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The CMT "Next Women of Country" 2019 inductee has been utilizing the time to create new opportunities to connect with her fans through her daily Facebook Live broadcast streaming series dubbed “Hay Y’all,” which Quayle films in a barn on her North Carolina property and, she said, “touches on heart, humor and country music.”
Quayle has also kept busy through her collaborations on projects, with the likes of Harley-Davidson, including “From Horses to Horsepower,” which follows Quayle’s journey to learn how to ride a motorcycle with the guidance from her mother, who’s a longtime rider. Not to mention Quayle is also an animal farmer.
“We've got a little farm in North Carolina and we do grass-fed beef. So, we've got a farm out here and all kinds of miniature animals and creatures,” Quayle told Fox News in a phone interview as she was whisking one of her horses its stable.
She continued: “Oh, let me tell you, I've been a farm kid my whole life and I am a happy camper when I'm around creatures. I have had the opportunity to watch my mini baby creatures grow up and share them with the world.
The singer-songwriter said she’s in a constant state of "create" with virtual recording sessions of new music and virtual co-writes with other industry players.
“I do my best when I am busy,” she said. “Fortunately, between helping on the farm and the multitude of virtual concerts and content, I have far from slowed down.”
Quayle hasn’t seemed to miss a step amid the coronavirus pandemic despite the music industry work-stoppage and a subsequent halt to live performances, and now with so much perceived time on people's hands, the effervescent country songstress is drumming up ways to keep herself at her best.
Here’s everything to know about Stephanie Quayle:
Fox News: How are you and your loved ones adjusting to the current “normal?”
Stephanie Quayle: Now that I am off the road, my husband [David] and I are able to be together for more than a couple of consecutive days for the very first time! Our whole relationship has been mostly long-distance. We have now been able to be together for over 63 days. We are creating memories that we never saw coming and that is really special during a very challenging time.
Fox News: Do you feel overlooked that it took so long for you to finally get the “recognition” you deserve?
Quayle: I truly, truly believe that you can't force timing. There's just something about life that when the pieces are meant to fall into place, they fall into place at exactly the right time. And I've lived that my whole life. I don't know that I [go] through my days feeling like that I was overlooked. I think that I was preparing. And I think I was preparing for this time because I have such clarity of who I am. I have such an incredible family that I grew up with and then also my husband and my stepkids and his family and my close-knit team that works tirelessly to make my voice heard that I feel like that was all just preparation.
Now I really get to appreciate it and experience it in a real-time, honest, authentic way, because I'm not thinking about tomorrow. Like right now, I'm sitting in my car watching my horses eat and I am completely in this moment with you going, ‘I just can't wait to sit down with you, in person.’ That's what the greatest part about this is the relationships and the people -- the songs connect us and they create soundtracks in these moments. But the people-to-people part that is my driving force. That's the truth. So I think that I've been preparing for that.
Fox News: As an artist, does the uncertainty of when we can expect live shows and in-person performances affect you or your approach to how you will release music?
"We are creating memories that we never saw coming and that is really special during a very challenging time."
Quayle: Not necessarily on whether or not to release music, but more so on figuring out how we share the live visceral experience we all feel and love from live concerts in the safest manner possible for everyone involved when we release new music. We are strategizing a lot right now. I’m not sure I quite have it figured out but I’m determined to find a way as our world continues to evolve.
Fox News: Did you speak with Jennifer Nettles at the CMAs last November after she called for equal play for women in country music?
Quayle: We didn't get the chance to speak at the CMAs. I actually met her for the first time just months before on an airplane, which is really wild because I have such respect for her and what she is. She just is such a glowing example of: "I'm going to do me and I'm going to be who I am and here we go."
I really hope that with so many people speaking out for women and country music, especially girls just speaking up, in our current situation -- I really hope that one day we'll be at a point where we don't have to have the conversation. Where we're not wondering if we're getting equal play at festivals or equal play on the radio because it's worthy. It is great music right now.
And I really believe in the women that are coming up and the women before us, the women as a whole. You know, there's so much going on there, but I feel like the floodgates are about to open. I really do truly feel it's an incredible time to be a woman, a woman in country music. But it has its challenges. I lean into what's working. I lean into, "OK, what can I do to continue to stand out and be a great artist?"
