Moriah Bailey grew up in Oklahoma. She is the daughter of a lesbian, leftist, liberation theology-influenced pastor/activist mother and a rural, conservative, creative and animal-loving father. Her parents divorced when she was 5 years old, and she spent much of her childhood in cars, shuttling back and forth between Oklahoma City, Stillwater, and the small town where her grandparents lived. Her family extended beyond her parents and their biological families; her family included the LGBTQ community that made up her mother’s church, women her mother dated, and people who lived with her family because they needed a place to go. Her first memories of live music were watching local, folk songwriters perform at coffee shops, community events, or protests. Bailey loved that music; it was clever, witty, personal, political, direct. Bailey’s music draws on these early influences but tends to be more indirect and metaphorical.
Moriah Bailey plays the harp, an instrument strongly associated with notions of purity and femininity. Much of Bailey’s approach to the harp - looping, layering, playing with ambiance, dissonance, and noise - has implicitly challenged many of these assumptions.
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