Chatting (not drinking) With Stephanie Quayle about her single Drinking With Dolly, Women In Country and more…
The first chord of the song, the first line ‘Sometimes I think I was born too late’, I knew this was my song!
Stephanie Quayle is a rising Country music singer/songwriter – originally from Montana but now resides in Nashville. Partnering with acclaimed producer Matt McClure of the 2013 CMA “Song of the Year,” “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice, Quayle’s new music is much anticipated.
Stephanie recently released Drinking With Dolly as the first single off her up and coming EP. I caught up with Stephanie to discuss her single Drinking With Dolly, her EP and to have a chat in general.
To find out more about Stephanie, please visit her website here:
You can download Drinking With Dolly here:
Listen to Drinking With Dolly by Stephanie Quayle on @AppleMusic.
Hi Stephanie, how are you, what have you been up to?
I am good thanks! I have been busy. I’m from Montana so I was back in Montana for Labour Day Weekend and tomorrow I’m heading out to New Orleans. I have a show there tomorrow night – I am doing an after show for Brantley Gilbert. Then I go back to Montana on Friday for the second annual BMI Sacajawea Song Festival, which is really fun because it’s just me and the guitar and telling stories about my little songs I write and it’s with a lot of friends and family, so it will be good times.
That sounds amazing!
Yeah! I love the fact that music has shown me so much of the world and so many incredible people. I mean that’s the best part of this crazy travel schedule – just getting to see so many parts of the United States, and other places as well, and just meeting so many incredible fans and new friends. It’s just really cool.
That really does sound like fun. Your current single is Drinking With Dolly – I absolutely love that song!
I am so glad you love this song. I love this song so much too. It’s the greatest joy of my world.
Could you tell us how you came to record the song and how you felt when you first heard it?
Absolutely! So the first time I heard Drinking With Dolly – I was in the studio with our producer Matt McClure– he has produced so many incredible records – and he said ‘I have a song you have to hear’. I love it when someone says ‘I have something you have to hear’, because that means that there is already a passion behind it. So he put this song on for me and it was just a guitar and vocal of Drinking With Dolly. Rachel Proctor and Victoria Banks wrote this song – and the first chord of the song, Hannah, the first line ‘Sometimes I think I was born too late’, I knew this was my song! I got chills, I started crying, you know those tears, those uncontrollable tears that just come out of your eyeballs and you just don’t know what’s happening, but you just go with it? It was one of those moments for me and I just knew that it was a must, and I knew it was meant to be sung and heard by the world. I didn’t have any idea what I meant when I was saying that at the time – you know when you say something so grand like’ the world has to hear this song’, ‘this magnificent song can’t be forgotten’. I didn’t know then that it was going to become my single on radio, that we would be shooting a music video and that it would be getting the reviews and the reception that it has.
It’s such a precious song and an honour to great women in Country music, that it was just all those ‘musts’ wrapped up. So when it all just started unfolding, it just continued to take my breath away. I was blown away by the song.
It’s so refreshing, because it’s almost traditional but current.
Right – I know exactly what you mean, because that’s how I feel when I hear it – it takes me back and it takes me forward.
It is a great song and you sing it beautifully.
Thank you! You know what I love? As we are working on this up and coming EP and album, I always think about, ‘Does this song move me? Do I believe in what I am singing?’. Because, if I don’t believe in it, then the fans aren’t going to believe in it. I can hear someone else sing a song and be like, wow! – they don’t really feel what they are singing.
I agree with that.
But putting this project together, from Drinking With Dolly to some of the other songs I’ve written and that we have been able to find, there’s a little bit of everything. But coming from Montana, growing up in this Country-western lifestyle and music- it’s just in me and that has to come through. That’s what’s really fun about putting a project together, and finding those songs and writing those songs that touch on all those senses.
Well you can’t teach passion, you can’t teach someone to sing a song with meaning. You can’t teach emotion – it has to come naturally.
No, you can’t – and that’s what was really, you know, kind of unique about this situation. When we were first going into the studio to find songs and record the songs and write songs, and look at my work and see what was rising to the occasion, I had no intention other than ‘musts’. Like when I heard Drinking With Dolly, it was a must. When I recorded songs of my own that I’d written – they were musts. Everything has not been about what I hoped people will think about it – it’s first and foremost that this is a must. People have to hear this song, because it is such a strong message, or it is so much fun, or it takes you back, or it’s a song of empathy and understanding. So whatever it is – that’s the beauty of music – is to feel something.
