17- year-old singer/songwriter GAYLE makes the kind of empowering pop music that’s both empowering for audience members and artists alike. In the months following her Atlantic Records debut track ‘abcdefu’, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter has used her unique artistry to release music that showcases her unfiltered and incredibly subtle songwriting style.
There is something about GAYLE that makes you want to listen more, as her authentic raw voice knows how to bring goosebumps on someone. Some of her songs that resonate with that feeling include her personal commentary, ‘z’; her heavy-hearted ballad, ‘happy for you’; and her dreamy R&B-inspired, ‘orange peel’. During her breakout success, her name was soon brought to Atlantic Records’ attention, leading up to May 2020, when they signed her on at the age of 16. As Atlantic Records is one of the biggest record labels across the globe, she describes this opportunity as a “fever dream”.
“I wanted to be signed onto Atlantic Records since I was 12 so this is something that I’ve wanted for years and years and years, and it really is like a dream come true for me,” GAYLE says. “This is the thing that I’ve always wanted and it actually happened. It’s a long process getting signed and there are a lot of parts and steps to it, but it leaves a lot of time for the celebratory dessert! When I got offered the deal, I went to Crumble Cookies and I was like, ‘Great, I got cookies, and I got offered a deal’. My lawyers hadn’t even approved the contract yet by the time I went to Chili’s and got my chocolate cake! Because I was underage, I had to get it approved by the court.”
After making her first trip to Nashville at the age of 10, GAYLE began playing in bars around town and soon became a household name. Her family then relocated to Nashville, when she began booking up to five sessions a week co-writing with other writers, after nearly two years of traveling back and forth from Texas. As she wasn’t necessarily touring all over Texas, she recalls singing the National Anthem at various rodeos, as well as sheep-selling conventions, farmer’s markets, and even at the corner of parking lots with just her guitar!
“I’m so lucky to have the mother I do because she had WiFi in her car, and I would do school for ten hours straight while on the road,” GAYLE says. “I was able to graduate at 16, which was really nice. I’m not going to college and I’m really trying hard not to *laughs*, so it’s been really nice to be able to have the time to focus on music. But, honestly, it was really lonely when I first moved to Nashville because I was 12 and I was homeschooled while being in a completely different state.”
However, when she moved to Nashville, she looks back on how hard it was to find people her age who understood what she was doing. On top of that, she was working in the Pop realm, as Nashville holds a huge country fan base.
“I love country music, it’s just not something that my heart is called out to do,” GAYLE says. “It was definitely lonely for a long time, but then it just slowly started getting better. I started getting older and people started getting more comfortable with my age being around and hanging out with me and writing with me, and I just slowly started finding my tribe. It was definitely quite the experience for me.”
Now, GAYLE does a fantastic job of giving listeners an impression of freedom through her music. Her debut single, ‘abcdefu’ is the perfect example that shows off her capacity to integrate raw honesty with an eccentric and sometimes irreverent perspective. Plus, the song’s nominal guitar work gives way to soaring vocals in its chorus at its triumphant end. There are also many different released versions of this ode, as the original version was just a demo, co-written with two friends of hers, Sara Davis and David Pittenger.
“A lot of the times when you write a song, it doesn’t sound the way it’s going to necessarily get reached out, as we originally wrote ABC on just guitar,” GAYLE explains. “There are a lot of times where you do an acoustic video for your song and for the video, and for some reason, I kept hearing this version that I thought of – a prom slow dance. For some reason, I heard this super chill version of ‘ABC’ with a third part harmony, which sounded super pretty.”
For the demo and original release, it’s only ‘abcdefu’. However, listeners may also love the angrier version, as it contains ‘abcde f**k you’. GAYLE says she loves those crop vocals the most as they recorded those the same day.
“I say f**k so many times in the original and in the demo,” GAYLE says. “I was like, ‘Still not enough, I need more *chuckles*… I just really loved the juxtaposition of this third part harmony, but I was just saying f**k a bunch. For an angrier version, which is a lot of crop vocals and horn-like sounding drums or electric guitars, and then saying, “F**k you” instead of “F U”. It just all became this little mixtape. My best friend, Sara Davis, and I wrote this song together and David had this publisher’s office that he was writing in but he was by himself. Because of that, we were screaming, “F**k you!” and we gave him no context. He says, ‘Well then we should do crop vocals’ and we’re like, ‘okay”! So he turned on the microphone and we just start screaming, ‘Nanananana. ABCDE… F**k you!’ at the top of our lungs and he said, ‘What the f**k? Are you two okay?’ and we’re like, ‘No, let’s do it again. I hear that and I just think of the experience when I was recording those, and I also am a sucker for guitar… the electric guitar really gets me going!”
For GAYLE, music helps her be more comfortable with her emotions, especially when she hears them from a confident perspective.
“Even with the ‘ABC’ song – for a long time, I just didn’t let myself be pissed off,” GAYLE says. “So when I did, it came out in a really extreme way because I bottled it up for so long, and I hope that this song helps take away from the process of bottling things up and just letting yourself feel it and being comfortable with being pissed off or being comfortable with being sad and being comfortable with who you are as a person, as well as being confident.”
Watch ‘abcedfu’ down below:
Meanwhile, follow GAYLE on her social outlets below: