With big blonde hair and an even bigger heart, a stunning voice and a dazzling personality to boot, I could be describing Dolly Parton — but these words ring just as true for rising country star Stephanie Quayle.
I had the great honor and joy of interviewing Stephanie last week. She’s got huge talent and a gift for lighting up the world with her music and presence. Her latest single, “Drinking with Dolly” is making big waves in country music.
It’s a song that I haven’t stopped listening to since I first heard it. It takes us back to to the early days of women in country. It encourages us to remember values like working hard and persevering.
Q1: Your current single, “Drinking with Dolly” speaks to the special sisterhood of yesterday’s and today’s amazing women of country music. As a songwriter and artist, what spoke to you most about this song? What do you think we can learn from those that came before, like Dolly, Patsy, Loretta, and Tammy?
A1: The first time I heard this song, I felt the magic in it. I knew that it was a song that needed to be recorded. I didn’t realize then just how powerful of a song it truly is. It’s a tribute to all women in country music and has a fantastic message. It connects where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we can go as female artists in country music. It serves as a reminder for us all not to forget where we came from. The song honors the strength of the women who paved the way. The women in the song – Dolly, Tammy, Loretta, Patsy – they accomplished great things and persevered through many hurdles. They pressed forward through the challenges and setbacks of their time. Some of these hurdles we still face today. One of the biggest lessons they contributed to us is that of perseverance. It’s about “keeping on” when times are tough. It’s not about giving up.
I recently saw Dolly Parton perform and one of my biggest takeaways was her tenacious spirit. She is a woman that sees things through. She doesn’t let the hard times bring or keep her down. That’s the special grace that country music has. While I do see this in new artists, it benefits us to look back to the women that came before. It’s what makes country music a very special genre.
Q2: How did growing up on a buffalo farm in Montana influence the woman you are today and your love of country music?
A2: I grew up with country songs. I’d listen to the small am radio in our barn as I mucked horse stalls and did chores. This early introduction to country music lit a spark in me. The stories I heard through the lyrics and melodies were ones I could relate to. They sang about real life and the stuff I experienced.
My parents also influenced me. Growing up with strong and independent parents taught me that you have to earn your keep; work hard at what you do; and if you fall off, you have to get back on. That shaped me as a person. It reminds me of the quote that says you learn more from your failures than your successes. I believe that’s true. Every time you hear no or things don’t work out, you have a choice. You can choose to fall apart or choose to believe that “no” is an invitation to move toward the next opportunity.
That’s the cowgirl spirit. Just when you think you can’t go any further, you can and you do. I strive to live by that every day.
Q3: One of the things I most admire about you, Stephanie, is your confidence to be who you are! You are an authentic woman that shines brightly and is passionate about what she does! What encouragement do you have for someone who longs to pursue their dreams, but may have doubts or insecurities about sharing their heart with the world?
A3: Thank you, Genevieve. That means a lot to me. I spent a lot of time in the past, not allowing myself to fully shine. I was worried about pleasing people. But I’ve learned that what’s most important is to be yourself. Not everyone will like you and what you do, and that’s ok. Believing that gives me the freedom to be myself.
My advice to someone that longs to live out their dreams is to do it. Live life as yourself and do what makes you tick. Right. Now. Don’t wait another second. Time is so precious. I started to value time as a valued commodity. It’s so important to be present and to do what you love and be who you are right now. Take the things from the past and learn from them, but don’t get stuck there. Have an awareness of the future and the big picture, but don’t get stuck there either. Live in the now and go for it now. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, so what are you waiting for?
Q4: You talk about how the story-telling nature of country music inspires you. What is your songwriting process like? When do you do your best creative work?
A4: Yes, story-telling is near and dear to my heart. I like to use imagery and envision the characters in a song. I usually come up with a music video in my head when it comes to songs and songwriting. I keep track of little soundbites, a chord, a lyric, or an idea that comes to me so that when I do get the time to be in my creative space, I can go back to them. That space for me involves finding stillness and limiting distractions like emails and my phone. I prefer to dive into the music and immerse myself in the writing.
Of course, life itself inspires me as well. I’m always learning and growing and that keeps the fire alive to write songs and do what I do.
Q5: What would you like for people to know about you and the music that you share?
A5: I can live and die by what I’m doing – with my music and my message. It comes from a place of honesty and authenticity. I live to make music that moves people. I want my flock members – my family of supporters and fans – to feel the music I make. Whatever it inspires within – whether it’s joy, heartache, escape, and so on. My music comes from that honest place. It’s exciting to look back and see where I’ve been and to think ahead to where I’ll go, but I am so excited about what’s happening right now. I always want to make a positive impact.
Q6: Like many of the readers of this blog, you’re a horsewoman! Why are horses so special to you?
A6: Yes! Horses have been a powerful part of my life. Before I could walk, I was on the back of a horse on our ranch. Horses have a very grounding nature for me. They are incredible teachers and have an amazing presence. Being around horses feels like home and brings me a great sense of calmness and peace. When I’m traveling on the road, if I see horses, I will pull over to spend a few moments with them. It’s about having that connection. I feel most at home on stage and on the back of a horse.
Q7: Where can Mind Body Spirit of a Cowgirl readers go to learn more about your music and download your single?
A7: Head to StephanieQuayle.com for tour dates and more information. We’re also on all social media including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. And of course, my current single “Drinking with Dolly” is available on iTunes!
Special thanks to the kind and incredible Stephanie Quayle and her amazing team. All photos are property of http://www.stephaniequayle.com.