Well, you can have the best voice and not sing it as well as someone with not as good of a voice, who really delivers the song’s message with passion and emotion
It’s so funny you know, one of the very first times I was ever singing in the studio behind a microphone it was actually in the presence of Dionne Warwick, so this is just kind of a funny story. I have actually never talked about this in an interview before, but it just struck me because of what you said about it can be a greater singer, but if the passion and the sentiment of what’s being sung isn’t there, it isn’t translated and it misses the whole moment. I was behind the microphone and it was kind of this wild project that actually never got to be. I was just another singer, another artist on this song that they were working on, and I was behind the microphone when she comes on (Dionne Warwick) through the intercom through the studio and she said something to the effect of ‘Dear, try smiling when you sing’. She said it in just her cool Dionne Warwick kind of way, so I was like ‘I’ll do anything she tells me’ and what was so amazing was to listen back and to hear the difference between when I was singing it and then when I was singing it with a smile. That was something that has stuck with me to this day. Like, every time I am in the studio , I will walk out if I am not feeling it; if I am trying versus singing; if I’m thinking versus feeling – I will be like ‘You know what? Today’s just not the day to get this vocal, because it’s not doing justice to the song’. I know exactly what you mean – when you hear a song and you hear someone so passionate that it doesn’t matter if they might have a note that might not be perfect – it makes those flaws so delicious, because you feel it.
Exactly! Dionne Warwick too, that is pretty cool.
You have released a lyric video for Drinking With Dolly – are we going to be seeing a full video?
Yes you are. It is going to be shot in the next few weeks.
Oh that’s exciting!
It is really exciting and it’s so interesting with a song like this – but it can take so many directions in a music video and go so many different ways. I think that we finally put together a message that’s kind of timeless and that has the tradition and the modern, and the then and the now, that just makes it all make sense in a really special way. It just tells a really incredible story and I can’t wait to share it visually, because I think there is something so powerful about a music video, it brings a song to life.
I am very excited – I am intrigued to know what is going to be in the video.
Soon, ha it’s coming!
I don’t want any hints, haha!
I won’t give you any. It is to Drinking With Dolly, so there’s your hint, haha!
Ah, so there will be drinking in it? Haha!
Well, I don’t know actually, haha!
Haha, change it up and the video will be going bowling with Dolly instead.
Wouldn’t that be a stitch? I would love to go bowling with Dolly Parton that would be the coolest. You know Dolly has heard the song.
I was just about to ask that….
Dolly’s heard it and, you know, when I think about being that little kid with these huge dreams and listening to Dolly Parton, never did I think that there would be a day that I would sing a song that she would hear. It’s just really an incredible time and we – I say we because there’s a team that’s working just incredibly hard to let this song be heard – are so grateful because it’s absolutely an earned spot. It’s such an incredible song to come on to this scene with, because it’s so honest.
Well I believe in the song, so I hope it gets the attention it deserves – and over here, too.
Oh, thank you so much, I sincerely appreciate that.
Speaking of Women In Country earlier on, I read that Women In Country is something you feel very strongly about. Do you think Country radio is changing a bit more since the whole Tomato incident?
Tomato gate? You know what I think is happening, is that I think that so many people were really taken by what he (Keith Hill) said. I haven’t got to meet him yet, but what I would do is say ‘Thank you!’ Because, he created a positive epidemic by making a comment comparing women to tomatoes and the beauty in all of that, is that everyone started talking about women in country music. So I just have a ton of gratitude for it, because it got a ton of people talking. It got people listening to more music, especially from females, and I think that there are so many great female artists that, if anything, it is just pushing us all to make better music, be better entertainers and continue to just persevere through it. You know, I think like with anything there are certain things that aren’t in our control, but being a great artist and making great music and continuing to be there for the fans is the number one thing and the rest is the rest. I know the power of radio for sure – you know the people that get access to radio music is just such a huge platform and I am very hopeful, I believe that there are so many great women that are making great music, that I think that it’s moving in that direction. So I don’t know how long it’s going to take but it’s an exciting time for women.
We love our female Country artists here.
When you go back to the time when it was Faith, Shania, Martina, Tricia, LeAnn, I mean there are so many women that I think that it’s just going to take a few people to go ‘You know what? Let’s play two women back to back – let’s put more women on the stage – let’s build more about it.’ I think it’s just something that is going to take a little nudging. But all the women I have met in Country music, they are all pretty strong women, so I don’t think that will be a problem.
