Raised in Montana where she fell in love with country music, Stephanie Quayle has followed her heart pursuing a passion she has had since a young age. Recently, she released her infectious new perfect-for-summer single, “That’s What I’m Talking About.” Stephanie kindly took the time to talk about new music, what’s ahead and feeling like anything is possible.
What drew you to country music and wanting to pursue it professionally?
Growing up in Montana, I spent week days with my mom and weekends with my dad. I was in the barn all the time before and after school; cleaning the stall, doing whatever, you name it. We had AM country radio playing twenty-four hours a day so the music was engrained in me at an early age. What drew me to country music were the stories, where from listening to the first couple lines of a song, you’re in and want to see what happens. I equate country songs with three minute movies; you get to go through a whole wild ride with the artist in one song.
I knew that I was going to do music since I was sixteen or seventeen, before that I didn’t know it was possible. When I was sixteen, I raised enough money to go to an exchange program in Switzerland for my junior year of high school….which was my way of running away legally (laughing)! I auditioned to be the singer for a band there which became my first real taste of knowing that this is something that I can do. I fell in love with the whole process; from writing to rehearsals to performing and recording. I knew this would be my life. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I think that when you have passion and determination you’ll find your way even if you have to take a few side steps.
Not only do you sing, but you also write and play guitar.
My grandmother was a piano teacher and so that became, at four years old, my first instrument. I picked up the guitar at fifteen and taught myself, but I wasn’t playing every day. Initially, I was shy about playing in front of people, but I got over it real quick. I went to Nashville where I really learned how to craft songs and take my songwriting to a whole different level. I learned how powerful a guitar can be and how to showcase a song in a whole new way. Nashville taught me that a great song doesn’t need a lot around it; a great song can really stand on its own with just a vocal and a guitar or piano. Sometimes the most stripped down songs can have the most impact.
They certainly can.
Speaking of songs, you have a new single, “That’s What I’m Talking About.” What drew you to record it?
It’s a Phil Barton song. Phil is one of my favorite songwriters in town and he wrote this song with Lindsay Rimes and Emily Shackelton. The first time I met Phil I became intoxicated by his whole way. He is so positive and fun; I just love to watch him. I asked to hear some of his songs and when I heard this one, I knew at first listen; it’s such a fun song. Every time I play it out, and that’s how I test songs, playing them live and seeing the fans' reactions, people are singing along from the first chorus, which is really cool. Even I can’t help but start dancing when I hear it!
It makes you want to move for sure!
The video recently premiered on Country Weekly. It looks like it was a fun, relaxed shoot. Was the treatment your idea?
We had different ideas, including some larger than life concepts, but then decided to go back to where it all began and do something that’s fun and makes us feel good. We could have done the verbatim thing where we go through the song phrase by phrase and make a mini move, but it was so fun just to be with the band in the studio and rock out. We filmed it in Franklin at Dark Horse Studios, a place which reminds me of Montana. I’m repping my home tee shirt and doing some of my classic, strange dance moves (laughing).
Will this song be part of an upcoming album?
I believe so. I’ve got a bunch of songs recorded, but the best song is going to win. A great song is a great song whether I write it or not. I have written songs myself that ended up not being great for me, but could be great for someone else. For me, looking for songs is like looking for the perfect pair of jeans (laughing); that’s the only way I can describe it. You go in the store and think those jeans are the one, but find that they don’t fit the same way--it’s the same as trying a song. When I find a pair of jeans I love, I tend to wear them over and over and that’s how I listen to music. When I find that song that I love, I can’t stop playing it or singing it.
We are shooting for a new album in 2016, but I want it to be special; something that the fans can dive into and that will take them on an emotional journey. When you listen to a great body of work, it has so many different emotions. My goal is to have the listener feel something when they listen, whether it’s something positive, remembering a breakup or just dancing and having a good time.
The creative side of me is ready to burst open right now! I have two writing sessions a day, plus I recently got a piano which I haven’t had in years. So it will be exciting to integrate that side of me into the music. Musically, it’s like the Wild, Wild West right now, which is really fun.
It seems like it’s gearing up to be a big year! I imagine you will also be performing live, which is something that is very important part to you.
It’s the most extraordinary experience; it’s like lightning in bottle and I live for it! Being an artist, a songwriter and a musician all have their own moments, but there is something about being on stage. I love to look at the audience, feel what they’re feeling, and just say “let’s do this together.” I have always been drawn to entertainers who make the audience a part of the show; not the “hey look at me” type. When I can stand in a sold out show and watch every single person sing every single word to every single one of my songs….that’s when I’ll know we’re where we’re supposed to be. I am always trying to write a better song, be a better musician and be a better artist. That’s what I live for and what gets me up in the morning.
Between the writing and recording, you were featured on the cover of "Montana Bride" and will be on "Say Yes To The Dress." Were you recently married or are you getting married?
I got married six weeks ago and I love being a wife! The cover of Montana Bride was from last year and I wasn’t even engaged at the time. The Say Yes To The Dress segment will be on television next year. I had so much fun doing it; it was a riot! I can’t help but be a goofball; you might even see me pull out some of my dance moves! You’ll have to tune in!
I said this before, but I want to say it again to the fans and readers; I never thought that falling in love and getting married would happen for me, and I think that when something happens in life that you think will never happen, it makes you feel like anything is possible.
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