Atlantic Records’ Newest Artist GAYLE Pays Tribute to Boys and Breakups with Debut Single “abcdefu” (Exclusive)

Meet the girl behind behind your soon to be favorite heartbreak anthem!

Today, 17-year-old singer/songwriter GAYLE releases her single “abcdefu, ” a vehement tribute to boys and breakups. Today, she sits down with Celeb Secrets to talk about her release, relationships, and to give us an inside look at her work.

The Nashville-based artist describes her music as vulnerable, aiming to empower audiences and share stories that others can relate to. The raw, unfiltered musician explains that “[her] songs are more than just saying f*** you, but it is a great place to start.” This fearless honesty draws listeners in, and reminds us that music is supposed to bring out our purest emotions. 

This sound is most notable in two of GAYLE’s most recent works, dumbass and new single “abcdefu,” which is out today. Her press team emphasizes that GAYLE is intent on making music that offers her listeners a certain emotional freedom. 

 “After ‘dumbass’ came out, I had a lot of people telling me how brave I am,” she tells Celeb Secrets in an exclusive interview. “ I thought, ‘I’m talking about something that almost everyone has gone through at some point — is that really that brave?’ With all my songs I’m just writing about my own experience, with the hope that it’ll give people space to feel more comfortable with their own emotions. I just want everyone to do what makes them happy, and be more confident in who they really are.”

Her approach was certainly successful, as this track caught the attention of her dream label, who signed her in May of 2020. “Atlantic Records was Aretha [Franklin’s] label, so it was my dream to sign with them,” she says. “It’s the best birthday present I could’ve ever asked for.” 

The Aretha Franklin fan cherishes the late artist; Franklin fueled her love of music, and continues to be a role model in the industry. GAYLE expresses that “from the first time [she] heard Aretha, [she] felt like [she] didn’t need anything else in the world. [She] just needed to sit and listen to whatever [Aretha] had to tell [her].”


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Her debut single for Atlantic, “abcdefu,” arrives as a glowing example of GAYLE’s gift for fusing that raw sincerity with her idiosyncratic and sometimes irreverent perspective. With its minimalist backdrop of jagged guitar work, the tongue-in-cheek breakup song explodes into a glorious free-for-all at its gang vocal-fueled chorus.

But in a sharp contrast to its thrilling catharsis, “abcdefu” also telegraphs a refusal to compromise her own needs. “That song came from a place of trying so hard to be the nice, respectful ex girlfriend, to the point where it was negatively affecting me,” she says. “It’s about asking, ‘Why am I being so nice to this person who completely took advantage of me?’and allowing myself to express my anger about that.”

Keep scrolling to read more of our interview with GAYLE, where she talks about her musical journey, relationships, and an inside look at her creative process. Don’t forget to check out “abcdefu” below let us know what you think by reacting at the bottom of the post or by tweeting us at @celebsecrets.

You can follow her on Instagram at @gayle.



CS: Tell us a little about your story and your musical upbringing. I know you grew up in Nashville; how did growing up in such a musically rich city cultivate your interests? 

GAYLE: “I’m actually originally from Dallas, Texas, and I was there until I was 10. That’s when I started going back and forth to Nashville. It started out very innocently. I started singing when I was  seven, and Aretha Franklin has always been such a big inspiration for me. When I was seven I decided I was going to be Aretha Franklin when I grew up. Power singers have always been such a big inspiration for me. And so when I was in Texas, performance was really a big love of mine and I really loved singing and power singing and that’s really what I worked on. Then I started going to Nashville and learned about writing, specifically co-writing and that’s when I fell in love with [it] and the art of collaboration. That’s something that I just really love. There is such a big songwriting culture in Nashville, especially with collaborating; They do writer’s rounds here, which is when three to four people are on a stage and you sing one song, the person next to you sings a song, and then, people just ask, ‘hey, you want to write a song together?’ And I was like ‘oh I can do that?’ I ended up starting to do that three to five times a week and I’d visit once a month. I ended up moving here actually when I was 12 and I’ve been homeschooled since. It was kind of perfect timing for me and, you know, it’s something that I’ve always really wanted to do. And then I’ve just kind of stuck to it.”

CS: To listeners who aren’t familiar, talk to us a little bit about your work. In terms of style, messaging, and audience- how would you describe your music? What/who do you want to address through your music?  

G: “I write all of my songs, and I personally write based off of my own personal experiences. Soulful singers have always been such a big inspiration for me. I purposely try and have a vocal that’s more soulful leaning. I also love pop melodies, like Taylor Swift, 1989, or even Max Martin’s amazing melodies. Tove Lo has super hooky pop melodies that I really love. I try and incorporate inspiration of the hooks that comes from pop music. When singer songwriters release music, and it’s super vulnerable lyrics, interesting lyrics, interesting concepts, so I try to take inspiration from that. Production can definitely be more pop-leaning but it’s an organic production and more acoustic leaning. I kind of take all of that and try to make it into one thing. When it comes to messaging, it’s multiple things with ABC. My songs are more than just saying f*** you, but it is a great place to start, in my opinion. I think it’s good setting the tone of alright, this is the vibe of where we’re going.”

CS:“dumbass” was your “breakthrough” in a sense, and it even catapulted your signing with Atlantic Records. How did it feel to be recognized for your work, and have audiences appreciating the stories you tell? 

