Making Montana Proud
Arguably one of country music’s most underrated singer/songwriters, and Montana’s own Bozeman native, Stephanie Quayle is a force to be reckoned with. She has prominently risen to country music fame in the past few years with no signs of slowing down. Now she’s celebrating a breakthrough year in country music as an official inducted member of CMT’s Next Women of Country class of 2019.
Her single, “If I Was A Cowboy,” skyrocketed as a Top 10 Most Added song at Country radio in its first week and continues to shine with its new music video (shot in Montana!). She most recently released her single August 9th, “Whatcha Drinkin ‘Bout.” Working alongside producer Julian King and executive producer Mark Wright, the new sound has impacted the country music genre that embraces Quayle’s authentic native Montana roots. She’s now on the road touring, having earned a loyal fan base known as the “Flock of Quayle.”
As one of Rolling Stone Country’s “Top Artists You Need To Know,” Quayle is stirring the country from her high-energy performances, sharing the stages with other top artists Brett Eldredge, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, and Billy Currington, just to name a few.
Making Montana proud, her captivating energy and booming personality
continues to get a hold of audiences wherever she goes.
We caught up with Quayle on the road just before her Women and Whiskey
concert at DryHills Distillery in late August.
Stephanie Quayle: I get to be in Montana as often as I do shows, so I try to do shows up there at least once a quarter, so I can get a little bit of every season. My whole family is still in Bozeman, so I’m in Bozeman every Christmas, and that’s really cool. My step-son goes to school at Montana State, and I love that I get to be home as much as I do get to be home. Right now I don’t have an exact date for future shows in the Bozeman area, but I’m thinking about doing a Christmas concert in December back home. I think that would be really fun, but we don’t have anything specific so stay tuned!
EA: How did growing up in Bozeman inform who you are as an artist?
SQ: Great question! Everything impacted me growing up in Montana. I had the benefit of, this might sound strange, but parents split at a young age so I have the benefit of having two families growing up. One was in town and one was out of town, so I got to experience a lot of different aspects during my youth, from being on the farm and going to school, making sure all my chores were done before, and being able to jump on my horse and ride out into the field and feel that freedom, but also having a strong work ethic that was being instilled at a young age. From working for my dad when he had his fun range first it was at the Beaver Pond Plaza, and then down on Huffine, to working on the farm, and my step-father was a veterinarian, so we always worked, and it was never strange for us; that’s just what we did as a family. I think that’s a huge part of what made me who I am. To grow up in Montana, there is no other place on Earth that is as beautiful as Montana if you ask my opinion. So, when I come home every single time I find a sense of peace that nowhere else provides. I don’t know if it’s a culmination of flying in and seeing the Bridgers and the Spanish Peaks and having all these memories that just flood me every time, from taking horse packing trips into the mountains, or climbing the M, or skiing Bridger, whatever it was, just being such an outdoor kid and growing up with this sense of wonder and freedom mixed in with this insane drive and work ethic, it kinda just comes all together and I think that’s whats been essential in me as an entrepreneur, business owner, entertainer, songwriter, all the different things that encompass my job. I also think that when you have space, you have time to think, and in Montana, Big Sky Country, you get clarity, and I think I take that with me everywhere I go. Montana is my heart; it’s my foundation. I love the fact that my family is still there. I fell in love with my husband in Montana, and my step-son is going to Montana State, so it’s like I get to do it all over again, but now as an adult and it’s really cool that I get to share that now with my own family.
EA: What would your advice for young country musicians be?
SQ: The advice that I would give to anyone going into this business would be this: To the musician, singer/songwriter that wants to go into the business, I would say you gotta know who you are first. I don’t think it is a sustainable business if you are trying to please other people. Which is kind of a strange thing, because as entertainers that’s what we do; we are there to entertain and to host and if you don’t have your true self up on that stage it’s a very empty job. And it’s better to just play songs in your backyard, go get a great job and just let music be a beautiful hobby. For those who want to make this a business, you have to be 1000% you because that authenticity is what is going to sustain you, and others will want to be a part of that experience. And you have to know who you are singing to; you have to know who is your audience. For songwriters: Is this writing session cathartic, is this for you to get through something, is it a specific purpose, is it for radio, is it for the stage? Know where it’s going and let that lead you. Sometimes songs just fall out, sometimes they just happen, but as a craft and as a job it’s something you work at every day. I think that’s just something that just takes time, and repetition just like anything to really navigate your own narrative, so that you’re being completely authentic to yourself so that your audience really can connect to that. When you are in that space, you don’t have to try, you just get to be and that’s the goal. When you are no longer trying and you’re just being you, and that goes for any job or any place in your life, it takes the edge off of it. When you tell the truth, you never have to remember what you say. AND, don’t get caught up with the word Time because if you think you’re running out of time, you will. If you choose to look at it like I’m going to make the time and I have the time, you’ll find the time.
EA: What’s it like being one of CMT’s Next Women of Country?
SQ: Freakin’ awesome! (laughs) It’s amazing! I moved to Nashville in the late fall of 2011. I remember when CMT launched the Next Women of Country in 2013, and I remember saying ‘one day,’ one day I want to earn the respect of my peers that they want me in this group. I remember I was on an airplane sitting next to my husband, I was in the middle seat, my husband was on the aisle and there was this woman, a stranger sitting at the window so I had my computer out, and I’m always working on airplanes and I’m working away checking emails and the email comes through that I was part of the class of 2019 and that I was going to be inducted, and I just lost it and I burst into tears. This precious woman next to me is thinking someone has died; my husband is like what’s going on? So I’m explaining to my row that it’s all good, these are good tears, earned tears. It was a spectacular moment and it’s an incredible group of women. Karen Fairchild from Little Big Town announced our names from the stage at the event, and when I think of all the women that are paving the way for us to be included it’s tremendous. I take that responsibility very seriously, so with everything I do, with my songs, to performing, to entertaining, to connecting with the fans, the Flock of Quayle as I like to call them, I do my absolute best and always strive for better than my best.
Parting thoughts for the readers:
I just made my fourth Oprey performance in August and two days before that I was sitting at a table in Nashville, TN having an incredible conversation with Reba. When I think back to the little girl who was listening to Reba in the horse barn mucking stalls and having these grandiose dreams and singing into whatever I had in my hand (laughs), just to know that it’s possible with hard work and determination, and striving for that, and I love that I get to bring it home. I love that I get to make Montana proud.
Stephanie Quayle’s new EP coming out on October 4 is called ‘If I Was A Cowboy.’ The same namesake as the single, the EP has five songs including If I Was A Cowboy, Evel Knievel, & Whatcha Drinkin’ About. You can find her songs on the interwebs and all for purchase at stephaniequayle.com/