GAYLE

Pop’s newest tour de force, GAYLE, is proving that she’s here for the long haul on new EP, a study of the human experience volume two.

Whenever a new artist releases their first few initial singles, in most cases, expectations can be fairly tame in terms of how those tracks will perform. After all, it must be an exhilarating feeling to finally release a track after having spent the time and effort crafting something you want to show the world and anything else that happens after putting out the art is a bonus. But ever since the American artist GAYLE dropped the emotive tune dumbass and its glistening follow-up, Z, in 2020, things have exceeded expectations from the get-go. The tracks gained a respectful amount of streams and even caught the attention of an international audience. Fast forward a year and things went into overdrive once the Texas-born singer dropped her major label debut song, abcedfu. A global smash hit and viral sensation which catapulted this new artist to heady heights. Long story short, it’s an earworm of a tune and some might say a hard act to follow. But follow she did and not in the way one would expect. Rather than trying to frantically capitalise on the massive success of that song by rushing out a debut album, GAYLE has spent the last several months perfecting her craft, tightening her live performances, and honing in on her identity as an artist. No rushing about, only a thoughtful and mature approach to this newfound spotlight she finds herself in the centre of.

With that approach in mind, GAYLE dropped the EP a study of the human experience volume one earlier this year and as of today has released the second half of the project, a second EP entitled a study of the human experience volume two. Undoubtedly volume two is a collection of songs that showcases GAYLE’s songwriting skills on a more playful, sincere, introspective level than ever before. It’s an exceptional body of work that acts as a decent introduction to who this new pop artist is and if anything, it proves that she’s up to the task of going the distance within the music industry. 1883 Magazine’s Cameron Poole sat down with GAYLE via Zoom call to discuss her latest release, social media, and being mistaken for The 1975 at Reading & Leeds Festival.

 

 

Photography by Acacia Evans

 

Hi GAYLE thanks for chatting with 1883 Magazine. Your sophomore EP a study of the human experience volume two is out now. Was it always the plan to release the two volumes – you could easily imagine it being named your debut record…  and what would you say you are most proud about the new EP?

The first song I ever put out with Atlantic was abcdefu. It was a song where I was like ‘Let’s just put it out and see what happens’ so for me personally, I was like ‘Whatever it does, I hope to either do that again or go a little bit above.’ Two or three months after it first came out it got a million streams so I was like ‘Great, I’m gonna put out another song which might get two million streams’ but no, I’m definitely not thinking I’m going to do better than abcdefu, especially seeing as it was such a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s not something that necessarily gets to happen every day which I’m very aware of. I’m not trying to recreate what happened with abcdefu because I don’t think it’s something you can plan, I don’t think it would be the best thing for me and my brain or even my career to try and recreate a moment that happened so organically and naturally just by people liking the song. After abcdefu came out there were talks about possibly doing an album but because I was such a new artist and this was the first time I was getting any commercial success of any type, I personally wanted to wait and work on an album next year. By that time I’ll be 18 and experienced with touring and I’ll have an understanding of how my music translates live.

With the EPs, I wanted the opportunity to build more of a fanbase and talk more about who I am as a person, and the type of music I’m trying to make. I also wanted to give myself more of an introduction before I put out a debut album. Your first album is your debut album so that is something I’m starting to focus on. I am very glad I was able to release two projects and learn what it’s like to make music videos for them all the work that goes into the whole EP. I now feel more experienced for my eventual debut album. 

One thing I’m proud of with the second EP is that I dive deeper into my story and the things I find intimidating to talk about. On the internet especially, it’s very intimidating for me to talk about the fact I’m not religious because I never want to disrespect anybody’s own religious beliefs, I just personally don’t have those beliefs. Growing up in Texas where many people are religious there was a kind of attitude toward people who weren’t religious so it was something I knew I could possibly get judged for. I also started talking more openly about more intimate things such as sex and being horny toward people without wanting to fuck, marry or kill somebody [EP track FMK featuring blackbear]. I was also able to explore the intensities and the crazier part of my emotions with indieedgycool I was able to show more of my sarcastic and playful side. 

Throughout the project I was able to talk more about myself and my personal experiences and opened myself up to talk about things. So there’s a possibility that some people may relate to some of the songs. On one song off the EP, I’m talking about something I went through that is scary for me to talk about but also I want to have the ability for somebody else to be like ‘Hey, I went through that’  and they feel comforted and can share that with somebody even if it’s a complete stranger.

