Stephanie Quayle, a seasoned cowgirl, steps further into her artistry, bearing fruits from 2020. Hailing from Bozeman, Montana, the emerging country artist grew up working on a bison and cattle ranch. Looking at her mother’s gritted determination, Quayle refused minor setbacks and outdated industry standards to fence in her destined path to perform country music. Recently named the First Female Country Music Ambassador for Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s, the artist reveals a new chapter in her music career with songs recorded remotely from familiar turf.
Quayle & producer and songwriter Alex Kline will be getting together on Wednesday, March 24 at 5 p.m. CT to host a FB livestream conversation about her latest collection of music, what it was like recording during the COVID pandemic, and being women in the industry. Tune in to Stephanie’s Facebook page or American Songwriter’s Facebook page to be a part of the chat.
Quayle’s latest single, “Wild Frontier,” is her love story. Released March 19, the galloping track is a forward step in her most intimate project to date. Recorded almost entirely virtually from home with breakout female producer Alex Kline, “Wild Frontier,” was written by a rock-solid team of Nashville tunesmiths—Maren Morris, Shane McAnally, and Ross Copperman. The lyrics transform her native landscape into a metaphor for the “unchartered territory” of newfound love. Though penned by others, the song story places the artist back where she first met her husband, David.
“To make it my own, I had to go sing it in Montana,” Quayle explains. “I wanted to represent these songwriters well, and I sometimes have to step away from myself to allow a song to become authentically mine. I remember listening to this, driving down these gravel roads and absorbing those lyrics, but with such clarity, very focused. Because I’ve lived that lifestyle, it’s very honest for me— that’s the best place I can sing from. I can’t put on, it’s got to fit like my favorite pair of boots.
“Wild Frontier” feels like a continuation of her entrance single, “By Heart”—which she performed on the revered Grand Ole Opry stage in early January. Serving as a second chapter, the new single builds on the initial infatuation of meeting the person Quayle didn’t believe existed, the beginning of a happy ending she did not anticipate. This uncertainty overarches the entire forthcoming collection.
“I never thought I would know love—loving myself flaws and all, then being able to love someone else—I always ran away from that,” Quayle says. “The truth is that love is what I’ve always been running toward. But with love comes heartbreak. You have to be vulnerable, and put your heart on the line when you’ve had a lot of heartache in your life.”
This compilation is a testament to the power of love. Its strength is exemplified in her family—her husband and step kids. The unprecedented pandemic events strengthened this notion, developing a theme as the project assembled. 2020 was the first time Quayle was able to create off the road in over ten years. Her time at home, surrounded by the fruits of her own surrender, grounds her upcoming album to a truly authentic portrait of the artist set in hallowed ground. She remained uncompromising throughout her song selection process, ensuring each track required a grab of her subconscious or signal that the tune was, in fact, her story to tell.
“My goal, always, is to move hearts and minds forward, to go chase whatever it is that makes your chemistry change, to do something you didn’t plan on doing,” she says. “And last year gave me a chance to live in a way I haven’t experienced as an adult.”
Her dynamic new project captures the untamed spirit of her back country home with a uniquely Western sound. Quayle, an admittedly controlling person details the process of leaning into the unknown, reckoning with the risks involved in living an unbolted life. Her surrender melds into a soundscape led by baritone-guitar into a desert twang that envelops the “Big Sky” state-of-mind.
“I think as an artist and songwriter, you hopefully, continually evolve with every song and interpretation,” she explains. “What has elevated ‘Wild Frontier’ and the overall sound from the lyrics to my voice, to the collaboration between producer and artist, we are each in our individual space. As I’ve grown, I’ve found that what I love and what I want to share is the wide-open freedom of home. Alex does a great job as a producer letting the song sing, leaving that space within the tracks.”
The airy iterations within Quayle’s new collection induce the deliverance of surrender, opening hearts, removing fences, and accepting the unbrokenness of nature.
“My trusting the process speaks through this new music,” she says. “I believe balance is unattainable—that’s like chasing perfection. In my world, it’s staying on the horse while it’s bucking you off. Leaning into all of this is teaching us as a global community what we haven’t taken the time to learn. When you allow it, the sky will be our only border. I want everyone to feel that way, take all the what-ifs and look to the limitless ski.”
Tune in on Wednesday, March 24 at 5 p.m. CT for a livestream conversation with Quayle & producer Alex Kline. They will discuss the process of virtually recording new music together and share some behind-the-scenes footage of the experience.