On Oct. 4, Stephanie Quayle released her EP If I Was a Cowboy, with the title track finding Quayle holding the reins and taking on the role of a free-spirited ranger, a musical role more traditionally played by men.
"That's been an interesting conversation along the way because we think of cowboys as this male thing, and some of the coolest cowboys I know are chicks," Quayle told PopCulture.com.
The Montana native explained that the song's message is meant to empower listeners to take charge in their own lives, wherever that might be.
"It's that state of mind and really taking it to your life in whatever aspect that inspires you and empowers you to keep going, and that drive and determination, and also not staying in that emotion that might be holding you back for too long, personal or business," she said. "I've definitely had some relationships where I should have cut bait earlier than I did, and so really exploring that and give yourself a chance to feel it and move on."
If I Was a Cowboy was inspired by Quayle's life growing up on a farm, where she learned from an early age to keep going even when things get tough.
"My mom is like the ultimate cowboy," she said. "So, growing up with that state of mind, that cowboy state of mind, where you gotta dust yourself off and get back up on the horse, has been a huge part of just every aspect of my career from the songs, the music, to the stage and everything else. It's a lot of fun to have a project that is so symbolic of all that I came from and that all that I hope for, the listener."
Another song on the project, "Evel Knievel," also features the same fighting spirit and is an extra-special one for the singer, who shares a home state with the legendary stunt performer.
"I think that that song is such a universal message of be courageous, be fearless," Quayle shared. "It's not always gonna be easy, even when you're running out of breath. Keep going, keep chasing it, keep seeing it. And I really want that for everybody. I want everyone to, even if they don't know how to get to their dreams, want to have the dream to know that they can."
While If I Was a Cowboy is firmly rooted in a traditional country sound, there are plenty of modern elements mixed in to combine Quayle's love of legends like Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire with the genre's expanding borders.
"I love country music, and I think that I love everything about it from the baritone, the telecasters, just that feeling of when I hear country music and what it makes me feel like," she explained. "So I really wanted to keep that tradition, but also have my modern sound within it. I think that our genre is ever-expanding. So for me, it's just super important that it represents my roots and also feels like me."
Photo Credit: Getty / Leah Puttkammer