“I have tried so hard to be the nice ex-girlfriend, and I’m over it,” GAYLE tells American Songwriter.
During our conversation with the young Nashville-based singer/songwriter, GAYLE shared the story behind her latest single, “abcdefu,” out August 13. After a recent breakup, GAYLE’s initial reaction was to remain amicable with her ex-boyfriend, even biting her tongue and refusing to create spiteful or revealing music about the relationship. One day, however, a mutual friend disclosed that GAYLE’s ex wasn’t returning the favor. With this information, GAYLE let loose in the recording studio. Hence, “abcdefu.”
Punny and with a slight nod to GAYLE’s dyslexia, the title “abcdefu” slides in the first witty insult of many. Yet far more than just a breakup song, “abcdefu” empowers listeners to embrace all of their emotions, even the ones that we’d rather not let shine through. “[The song is] empowering you to get pissed off,” GAYLE says.
“You can still be yourself a good person, but be mad at somebody at the same time. I definitely bottled it all up, so when it came out, it exploded into this big, ‘I hate your mom, I hate your sister. I kind of hate you. Not your dog though, your dog’s really cute,’” she explains. “I’m gonna be comfortable with the fact that I’m pissed off at you because I never let myself do it. I had to wait for you to be talking shit about me to let myself be mad at you? Fuck that.”
GAYLE’s uncensored honesty as a lyrical storyteller is what makes her music so captivating. She effortlessly parallels verses with experiences in a dynamic arrangement of sounds. This success, however, didn’t always come easily.
“[Early on] I had a really hard time being vulnerable in songs, and I think there is a vulnerability in being pissed off especially as a female because at times just [in]speaking your opinion you can instantly be labeled as a bitch. So I feel like for a really long time I was trying just to be the good girl, the nice girl, never trying to hurt anybody’s feelings.
“And so I think especially with the start of [‘abcdefu’] it’s like, I’m not afraid for somebody to think I’m a bitch. I’m just angry. I’m mad at somebody who really hurt me. And, you know, I’m way more than just a ‘fuck you’ girl, but I think it’s a good start to the story I’m trying to tell.”
GAYLE continued to illustrate her side of the breakup with a DIY-esque music video. Surrounded by a crew of friends, GAYLE breaks into her ex’s house and trashes the place. Scenes of near hilarity ensue as GAYLE and her friends participate in a cake fight and give a dog a shower all while stomping around her ex’s house.
At the end of the song and at the close of the music video, it’s difficult to not feel empowered yourself. GAYLE’s passion wells up from her own personal experiences and consequently reminds listeners of their own relationships with imperfect endings.
“abcdefu” is GAYLE’s debut single with Atlantic Records. Listen below.