G: “‘dumb-ass was one of the first songs that I was ever really vulnerable in. It set the tone because within the first 30 minutes, the writer, Jesse Thomas, was like what if we did like clothes off and close off? As a 14 year old I closed off my feelings and I’d take my clothes off so I don’t have to open up to my boyfriend. And she’s like, oh, okay. Maybe like the second verse?  I said no, we have to start the song out with that. It was honestly very nerve wracking too, I don’t necessarily get nervous the thought of like a stranger listening to my song, but like friends of mine listening to my music? That’s scary. Atlantic is my dream label. Aretha Franklin was signed there and I wanted to be signed with them for as long as I can remember. It’s honestly a dream come true and I’m very grateful and it’s just very exciting overall that people don’t think I suck.”

CS: We read about your musical process from when you were younger – “I was mostly talking about emotions I’d never experienced a lot of times. I’d watch a  movie, and then try to write a song that created that same feeling.” How is this similar or different to your current writing process? 

G: “When I was 10, I didn’t really know what love was. I knew that I loved my mom. I knew that type of love. I knew that I loved my brother. I knew that I loved my friends, but I didn’t love somebody as a significant other. I definitely now can say that I’ve been in love before, and I know those feelings that I also know heartbreak in such a different way, I’ve had different types of love with people too. And so instead of trying to guess what these feelings would be like, I actually have my own personal experience that I know. It always changes, but I know how love can affect me. And I know how heartbreak affects me and I can now really put myself into songs instead of just guessing.”

CS: Where does your lyrical inspiration come from? 

G: “Kara DioGuardi is an amazing songwriter. She’s particularly an artist but with songwriters, you can kind of start to tell when their lyrics come out in other songs. Julie Michaels is also a huge inspiration. Her lyrics are just absolutely amazing. Even Holly Humberstone has been one recently. I just love vulnerability and you can tell when somebody really puts themselves in songs. Even UPSAHL, I really love UPSAHL, she’s great. The blunt honesty of like, I just came into the party for the drugs, like, I’m here for one thing. That can take some balls to actually say, and they’re just very confident, powerful women who put their truths and their songs. And I find that really inspiring.”

CS: You are a big Aretha Franklin fan — what is something that you learned from her/her music? 

G: “I recently watched the Aretha movie that came out with Jennifer Hudson. And Jennifer Hudson vocally – I mean anytime I want to feel bad about myself I just look up Jennifer Hudson vocals. I love compilations of singers and just like belting. I’m like, yep, I can’t sing. I need to work on my vocal lessons and practice. Even with Aretha I’m pretty sure it took her about nine albums before she actually had a hit, and I’ve listened to those albums because she’s Aretha and she can do no wrong for me. She kept persisting and she had to come to the realization herself that she couldn’t do what other people wanted her to do. She had to do what she was passionate about. She’s such an incredible performer and the way she sings emotion and soul is so powerful. She’s always telling a story with a song. She does what she does and you can’t boss her around. Those are the kinds of things that I take away from her.”

Photo Credit: Luke Rogers

CS: What challenges do you face while writing music?

G: “It’s hard to be vulnerable. Especially when you’re in a writer’s room and you’re writing with people for the first time, giving a song it’s best shot. You really have to tell some people, some s*** about you. It’s hard to say these things about yourself, because even if you have a persona and put it out there and nobody likes that, you’re like, well, that isn’t really me. But then when you do what you think is cool, make the best thing you think you could ever make, and people don’t like that, they just don’t like you. It’s a hard feeling to come to terms with, because people have the ability to not like it, but then people also have the ability to like it too, you know? But it’s really hard. I love a good song about a boy obviously, but it’s also hard to ask what is there to draw from this? You look at the world like ‘what can I take away from this and turn it into something else?’ So at times that can be a struggle too. I remember one time I was looking through my notes for song ideas and saw the words orange and raspberry and I thought ‘oh how interesting.” And then it ended up being like a grocery list.”

CS: Your new single “abcdefu” is officially here. Tell us a little bit about this track, what inspired it, is there anything you want your audiences to know before taking a listen? 

G: “I want them to know that I really did try and be nice. I really did. I called him two weeks after we broke up and was like, ‘hey bud, how’s life? How’s your job?’ And I meant it. I really was like  ‘dude, I want the best for you.’ He was like going up for these jobs, these job interviews. And I would ask him about it and catch up. I wanted to know about his life. He would even like to talk about girls he liked and I’d be supportive of it. And then, we had a mutual friend who told me ‘they’re not saying nice things about you. They’re talking about how you’re not over them and how you’re jealous.’

I write a lot of songs with my best friend, who I actually cowrote the song with, and thought it was time. It came out in an extreme way because I bottled up my feelings about it, and once I allowed myself to get angry, I remembered things he did months ago that really pissed me off. It kind of like all came out at once and this song is just kind of a way for me to process all of these very, very intense emotions and just kind of get them out there.” 

CS: What can fans and new audiences expect next from Gayle? 

G: “I think they can expect the unexpected.” 

CS: Since we’re Celeb Secrets, what is a secret (fun fact) that people don’t know about you? It could be about yourself, or projects you have worked on! 

G: “I have this thing called chromesthesia, where songs become colors. I listen to music and I see the color of it. For example ABC is red. I haven’t really told many people about that. It’s red, a very specific type of darker red. Also there are some more interesting versions of ABC that are going to see the light of day.” 


  • Gabriella Anifantis

    Gabriella is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California. Her interests in film, television, and pop culture have brought her to Celeb Secrets; She hopes to create and distribute content that will engage others in her interests.

Gabriella is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California. Her interests in film, television, and pop culture have brought her to Celeb Secrets; She hopes to create and distribute content that will engage others in her interests.

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