Charese Fruge’ Talks To GAYLE

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “The Bigger Picture” series, written by Charese Fruge on March 02, 2022 

Taylor Gayle Rutherford is a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from Dallas, TX who’s current single “abcdefu” is #1 on the Mediabase Top 40 airplay chart. I remember hearing this song for the first-time last year and thinking, not only is this my “new jam,” but this is also my “new anthem.” Yes, (shocker) I sometimes have the mind of a 17-year-old girl. But I knew after hearing it right away that it would not only be an anthem for young teenage women, but that moms and daughters alike would love it. I’m clearly not the only one who feels that way as you will understand more when we talk about Gayle’s family’s reaction to the song.

GAYLE started singing when she was seven, and eventually moved to Nashville to begin pursuing a career in music. After she signed with Atlantic Records and released “abcdefu” in 2021, the single charted worldwide and reached number one, not only in the U.S., but also in the United Kingdom and in Ireland. A blessing, not a curse, she makes no secret that she is a typical 17-year-old girl, and the song unapologetically screams I am woman, hear me roar.

GAYLE introduces herself on her website as such: “Who I was told to be and who I wanted to be were two separate things for me growing up. I mean the term growing up loosely, as I am seventeen and still growing up. I always felt there was an invisible line I was told not to cross in order to be a ‘lady’ and to be respected by men. It affected every part of my being. How I dressed, talked, sang, performed, wrote, and most importantly how I let people treat me. I woke up one day and realized that I was pleasing everybody but myself. I mean truly, who cares if I have one hair color or not, If I sing about sex? (I mean everybody does it) If i curse in my songs?? Sing about love? Sing about heart break? Every song I sing is based off my own personal experiences, feelings I’ve felt at a moment in time, and nobody can take that away from me. If you listen to my music and attach your own emotions or personal experiences to it… congratulations, we just had soul sex ;), hope we can do it a lot.”

GAYLE recalls the moment she knew she wanted to be an artist: “I remember the moment that I personally dedicated my life to music,” she says. “I was listening to a compilation of Aretha Franklin, and I was just sitting there watching her, and listening to her and feeling something I have never felt before. And that’s when it hit me. That is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

About “abcdefu”, “You know, when I played that song for my Grandmother, I was so nervous because I didn’t know how she was going to take it. I was cursing so much, and I was so vulgar. But she just looked at me and said, ‘You got to say things that I never got to at 17.’ And that put things in a completely new perspective for me because even for my mother at 17, she wasn’t particularly able to be outspokenly angry about something. So even with ABC, which sounds like a woman being very angry with a man, the circumstances could be any kind of anger and the ability to express it–it’s just not something they could do at my age. So, I’m really happy that they both took that perspective and decided to be proud of it. I am very grateful for them accepting me, and that song.”

I asked GAYLE a little about her writing process: “I really like going to new places to write songs” she says. “I actually just recently wrote a song in New York and that was a lot of fun because it was just nice to be in a different town with different energy. Most of the time I like coming into the process of writing with just like a word of inspiration when I am writing a song, just to know what kind of emotion I am trying to evoke in the melodies and chord progressions and production, and that can come from when just thinking about a scenario that has happened in my life, or when having conversations with people and I am like ‘Oh, I like that word.’ There are times when I obsess over words or sentences.”

One of the most exciting things she’s experienced with her career so far is one that not many women her age will ever have the opportunity to do, and for that, she is extremely grateful. “Going on Jimmy Fallon was DOPE! I’m not gonna lie,” she says. “It was an out of body experience, like walking around as if I were sleep walking. I was so grateful that my family was able to be there and grateful to spend that time with them.”

In her spare time GAYLE likes to do what most 17-year old’s do, hang out with her friends, binge Netflix in bed, and go for an occasional walk accompanied by a good playlist. And you’d be seriously surprised to learn that when she was younger, she used to fence. “My whole family, my mom, my brother and I would all go fencing together.”

What has she been binge watching lately? “Honestly…. Vampire Diaries. I binge watched that show so fast. I am on my second re-watch of it. I am at the point in the series where they are hinting about ‘The Originals’ and part of me wants to start binging that again, but I don’t know, I think right now I might stay strong and stick with the Vampire Diaries.”

While GAYLE is young in her career, it doesn’t come without challenges, not to mention just being a teenager in today’s world. “For me personally. I just take it day by day which can be very strenuous and make for really long days because there are so many days you have to live as a human being. But even just giving myself leniency and making sure I do the little things that are on my list and making sure I eat three meals a day and showering and brushing my teeth and brushing my hair can be hard to maintain. But even if you just did that in a day, you are taking care of yourself which is productive. And for me personally, I never try and take really big steps in trying to get better, I just try to make little movements forward, because eventually it starts to add up and can be overwhelming.”

The little bit of downtime she had from the pandemic gave her the opportunity to learn a lot about herself. “For me, I just learned to be more comfortable with me and the things I want. I am a 17-year-old girl, I’m not going to be the same person when I am 20-years old or 22 and I’m not always going to want the same things. I have learned that you don’t always have to know who you are all the time. It’s better to just be comfortable with who you are in the present moment and how you want to represent yourself.“

As for what keeps her up at night…. “We’re a floating rock! Do you ever think about that?” She asks. “Somebody said this to me once, and it actually messed with me. ‘WE would look like aliens to aliens.’ Like, we’re only used to what humans look like because we are human and we are surrounded by humans, but imagine, with no context, you saw a human being? Like that would be trippy, that would be weird. That genuinely keeps me up at night.”

But not to worry, I’m pretty sure if GAYLE met aliens, they would adore her, and her music, which by the way, her new EP “A Study of the Human Experience,” is coming March 18th and she can’t wait to focus on the future. “Oh My Gosh! The music, this year! I’m working on the music right now. I am very excited about it, and I want to just continue growing my music and I am very excited about that too, and to match it visually, and just talk about more personal topics. I want to push myself to be more vulnerable with people. I know that will take my writing to the next level and that is my main goal.”

Follow GAYLE on Facebook & Instagram @Gayle, Twitter @whoisgayle & check out her website at @: www.gayleofficial.com

Special thanks to Andrea Ganis, Deb Urbont, Sherry Alaghehban and the Atlantic team for helping to make this “Women To Watch” feature happen.