Interview by Rebecca Mae
Photos by Luke Rogers
Meet Gayle! Fearlessly honest and undeniably magnetic, 17-year-old singer/songwriter GAYLE creates the kind of self-possessed pop music that’s empowering for both artist and audience. Since making her debut with the boldly confessional “dumbass”—a heavily playlisted track that premiered in early 2020—the Nashville-based musician has independently released a series of singles built on her unfiltered yet beautifully nuanced brand of songwriting.
What does it mean to you to have your dreams coming true at 17 years old?
It means everything to me. Obviously I still have things I want to do and achieve but I’ve wanted to do music professionally for as long as I can remember. I’ve wanted to be signed to Atlantic Records since I was twelve and it still blows my mind that it actually happened!
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
Aretha Franklin has always been a huge inspiration to me. Her soul and presence as a live performer is absolutely astounding.
You have talked about being so young writing about feelings you have never experienced, and that you would write the song based on something you were watching or reading. Do you feel like you are a stronger writer when you write that way versus your own experiences?
I use to guess how emotions felt and put them into songs which at times made it harder to connect with the song on a deeper level. Drawing from personal experience personally allows me to put more of myself and emotions into a song.
What does it mean to you that your family relocated for you to pursue your passion?
It means the world. My mother changed her life for me and I want to do everything in my power to make sure that decision was worth it for my mother and my brother.
Who has been your favorite collaborator so far?
Honestly there’s so many people I’ve enjoyed collaborating with but I do have to say James Droll is amazing to work with and we even put out a song together! It was such a joyful experience creating something and then getting visuals to it and putting it out into the world!
Who is a collaborator that is on your bucket list, and why?
Delacy, she’s an amazing artist as well as a talented writer and I would love to experience her process as a collaborator.
What is your involvement like in regards to your music videos? What does that side of the creative process look like for you?
I’m a control freak and a perfectionist so I can’t just let someone else come up with the idea for my song. Normally, I come up with the theme of the music video, what emotion I want to come across, what color I want, the quality of the camera I want, etc. and I then bring the idea to a director and we go through the finer details and we make our vision come to life!
You have spoken about your chromesthesia, do you feel that it hinders or helps you, and why?
It can hurt me sometimes because I can love a song and hate the color which is a really weird feeling at times. It can also help me because I can connect my visuals to what color the song is but if I don’t like the color I just won’t use it haha
You recently announced that you will be touring with Winnetka Bowling League, how did that come about?
I submitted myself for their tour and they ended up not hating me for some reason haha
Who is on your playlist right now?
Delacy, Upsahl, MAY-A, The Backseat Lovers, Dominic Fike, and Del Water Gap.
What is the next goal on the horizon for you?
I’m currently working on coming out with a body of work that will hopefully be heard in 2022.