Fox News: Was there ever been a moment in your career where you felt your dream might have been out of reach if something didn't go your way?
Quayle: No, because I've just always thought it's a marathon, not a sprint. I remember before my [Grand Ole] Opry debut, which was [in 2018], I always said even if it's not until I'm 70, I will get there. I think whatever it takes. I think that with the entertainment business, in general, there are so many things that are changing, especially for women.
You're seeing so much more breadth and range from the music that's coming out from the TV series, the producers, behind the scenes, everything from the music to the screen. So here's how I look at music and here's how I look at myself -- I'm not milk. I don't have an expiration date. So however long it takes is however long it takes.
I'll be coming out of the grave like a hologram just to remind them all. I think also because we're such direct access to our fans. The music really makes way for us in a way that it never has before. So a lot of those kinds of overarching things are changing because people are hearing artists before they ever see them. Before they ever go to a show, before they might even know any of their backgrounds. You know, we look at how streaming has changed the game. So now it's like how do we take these new models and these new ways in which people are consuming our music and make ourselves connect those dots?
"I really hope that one day we'll be at a point where we don't have to have the conversation."
Fox News: Where does your connection to the guitar stem from?
Quayle: So I started on the piano when I was 4. My grandmother was my piano teacher, my step-grandmother, Grandma Katherine, she was a farmer. Let me tell you -- her hands. She was one of the strongest women I've ever known. Boy, howdy did she know it. So she was my piano teacher and it was very structured and very regimented. I had no idea what a gift that was at the time. I was a little kid being told what to do. I don't know if you can imagine, but sometimes I kind of didn't like to follow the rules.
So I think for me, I remember I got my first guitar at a little pawnshop and Bozeman, Mont. I think it was not even $100. I'd been saving up my money and I think for me, there were no guidelines. I just took my little money into that pawnshop, bought myself a guitar and there's a freedom in that and I just started figuring it out.
I had stopped piano lessons by then and I think I picked up my first guitar when I was about 15 years old, and there was a freedom in it. I think there's something to when you're not told to play something, you play it differently. Now when I go and play the piano, it's a totally different feeling for me because there are all those years of family intertwined between those keys and memories and moments whereas a guitar, even though I've been playing for a really long time, it still is a much newer instrument to me because I picked it up and I learned to record and the truth is country music. So then I just started trying things and learning my way through it.
If I see a guitar and it's a right-handed guitar -- even though I'm left-handed, I know it's weird but I play right. I can pick that up and play it for anyone right there. I could be out here playing for my horses right now. There's that portability, that mobility is -- you know I wish I could do that with the piano. I mean, I guess I could carry around a keytar. But then it gets all kinds of eyeballs.
Fox News: What would a stranger be surprised to learn about you?
Quayle: Well, I speak French.
It's where it all began for me musically. I did an exchange program at 16 years old in Fribourg, Switzerland. My school was bilingual, just like their public school there -- half French-speaking, half German-speaking and I went to the French part and I studied French for the whole year, there. [Speaks French].
I mean, language and music are so connected and I just have always loved that and my mom used to sing to me in French when I was little so I just became fascinated with the language. So I ended up in this little town in Switzerland through Youth for Understanding -- which is this incredible exchange program -- and I was with my host brother at this little cafe the first month I was there, and there's a band talking about how their lead singer had just moved back to Germany.
So in really broken French because I just got there so I'm not good yet -- I tell them that I sing and they say, "Well, why don't you come to audition for our band?" I had never fronted a band before. I had performed in choir and at church but never a band. So they let me audition and I got the job. And that was my after-school program. That was my first time being on stage and feeling like I made sense. And that's what I knew. Like, this will be my life. I have to do this. Isn't that crazy?! Like what are the chances? That's wild.
Fox News: Will we ever get a French country song from you?
Quayle: A thousand percent, yes. I'm absolutely going to. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to take a song that I've already written and then translate it or if I'm going to write a song that’s sung in the French language directly. Because of course, it's not always a direct translation. So yeah, I've been playing with both. I'm not sure, but I will.