A track you’ll be singing for the rest of the year.
It’s hard to believe that a 15-year-old artist who, at age 9, would sing to anyone and everyone who would listen (and many who wouldn’t) at boutiques, farmers’ markets, and any public gathering, would have the insight to create an entire song around this line. But GAYLE, who moved to Nashville at 12 and immediately became immersed in the city’s legendary songwriting scene, kept hearing that she needed to dig deeper and to make her songs more personal — that THAT was the way to connect with listeners.
“Cut the crap, stop being scared, and be vulnerable,” she remembers as her marching orders in songwriting sessions. And the result is a collection of honest, uninhibited songs that connect with and speak to listeners on a profound, sometimes uncomfortable, level.
“When I put my part of my soul in a song and someone allows it to reach theirs, the goal is for us to have soul sex — it’s initimate, vulnerable, and true.”
Flashback 8 years ago (more than half a lifetime ago for GAYLE), and she’s sitting in music class when her teacher introduces the students to scatting. Seven-year-old GAYLE’s ears perk up, and she begins scatting away through the day, day in and day out, until her mother couldn’t take any more and pulled up old videos of Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone on YouTube. GAYLE, in a rare moment of silence, was mesmerized.
“I tried to sing just like Aretha. I would walk around festivals and fairs and start belting. Looking back, I was pretty embarrassing to be around,” she says with a laugh.
But it was her love of songwriting that planted the seed of one day relocating the Dallas-based family to Nashville. She began playing guitar and performing more frequently, going back and forth between Texas and Nashville at 10. By the time she turned 12, she was averaging 90 gigs in 6 months. Her mom couldn’t argue any longer, and the family of three — GAYLE, her mother, and older brother — made the move.
“I think I’m a good persuader,” GAYLE wryly smiles. “I basically said the same thing for over a year and a half and wore them down.”
In Nashville, GAYLE found a support group of like-minded songwriters in the pop genre. She would perform and write in any and all free moments, averaging performances and sessions 3-5 times/week while managing high school. One afternoon, she got a message from the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and non-profit Inspired Nation giving her 30 minutes to get on a list to attend an event at the new Trimble House (opened by legendary pop songwriter and publisher Kara DioGuardi who mentored/signed the likes of Jon Bellion and Ingrid Andress), where a lucky few would have the chance to perform a portion of songs they were working on.
“I got there, and they asked us to write down our names. My name got pulled out of the hat. I was pitchy, sick, and so nervous.”
But the bones of the song she performed through her sultry and powerful voice impressed DioGuardi, who ultimately signed her to Arthouse Music Publishing. “Nashville gave me songwriting, how to tell a story and to look at things from a different perspective. I also met Kara there, and she pushes me to be the most honest songwriter I can be. It’s taught me not to hide my vulnerability in my songs but to show it.”
By embracing her inhibitions, whether performing on stage or writing at Trimble House, GAYLE has found the passion music gives her and the satisfaction in passing it on. “The reason why I love music is the way it makes me feel, and the reason I do music is to make others feel like that…performing is like being an adrenaline junkie. I don’t remember who said it, but there’s an old quote that I love: ‘If the crowd doesn’t leave with a sparkle in their eyes, you did something wrong.’”
The song begins with an acoustic guitar and birds chirping. Then we are gifted with GAYLE’s beautiful vocals. By the time we get to the chorus, it’s clear this song is gonna be stuck in our head for weeks to come. When blackbear’s verse comes on, it immediately solidifies this collaboration and track as a hit. I’m sure we’ll be hearing it on Tik Tok for weeks to come! the music video is also really cool, check it out below.
Be sure to stream “fmk” by GAYLE & blackbear on all platforms now!
Written By: Bryce Quartz