Georgia native Chlöe Bailey is everywhere. She recently appeared in the Amazon series “Swarm.” She just released a new solo album. And she is anchoring a new Peacock film “Praise This.”
In the new gospel comedy, Bailey plays Sam, a rebellious non-believing teen forced to move to Atlanta and join a praise team.
The film is very much in the vein of the “Pitch Perfect” movies and for 24-year-old Bailey, the fact it was set and shot in Atlanta was a big deal. She grew up in Mableton until her early teen years.
“We shot this in Atlanta and I got to move back to my hometown for three months,” she said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was so nostalgic and exciting at the same time. I got to see some of my favorite spots growing up. I got to pass churches I knew and we even shot in some churches I had visited before.”
She said she relates to her character Sam’s journey. “It’s definitely the music for both of us and how we strive to be at the top of our careers,” she said. “She’s an aspiring musician and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make her dreams possible.”
In the movie, Sam reluctantly joins the praise team with her much more chipper cousin Jess, played by Anjelika Washington. Despite being polar opposites, Sam’s character accepts her cousin because they have known each other since they were tiny, Bailey said.
“She loves Jess,” Bailey said. “That’s family. It’s love and the power of God. Jess opened Sam’s mind up to God.”
Bailey also got to work with Migos’ star Quavo, who plays Ty, a popular rap star who takes a professional interest in Sam.
“There was a scene that brought back so many memories of me meeting producers hoping they’d work with me,” Bailey said. “And it was great to pull from his own experiences.”
The movie was produced by Atlanta’s Will Packer, known for films such as “Ride Along” and “Girls Trip.” He was excited to have Bailey as the lead.
“She reminds me of Beyoncé with her work ethic,” he said in a text to the AJC. “She is relentless. Mark my words. She’s destined for greatness.”
Bailey had a brief but notable role in Amazon’s “Swarm,” a satirical comedy-horror series directed by Atlanta native Donald Glover. She plays the foster sister of a woman obsessed with a Beyoncé-type star. Some folks on Twitter took issue with a brief sex scene Bailey had in the first episode. She brushed critiques aside, saying she was proud of her work in the series.
“Donald Glover is such a genius,” she said. “Working with him was on my vision board in 2018 and it came to light. He was so kind, loving and warm. He also inspires me as a blueprint to balance music and acting so eloquently.”
Bailey has been known for years as part of part of the duo Chloe x Halle, but the sisters are now focusing on solo projects. Bailey just released a new album “In Pieces” and is embarking on her first big tour, which stops at The Eastern in Atlanta April 23.
The album, she said, took three years and is a bit of a “coming out” party of her, a declaration of independence. It also features contributions from Missy Elliott, Chris Brown and Future.
“I wanted to experiment and have fun,” she said, “and make a cohesive body of work.”
Beyoncé provided Bailey guidance on the album and Bailey said her mentor told her “to keep my mind open and creative and keep God first through it all.”
Sales started slow, with the album debuting on the Billboard Top 200 this week at No. 119. After the AJC interview, she posted on Twitter on April 10 that the album “was about letting go & trusting myself. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it and I love everyone who listened to it.”
For now, she said she is just trying to grow and mature as an artist. “I’ve learned that it’s okay to be more than one thing,” she said. “I can cry one moment and cuss the next. We all have layers. I have to allow myself to be present. I have to allow myself to feel and not stifle any feelings and emotions.”
Streaming on Peacock
8 p.m. April 23. $65. The Eastern, 777 Memorial Drive SE, Building C, Atlanta. easternatl.com.
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution including TV, radio, film, comedy and all things in between. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years. He loves tennis, pop culture & seeing live events.