(Interview by: Jeffrey Kurtis/Photo Credit: John Shearer) 

1) The deluxe version of your 2022 album On The Edge, subtitled “Forgiven,” dropped back on May 10, 2024. Tell us a little bit about this extended version of the album and what to expect from it.

When we were writing for the original album, we had all the initial work tapes and acoustic takes from before we went into the studio. And so, the deluxe version of the album shares those first versions of the songs in their raw form.

I’ve never shared the early versions of my songs before and they are a bit different, very vulnerable and they expose new layers.

But then there’s also the new song, “Why Do We Stay?” I wrote this to really connect the dots. There’s the podcast now, the book, and the song really connects it all back to my first love…the music! It’s the final part to that project, and that’s why I used the word ‘Forgiven’ in the album title. I have forgiven the past as well as myself.

2) You’ve mentioned that all the songs from the original album are also being presented in their raw, acoustic format; the songwriter demo versions of them. How do these versions of the songs carry a different vulnerability than what we heard on the studio releases?

On these versions, we leave in those times that my voice may crack with emotion and the little things like that. With studio versions, some of that stuff will work sometimes and make the final cut but not always. I’ve learned now through presenting both sides of the songs, that there’s a way of blending the polished versions with the vulnerability of the originals.

3) Besides the acoustic tracks, you mentioned the new single “Why Do We Stay”; a very powerful track that holds a lot of depth within its lyrics. Dig into the story behind the song for us and the personal place that it came from for you.

Writing the book of the same name as the song, I’ve seen that’s a question so many of us ask ourselves when we see all the red flags. But I think a lot of the times we question ourselves instead of the person. I know that I asked myself that question; I asked my friends.

But it is really the book put into song format. It’s something I’ve wanted to write as sort of the seal to the story and tell it through my lens. This may be my experiences, but none of us are alone. In the bridge of the song, I talk about the keys being right there on the counter and to just grab them and leave. One of my friends was going through an abusive situation and I honestly didn’t even know what to tell her other than to say just leave. That saved her life to just walk away. So, when I was writing the song, I was thinking a lot about my story, her story…

4) Why did you feel it was so important for this song to be out there and to also provide the exclamation point to not only the album, but to this chapter in your career?

Back in 2022, I released my self-titled album and then these two albums followed. This is a merger, getting things back to where I’m at now. I felt I needed to draw that map for both myself, and for the listener, to be able to move collectively forward into the next chapter.

5) The lyrics of the song hold a lot of depth, but very intriguingly, the melody surrounding them takes on more of a carefreeness, a sense of freedom to the overall vibe. Was this something done strategically by design or did the song just kind of fall out that way when you wrote it?

WOW! That’s so special that you picked up on that. I just wrote it, but I guess maybe subconsciously I did think about that. I knew that I didn’t want it to be a ballad, but yeah wow, I love that you picked that up. I wanted the song to have movement so that it walked out of where I was into where I am.

6) You worked with producer Lukas Bracewell on this new track, and with Paul Moak on the others. How did working with each of them help you really hit the overall feel you were going for with each layered dynamic of the album?

Each brought something so special to the album.

Paul and I first met in the studio and the connection felt so right. From the album version to the acoustic versions of the songs, his touch is all over it and he really just lets the music speak.

Lukas and I have known each other for years, and so working with him on the track was familiar. But I also wanted this song to be a slight departure in sound from the rest of the album so that it could take us into the next chapter. With recording it, we were just kind of like let’s see where it goes.

7) You’ve told your story with complete transparency and total vulnerability throughout this chapter of your career. Beyond finding your own personal healing, how do you hope that sharing your story so boldly will help encourage others who are in a similar situation?

My hope is to be a voice into understanding. Sometimes I think you have to see someone else doing something to inspire you to do it.

The overarching goal in all of this is if I can give them back time for any of the struggles. I hope that they see that whatever they are going through and might be dealing with, they don’t have to stay there so long. That’s how they can get back some of that time.

There is so much hurting in the world right now, but we usually tend to just smile through it. And that’s why I told my story. It’s always so uncomfortable to be vulnerable, but I find that the best pain relief is in the uncomfortable moments.

8) “Why Do We Stay?” is not only a new song, but it’s also the title of your debut book. Congratulations on the book’s release! You’re currently on a book tour for it as we speak. How do you see your story reaching people through the book in ways that the music hasn’t?

When we listen to music, we can interpret it and let a line or a verse speak to us how we need it to. With the book, there is no room for interpretation. It’s my first-hand account of my story.

In talking to people after the book stops, they see their similar story within mine. They tell me that they feel sane, not alone, etc. They really are appreciative of the personal account in the book.

Then you marry that personal account with Dr. Campbell’s expertise, and his data meets up to the story with the next steps. That’s a lot of the positive feedback on the book; it’s that we’re not just leaving you with a story but are providing the next steps and what to do from here.

9) So, the book is out now. The new song is on its way with the deluxe version of the album. What’s next for Stephanie Quayle?

That’s a really great question because for the first time in the history of my life I’m living in the right now! I’m literally staring at a blank Post-it as we speak and that’s perfect for what’s next. That’s an uncomfortable place to be since I’ve never been here before, always thinking about the next album or the next this or that, but as for the future… to be continued!

10) We have so many aspiring songwriters and artists that read our website, so we always like to end by asking this…what is the best piece of advice you can offer?

The greatest investment, and the greatest relationship is with yourself. How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? Before you grab your phone or even get out of bed. How do you feel? Build from that feeling.

There are so many people who are trying to be something, but just try to be you. That individuality and uniqueness makes you stand out. And sometimes the noise all around us can be really loud, but we always need to remember that we can hit the mute button on it.


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