With a title like “Drinking With Dolly” and a melody to match, you know the artist singing it is undeniably country. Well that song is one that is close to the heart of the singer that brought it to life – Stephanie Quayle. It was the type of song that the instant she heard it, she knew it had to be hers. “I was just like ‘this is my song, I don’t know how I didn’t write this.’ It just felt so much like me,” Quayle said of how she felt upon hearing the first line and opening chords. “I was just thinking ‘I must play this song, I must sing this song, the world has to hear this song on a major stage.’”
“Drinking With Dolly,” which is currently on country radio, pays tribute to the old days of country music, honoring female legends including Dolly Parton (who’s heard the song and “loved it,” says Quayle), Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn, all of whom inspire the up and coming singer not just through their music, but who they are as people. “Listening to their music is one thing. Founding out about who they are and were as people has been probably the most intriguing part,” Quayle said.
While some may simply find a song they connect to and cut it, Quayle went one step further and began research these empowering women to get an idea of who they are outside of the music, an element that’s reflected in the song. She even discovered that back in the 1950s, the conversation about the presence of women in country radio was just as prominent as it is today. “I find it interesting that that conversation isn’t new. So it’s been fun to kind of look through that lens of what it was like.” Though “Drinking With Dolly” was not intended to be the first single from her upcoming album, it naturally fell into that slot. “There’s nothing more special than having [this] be the first song that goes to mainstream country radio,” she said of the song, adding that the women this tune alludes to are the ones Quayle avidly listened to on country radio while growing up on a buffalo farm in Montana.
Along with being a natural fit for radio, “Drinking With Dolly” also serves as the “flagship song” for her new album, due out in early 2017. Both the song and album are produced by Matt McClure, whose other clientele include Lee Brice, Kellie Pickler, label mate Lucas Hoge and many more. “The thing that I look for with making new albums and finding songs and writing songs is that you feel everything. And I love an album where you can listen and you never want to change the song,” the singer said. “It’s mainly all about ‘how does it feel when I’m sing it?’” The album will act as a combination of both in depth and lighthearted songs. “I always say ‘I can be as deep as a dog dish or as deep as the ocean,’” she said. “So I think it’s a blend of all of those different feelings to where you want to listen to the whole thing and each song connects with each listener in some way and it’s really fun to be finding music and writing music with that kind of intention.”
And the new album is more of a reflection of the artist more than ever before, allowing her to showcase a more honest and raw version of herself – just like the women she sings about in “Drinking With Dolly.” “It’s more me, I think that’s the easiest way to describe it. It’s more raw, it’s lyrically much more provocative in the sense that it’s no holds barred,” she described. With its combination of fun songs and deeper works, Quayle hopes to bring a wide variety of sounds and emotions to the project that relates to life’s sweet moments and the ones that call for deeper meaning, a theme she carries into her country music artistry. “That’s the glory of being able to have so many different options, but still a cohesiveness,” she said of the album’s diversity. “That’s what I love about country music, you have these different identities.”
This rising star has her sights set high for the goals she hopes to achieve throughout her career, telling us the story of how she was in awe at a Jason Aldean concert, watching as the stadium full of fans knew every single word to every single song. “That’s what I want. When that happens, then I know I’ve done my job. Until then, I’ve got a lot of work ahead, but that’s kind of my litmus test,” she revealed, saying that she went so far as to record the sound of the fans on her phone. “That’s what I think makes a really phenomenal entertainer and country artist is when you’ve got a hold of the audience and the audience has a hold of you and it’s just this incredible synergy of awesomeness – that’s what I want.”
Along with Aldean, other modern day country artists the singer admires includes Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, “Burning House” singer Cam and Little Big Town, the latter of whom Quayle hopes to open for one day, calling “Girl Crush” “brilliant” and adding that she saw the group speak at Country Radio Seminar a few years ago where she learned a sage piece of advice about perseverance:
“The only one who can quit is you,” she said. And we’re sure this powerhouse won’t be quitting any time soon.