I love Miranda Lambert – Kacey Musgraves Is an incredible writer and Brandy Clark – I think she was just over in the UK. Maren Morris is phenomenal and Kelsea Ballerini has done great things – and then you’ve got Cam and there just a lot of extraordinary women continuing to make great music and that’s all we can do.
Well, that was pretty much going to be my next question – who in Country Music are you listening to right now?
Well, I have been a fan of Maren since forever now and I remember when I first heard My Church. One of my songwriter friends had posted a Songwriters Round with Maren singing it and I was just like, ‘that’s a phenomenal song’. Cam – I just love her personality and her music is outstanding. You know what I look for in an artist – is so much more than the music. I want to know the person, so when I can get behind a person, I become like a super fan. You know how much hard work goes into this business and the time and the sacrifice, so when someone can be so together on all those levels – from the artist and the writer, the business person and just the person – you know, it’s just really refreshing to me, especially when we are talking about women, awesome women that are so supportive of each other in a field that’s really tough. It’s a huge challenge and I just think it’s a really beautiful time to be in Country music.
Definitely! So, you’re a song writer too -, can you describe a typical day of songwriting?
Oh, my goodness! Well, I love to write. I was just in a writing session this morning, actually and every time is different. What I’ve found interesting over the last few months of writing, is that I am finding myself getting fixated on an idea, prior to a session and bringing it to a session. So far it has been an interesting experiment to see if it works or not, but it’s really been fun. I find myself just more aware of everything – like I am looking at dish soap right now – and that probably won’t make for a great Country song, but it might inspire something? (Laughs)
You never know – haha!
You don’t, ha! I can think of a good line and I find myself writing down one liner’s a lot! I have a little book that I carry around just dedicated and devoted to little song bites. So each time is completely different. This morning I was writing with a buddy of mine called Troy Coleman – he goes by the name Cowboy Troy. He plays with Big and Rich. He is just really fun and he has toured with them – well he has toured with everybody, but he is just one of those souls, who is an incredible human. This was our first writing experience together today and when it’s easy, it’s right you know? When it just makes sense, it just makes sense – and we just had a great session, with a really fun concept.
You have an EP coming soon; do we know the release date yet?
Probably early 2017. With the music video coming out for Drinking With Dolly and the holidays coming, it will probably be early next year that we get that EP rockin’ and rollin’. I can’t wait for you to hear all the songs.
I can’t wait to hear it, it’s very exciting.
You have just partnered with Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply. Could you tell us a little bit about who they are and what the partnership means?
They are a lifestyle home and ranch store. You can go there and get pretty much everything from your horse halter, dog food to your boots and to what you’re wearing out to dinner- it has everything! What’s really fun about this store and its organisation – they call themselves the Murdochians – we have very similar ethics and work ethic and just – we love people. I used to shop in the store, I still shop in the store. I went in there the other day and got myself a new pair of boots and it’s just one of those places that has everything you need. It’s really fun, so we’re building a social media campaign around our partnership and what I have always said is, if I can wear it on the back of my horse and on stage then it’s kind of a perfect day. I have this vision in my head that I’ll jump off stage on to my horse and ride off. So the company is just really good people – it’s a family owned company and they have built it from the ground up, so we have a lot of similarities in that sense – and with our love of community. It’s so nice to go into a store that is locally owned by people you grew up with and go in and get your new boots or dog food It’s just the perfect place. It’s the perfect fit.
I will make sure to go there next time I am over. You have a very loyal fan base who continuously voted for you for Macy’s Rising Star on iHeart Radio. How did that go and can you tell me more about what it was exactly?
Yes, that was when I saw my fans in a whole new light. So, in the Macy’s iHeart Rising Star competition, we got to the top five. My fans were just ravenous to share Drinking with Dolly. To see my fans go to that level for me, day in and day out and vote and spread the word, it still rocks me. I am in awe of them and my last name is Quayle, so the fans go by the name ‘Flock of Quayle’ and they just embrace this Flock of Quayle identity. We say ‘Flock On’ a lot and it’s been really fun to create and build our community and I consider my fans as family. So how to continue to build that and still always make it feel like you’re hanging around the campfire – that’s something we are building and growing. That’s what we want and what we have been dreaming about, but also you can never lose that sense of family.
Have you been to Dollywood yet?
I have not been yet, but I hear that I get to go in the next couple of months, which I am so excited about. I think I will just want to live there.
Thank you so much for chatting to me today and I really hope you come to the UK. There are so many fans that would love to have you here. I cannot wait for the new music and the new video.
Thank you, I hope to come over soon.