Features, Print November 5, 2020

Everybody Loves An Outlaw: Break on Through to the Other Side

by Valerie Vampola

Longmont-Based Duo Sign to Colombia Records with a Break-Out Hit

Bonnie Sims was half-asleep in her bathroom when she shared some cool news on Instagram about Everybody Loves An Outlaw, her most recent duo project with her husband, Taylor Sims. Their two year-old song, “I See Red,” was featured in the Polish soft-core film 365 Days. She hoped fans of her other project, Bonnie and the Clydes, would check Outlaw out. Instead, Columbia Records checked them out and signed them. And like that, the Longmont couple went from managing their entire music career by themselves, booking, managing and promoting, to focusing on just one thing – being an artist.

“Before, we were just DIY [musicians]. All of it was in-house: writing the songs, producing the records, and management. This thrusted us into a world with a larger team,” said Taylor Sims in a phone interview for BandWagon.

Everybody Loves An Outlaw, AKA Bonnie and Taylor Sims, riding the high of their hit "I See Red" while keeping their feet on the ground in Longmont, Colorado. All photos by Natalie Jo Gray.
Everybody Loves An Outlaw, AKA Bonnie and Taylor Sims, riding the high of their hit “I See Red” while keeping their feet on the ground in Longmont, Colorado. All photos by Natalie Jo Gray.

Before their song went viral (with currently over 51 million streams on just Spotify alone) they were making their living playing gigs all over Colorado’s front range as a duo, with Bonnie and the Clydes, or teaching music lessons. But since signing, their roles changed to having a bigger online presence while Columbia managed more behind-the-scenes activities, like promoting their EP which also bears the name I See Red

Since June, Bonnie and Taylor have shared clips on their Everybody Loves An Outlaw official Instagram page nearly every day, from the two of them covering their favorite songs, reposting their favorite covers of “I See Red” and personal bits about their life to their 12,000+ followers. These ideas came from Colombia, and while the Sims are allowed to decline influencer campaigns, they view these tasks as the price that comes with the contract.

Bonnie And Taylor Sims created Everybody Loves an Outlaw after connecting with producer Robbie Nevil in Boulder. Photo by Natalie Jo Gray.

“A lot of time they [major labels] have to beg the artists to do that work, constantly updating and posting. A lot of young artists don’t realize how powerful these tools are,” said Taylor.

After all, it was Bonnie’s original online presence that made Everybody Loves an Outlaw happen. In 2018, producer and songwriter Robbie Nevil (known for the 1986 hit “C’est la Vie” was looking for a new project, specifically involving a singer who could compare to the band Dorothy, a blues rock group with a slight country flair and a penchant for songs with words like hell in the title. A mutual friend brought up Bonnie’s name, and Nevil sifted through her YouTube page. Soon, the couple found themselves jamming with Nevil in Boulder.

After recording their EP, Nevil talked them into licensing out their tracks, particularly to a company called Extreme Music, a part of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. That’s how their song ended up on 365 Days, which made its Netflix debut in June, 2020. 

Expecting to just make some side-cash from licensing, they were surprised that “I See Red” blew up all over Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube. But someone like Nevil, who wrote songs for Earth Wind & Fire and produced music for High School Musical and Hannah Montana, knew what he was doing, and he helped the couple navigate their way through this new wing of the music industry.

Bonnie Sims of Everybody Loves An Outlaw sports a custom lid by Greeley Hat Works in Northern Colorado.

Bonnie and Taylor continue to revel in how different their lives feel, navigating a style and level of production in which they are not used to working. Their project Bonnie and the Clydes deals more in the realm of folksy-acoustic style, showcasing the finite, organic sounds of their five-piece band. Everybody Loves an Outlaw is the opposite, where there are no limitations. With that mentality, they picture a more full live production in the future with a bigger band, one that will call for another sold out Red Rocks show like the one they played in September with Gasoline Lollipops. 

But regardless of their sold-out shows and skyrocketing number of streams, the hardworking duo don’t forget all the little pieces that brought them here. One of those crucial pieces was Extreme Music’s Polish office, who selected their song for 365 Days. After the song blew up, the Sims sent them a thank you video for taking part in their journey. Absolutely thrilled, the office sent a video back.

“People aren’t very grateful,” said Bonnie, “so it means something when you are. People are blown away by it.”

Everybody Loves An Outlaw release a brand-new track this month. Follow them on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify to make sure you catch it. All photos by Natalie Jo Gray; Bonnie Sims’ hat by Greeley Hat Works.