 5 in our countdown of the biggest music stories of the year. Bass also is featured in the 2020 Local Spins Calendar, available online here. Scroll down for videos and photo galleries.
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Sadie Bass was so inspired as a singer and songwriter, she gave up a softball scholarship and dropped out of college “to tackle this career head-on.”
Now, it seems the fast-rising, Lansing-area country singer’s decision has paid off: Bass and her band won a fan-based contest to play superstar Brantley Gilbert’s “Kick It in the Ship Cruise” that set sail from Miami in early November.
And suffice to say, Bass and her band made a splash: Gilbert even singled Bass out for a special shout-out from the stage.
“A moment that really stuck with me and tickled my heart was when Brantley Gilbert went out of his way to call me up on stage for the last song and said to the crowd, ‘Give it up for this young lady here. She is a badass!’ To hear those words come out of his mouth and the roar of the crowd gave me chills to the bone,” the 23-year-old Bass recalled.
“This opportunity was absolutely amazing. Thank God for putting Brantley Gilbert on this earth to give artists like myself an opportunity to fight my way to the top. It was amazing being able to be surrounded by all those fans and get some one-on-one time meeting all of them.”
The early November cruise, which also featured Chase Rice, Jon Langston, Lanco, Tyler Booth, Diamond Rio, Tyler Braden and others, represented a major step forward for Bass, who’s become a rising star on Michigan’s country music scene, opened for national touring artists and who hopes to release an EP early next year.
Raised in Bath, Mich., northeast of Lansing, Bass said she’s wanted to be a singer since she was “a little girl” but couldn’t shake her stage fright until after high school.
“About a year into college when I was playing softball, I started writing my own stuff, and posting clips online with just me and my guitar. … I got some good feedback and felt like God was tugging on my heart about it,” she said.
“I didn’t know what I was doing at first. So I did lots and lots of research, got some advice and took plenty of trips to Nashville to figure out what the industry was all about. And once I got going, things really took off.”
SPREADING LIKE ‘WILDFIRE’: A BAND OF FRIENDS WITH GOOD CHEMISTRY
Indeed, Bass and her band – guitarist-singer Jason Cross (Jackson), lead guitarist Zach Hayes (Lansing), bassist Nick Schultz (Holland), guitarist Kaleb Hackworth (Homer) and drummer Ryan McFadden (Marshall) – have found a receptive, growing audience of Michigan country fans for their music and live performances.
“Things really skyrocketed for my career when the band came together. The boys and I have such good chemistry, we are best friends, we have so much fun, and when you come to a show. I think the energy and that love for what we are doing really shows on stage and spreads like wildfire,” she said.
“And I know that when I go to a show, I wanna know about the artist, I wanna know why they write a song, I wanna hear funny band stories, I want to connect. And I believe we really do that at every single show.”
After releasing her first single, “Son He Never Had,” at 19, Bass has since compiled “more than an album’s worth” of original songs and plans to release an EP next spring. She recently released the single, “Wear It Out,” along with a video, and is working with Michigan’s Smokin’ Sleddog Records on booking shows nationally. (Scroll down to watch videos.)
AFTER RUBBING ELBOWS WITH COUNTRY STARS, ‘THE SKY IS THE LIMIT’
As for her growing fan appeal, Bass insisted it’s because she’s “staying grounded in my roots and playing songs for people who love country music and the lifestyle it supports. … I write all my own stuff and I just write about life.
“The people who follow my social media say that they like my music posts, but they love to see my hobbies like hunting or fishing or my crazy family, and I think a lot of that and my lifestyle shows in my songs.”
That fan-engaging approach resonated with voters who helped pick Bass for the Gilbert cruise after her band placed among the Top 10 contestants based on videos and music submitted to the competition. Another round of online voting put Bass in the Top 5, after which voyagers on the trip selected the band for the cruise.
“This opportunity definitely created a stepping stone on my music career,” Bass said of the cruise. It created some lifelong fans that have never even heard of me before, as well as some lifelong friends with some of the other musicians. I’m so excited to see what God does with this and what doors are going to be opened.”
Indeed, forging new friendships with artists such as Braden, Booth, Langston and others was one of the highlights of the trip (a trip which also involved Bass and her five-piece band driving down to Miami from Michigan in an old shuttle bus without air-conditioning).
“By the end of the cruise, so many friendships and memories were made that it felt like we all became a family. And that goes for the artists, too,” she said. “That was definitely my favorite part of the experience.
For Bass, rubbing elbows with these country stars is just the beginning.
“I can’t tell you when or what’s going to happen, but I will say that we aren’t going to quit. God has made it pretty clear that this is what we are meant to do,” she said.
“The sky is the limit and our goal is to be nationally known, have my songs playing on the radio, and be attending CMT awards one day.”
VIDEO: Sadie Bass, “Wear It Out”
PHOTO GALLERY: Sadie Bass & Band on the Brantley Gilbert Cruise
Photos by Eric Stoike
VIDEO: Sadie Bass, “Son He Never Had”
PHOTO GALLERY: Sadie Bass at Elevation inside The Intersection (Oct. 24)
Photos by Eric Stoike
PHOTO GALLERY: Sadie Bass at Birthday Bash, Summer Jam, Country Boots & Bands, Billy Ray Cyrus
Photos by Eric Stoike