 

Since the release of your debut single dumbass and Z in 2020, it’s been an extremely busy two years for yourself. As someone who started singing at age 7 and was performing in bars at age 10 and then playing tons of shows in Nashville at the age 12, do you think your busy and musical background has helped prepare you for the highs, lows, and pressure of stardom? Things must have gone into overdrive once your viral track abcdefu dropped last year…

I think it prepared me for some things but not everything. I understand the music industry and how it works but not completely yet. I think everybody has their own personal relationship with the music industry and where they see themselves inside it. All my friends are in music so I see how it works on the business side and the musical side. I’ve been able to see it and understand that it is an industry because I started going to Nashville at 10-years-old and I also have been more prepared for live shows because I did writer’s rounds. I did them from the ages of 10-years-old to 14-years-old–which was when the pandemic hit and it was harder to go out to bars. 

One thing that writer’s rounds taught me is that you’re really lucky when you’re an artist playing at a festival or a concert because people came to hear live music, people are going to a show to see that artist or they’re going to a festival to literally discover new music so you have people’s attention in some way. But When you’re going to a bar and singing, nobody is there for you, nobody cares. You’re just singing in a corner so how do you get people who weren’t there for you to pay attention to you? What can you say to make everybody stop what they’re doing and actually care about you? How do you say it? How do you sing it? And that was songwriting for me, It was a really monumental experience for me. I was also able to learn how to co-write because of writer’s rounds as well.

After a writer’s round I’d go up to people and be like ‘Hey, I really love your music and would love to write a song with you’ so we would write a song in my living room, the two of us with our guitars. But doing writer’s rounds didn’t fully prepare me for how to do an hour-long live set with a full band though, that was something which was a learning curve for me because I was used to sharing a stage with three other people but now I share the stage with two other people who are my bandmates and it’s just us doing an hour set. Being in Nashville really helped me learn how to write music, how to sing, and how to perform but the one thing it didn’t teach me to do is put myself or my music on social media. I’m still trying to figure out my relationship with social media, it’s something I’m still working on, and it’s not a natural thing.

It’s not a natural thing for a lot of artists, people who do music have to learn how to put themselves on social media. It’s an amazing thing though, 50 years ago we didn’t have the ability to have an audience for our music. Even if only 20 people view the video, there’s a possibility for a million people to see it and that never used to happen. You need to take this opportunity but also understand the fact it’s not a natural thing, people don’t know how to put themselves in front of the camera and be like ‘Listen to my music’ because we’re all nerds that just love music and want to make it. That’s something I’m still learning how to do, it’s still unnatural for me. But being in Nashville for as long as I have and being in music the way I have has taught me a lot. There are still some things I wasn’t fully prepared for though that I have had to learn this year.

 

You’re constantly learning new things at every stage of your career but you’re right because I think it is so extremely unnatural to project yourself on social media, especially when the main thing you care about is music. It’s odd that you essentially then have to have a fully formed social media vision to go alongside your music. There’s also the dilemma of knowing what to share on social media or what not to share and it can probably become overwhelming because when you have a growing fan base it must be a lot to deal with. I totally understand why a lot of like musicians or actors or anyone with a big following gets like ‘Okay, I need to switch off from social media’.

I play the guitar, the bass, the piano, and I sing. I know how to write songs but I don’t know how to film a TikTok, you know? Over the past two years of posting on social media, I have definitely gotten so much more comfortable and it’s such an incredible opportunity to have social media. It has completely changed the music industry and has given the power to artists and songwriters to show our music to people for free which is an amazing privilege but it’s still such a learning curve for all of us to learn how to naturally do it. We need to find the best ways to feel like we’re not giving away part of ourselves just for something on social media. For me personally, it’s like ‘How do I feel like myself and still be on TikTok?’…

 

If anything, being mentored by grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Kara DioGuardi must have been a deeply helpful and insightful experience during your formative years as an artist. Could you tell us a little bit about what Kara means to you and how you came to work with her at Arthouse Publishing…

I met Kara when I was 14-years-old, I was in Nashville for four years before I met her and I was just basically drowning in the big city of Nashville. I tried my best to do the best things I possibly could but I was writing with people in my living room, and having my songs live on voice memo, it was just guitars and the most I would be able to do is play at some bar for 30 people maybe. That was my life for four years whilst also trying to do school at the same time. I then got into High School, I was homeschooled, and I met Kara. She taught me so much about songwriting and discovering my artistry. One thing I really love about Kara and something so special about her is she can see something in you before you see it in yourself. 

She saw an intensity in me that I had yet to fully discover, she saw I have a passion to want to be great, I’m not saying I am great but I want to be. I have a drive and I want to work every single day and dedicate my life to music to try and be great at it on my own terms, what great means to me. She wanted to help me meet that and she has helped me try in so many ways. Another thing I love about Kara is she doesn’t do things for you, it wouldn’t benefit me if she didn’t like a song so rewrote it for me. She’ll be like ‘I don’t like this song because you don’t go deep enough and you could tell people more about yourself but you’re too scared to. That’s not impressive to me if you want to be an artist.’ She really pushed me to go deeper and be more comfortable inside of my emotions and to be more comfortable talking about things with complete strangers, she really pushed me to be the best artist I possibly could be. She also helped me get signed to Atlantic Records and I would not be where I am today without her. 

