Stephanie Quayle’s latest album, Love the Way You See Me, is purely for the fans. All the years of writing and pouring her heart into songs she’s passionate about have all been in honor of the fans who’s trust she cares about so deeply.
“I think that in writing the songs, in choosing the songs, I am always considering my listener,” Quayle tells Sounds Like Nashville about putting together Love the Way You See Me. “It’s just been really incredible to have my words become their words.” And the title track itself is a true testament to her supporters. The song offers thanks to the people in our lives who see us in the best possible light whether in our darkest moments or sharing life’s triumphs.
“I think we can all relate to those people in our lives that see us in the most beautiful light no matter how awful we might look or feel,” she laughs. “So when I think about that message, I just love that title ‘Love the Way You See Me’ and I think that just really speaks to the fans. There are people in our lives that make us feel like super heroes and that’s the song.”
Empowering is just one characteristic that encompasses this album. Quayle manages to bring to life a unique spirit with each individual song, whether it’s a sense of freeness on “Winnebago,” honoring the history of powerful women in country music with “Drinking With Dolly” or feeling bold and feisty when you put on “Selfish.” When putting the eclectic mix of songs together, she wanted her fans to feel each emotion to its fullest intent.
“It was really important to me that nothing felt like filler and that nothing felt forced,” she says about selecting songs for the project. “It has so many different places it takes your emotions and I love that. But overall I feel there’s a lot of strength and vulnerability throughout everything.” And that sense of honesty is felt full force on “Ugly,” a gut-wrenching and powerful ballad that takes the listener on a journey through the struggles of life. Quayle says the second she heard the song, she knew it was destined for her.
“I heard this song and I was just floored in every possible emotion from the empowering rawness. It has so much meat,” she says of the track. “I heard it and I was like ‘I have to sing this song, this has to be my song, whatever it takes.’ And I immediately went home to my piano and I sat down and I played that song until every word, every nuance was mine.”
In a way, the song ties back to her early days in Nashville when she would attend songwriters’ rounds and be in awe of the writers’ ability to evoke such honesty and vulnerability in their work, a task Quayle was determined to accomplish. Though the song is written by Nicolle Galyon and Audra Mae, Quayle manages to make it her own and embody its rawness in a way only she could.
“When you find a song that fits you so well that they feel like your words; to be able to really connect with the song to where there’s no question, and for me that happened instantaneously at that piano,” she explains. “I’ve always been focused on how can I make other people feel good – better – how can I make them feel empowered to go live out their wildest dreams, so this song just spoke to me in every single language.”
Though emotion and power are dominant themes on the project, she also throws in a little light-heartedness, like on the bubbly “Post It,” which Quayle describes as the most fun song to write. The office staple actually has a personal connection for the singer and her husband, who are always leaving each other little notes, and noticed that no one had cornered the marker on a song of its kind. “That song is like we created this little movie. There’s so much detail and so many visuals and you’re finding your way through this person’s story as they find all these Post It notes…you just want to show exactly what the song says,” she describes.
And there’s no doubt the rising star demonstrates her exponential growth on the album, with Quayle herself saying she feels she’s found her voice as a songwriter and that voice is prevalent on Love the Way You See Me. “I feel like if someone were to say ‘who are you as an artist?’ I have no problem handing over that album and go ‘this is me,’” she says.
Originally scheduled to release the album on Sept. 8, Quayle surprised fans with the announcement that the album will drop one week early. Love the Way You See Me hits shelves on Friday (Sept. 1).