SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — If you happened to see ABC’s Good Morning America recently, you heard why Bailey Zimmerman is one of country music’s hottest young performers. What you may not have seen was the guy on drums. 2017 Bishop Heelan graduate, Max Miller. But his story doesn’t start on the stage in the Big Apple.
“I’ve gotta give it to my parents for letting me play in the basement,” said Miller.
Something he was doing before his 2nd birthday.
“I think they saw the love I had for it at a very young age. What do we do here. Let’s give him a little drum set and see what happens,” he said.
His first drum “kit” arrived at four. Lessons followed years later at places like Ray’s Midbell Music, until the student proved to be better than the teacher. KCAU 9 recently met there for a demonstration.
“You keep making new goals. Make one, well here’s the next. Looking to meet anyone who can help you get to the next goal,” said Miller.
From 2013 to 2019, Miller was making the rounds as a member of 35th and Taylor.
“I always compare myself to people I follow on social media and they are insanely good and I’m like, ‘I got to get better. Got to do this and do that,’” said Miller.
Sacrifices, along the way with a dream of someday having a music career.
“Missing prom, dances, sports. I only got to run in one event at state track when I qualified in five because we had a show in a small Iowa town. I’ve been ready for it,” he said.
After a move to Omaha and working with bands including Dane Lewis, it was time to take a shot. So, in October 2021, Miller and his girlfriend packed up and headed to Music City, USA. Nashville, Tennessee.
“Grounding experience. There’s talent everywhere. If you’re in a bar, I guarantee there’s at least two guys better than you, but that makes you want to get better,” He said. “Striving, meeting people and being at the right place at the right time.”
And that brings us back to Bailey Zimmerman whose debut single, Fall in Love, rose to the No. 1 spot on the Country charts in 2022.
Five months after arriving in Nashville and with no idea who Bailey Zimmerman was, Miller was in the right place at the right time when another aspiring musician rang his phone.
“He got a hold of me and said, ‘Come to this Whiskey Jam! I’ve got something to talk to you about.’ I got there, and he was like, ‘Hey man, this is Bailey Zimmerman and I showed him your Instagram and he really dug your playing,’ and then I met Bailey. He gave me a pep speech. He said, ‘If you come with me, give it two years and we’ll be in stadiums,’ and I was like, ‘I like this guy, I’m in,’” said Miller.
In fact, in for the long haul. Bailey Zimmerman recently extended his first headlining tour.
“It was wild for a while. It took a few months to really understand everything that was going on,” Miller said. “Our first headlining tour of venues was like this. Not small, but medium-sized clubs. Sold every show out so it was crazy.”
In March, Bailey Zimmerman is set to headline Morgan Wallen’s World Tour. 63 dates.
“You could have told me a year and three months ago that I’d be playing stadiums in 2023, I’d called you a liar. There’s no way. There’s some record for playing Fenway three times, Wrigley two nights, Busch Stadium. There’s so many to look forward to,” he said.
Seven months on the road living a dream and decades in the making.
“More than grateful to be doing it man,” said Miller.