 

Constructive and honest feedback is always best.

I’d rather you tell me the truth. I would rather you be like ‘That is the worst song I have ever heard in my whole entire life’ than me going around thinking it’s good because you told me it’s good, you know?

 

What did you think of your first ever Reading & Leeds Festival back in August?! What was the wildest thing you saw? And you have to tell us about the couple that mistook you and your band for being members of The 1975…

I’m so glad you asked me about this because that was such a fun time. I had one of the best runs of my whole entire life, I will forever remember Reading and Leeds. We were able to play so many festivals and I hadn’t been anywhere in the world really until this year, we got to see so many parts of the world and it was so beautiful. The craziest thing I saw was a food fight but with trash. In the artists villa [at Leeds Festival] you can see the tents and everything so all of a sudden we started seeing bottles thrown around and trash being thrown everywhere.

The way we got mistaken for The 1975 is… I was hungry and really wanted food. You could get food backstage in catering but it was all really good for you, so I was like “I don’t want that, I want pizza”. So we went into the festival grounds, I put my hair up and it was pretty dark so I put on a hoodie and changed my makeup and everything. My bandmates came with me so we were just sitting in line when my multi-instrumentalist Max – He plays the guitar, bass, and the piano and is amazing, he’s my favourite human – was holding some cheese fries and this girl named Phoebe (shoutout to Phoebe) was like “What are you eating?”. Max replied with “I don’t even know, these are like cheese fries or something” and she’s like “Wow, what are you doing here?” because we’re obviously not from the UK. So Max was like ‘Oh, I’m a performer’.

So she was looking at him and my drummer was wearing a 1975 T-shirt he had bought from the merch stand. Phoebe then said “Oh my god are you from The 1975?” and I wish more than anything that we had been like ‘Yeah, we are’ but we had to be honest and I said “No, my name’s Gayle”. Phoebe replied saying “I have to be completely honest, I have no idea who that is” and I was like “That’s really fair” but her boyfriend, Alex was like like ‘No, Gayle is that chick who’s like ‘Fuck you and your mom and your sister…’’ [breaks into hit single abcedfu] So I was like “Yeah, that’s me” and he wasn’t even in the conversation up until that point, he just walked in to get her pizza so when I said that, they both freaked out. It was really fun. She then asked us if we have IBS in America and we unfortunately had to let her know we do. So shoutout to Phoebe and Alex, I miss them. I hope to see them again at some point. 

 

Well, they’re going to be forever immortalised in this article now. That’s all so funny, thanks for sharing. I also need to apologise as I feel UK festivals are so messy and unclean compared to US festivals like Coachella for example. I’m glad you had an amazing time.

I really love it because UK crowds seem to be rowdier though, you’re louder and you do more. Even Europe and the UK combined, It’s just rowdier than back home. I would say I never saw it as dirty or mucky, I just think everybody is down for a good time.

 

Simply, what do you think volume two offers your fanbase that they might not have seen from you so far?

I think it offers more of me and my personal experiences, it gives more context of why I am the way I am. There are three songs on the EP that aren’t about relationships, indieedgycool shows more of my ironic, sarcastic side, 15 opens up about something which happened to me when I was 15-years-old. I feel like I had to overcome a lot of sadness in my life and I had to really choose to stick around which I think is an experience that so many people have gone through and can relate to. It’s something that absolutely terrifies me to talk about but I think it’s important when I’m telling people about me and my life, it was something which happened to me and I think it’s important for it to be involved when I’m telling my story. In God has a sense of humour, I’m talking about my relationship with God and religion which is something I have never done before in my music and in Snow Angels I’m talking about partying and not always being the healthiest, smartest, most responsible human being which is something I haven’t particularly always talked about. I’m just talking more about my personal experiences with my life, my relationships, and my friends.

 

Finally, you’re eighteen-years-old with the world at your feet (and rightly so because you’ve worked so hard) so what’s next? What’s one thing you really want to do next?

There are a few things happening right now for next year that I find very exciting but I can’t talk about them yet. I’m focusing on touring next year, I would absolutely love to go on tour with other artists, that would bring me so much joy. I want to put out an album next year, that’s my goal. I would also really love to put out more merch and work on clothing and possibly do something nothing-wise outside of just being my merch. Collaborating with new artists and writing more songs with new artists is my goal for next year.

 

a study of the human experience volume two is out now. Follow GAYLE @gayle

Interview by Cameron Poole

Photography by Acacia Evans

 

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