Born in the rural town of Baskin, Louisiana, MEMARIE GAYLE grew up in an environment richly infused with music which served as an ideal avenue for her to explore and expand her musical horizons. “My dad is a producer and a songwriter. My mom sang on the Louisiana Hayride when I was a kid. She still sings in church at times but now has a career as a nurse.”
Memarie (pronounced “memory”) has been singing since she learned how to talk and knew early on that music was the soundtrack by which she would live her life. The ardent music fan soaked in all types of music which eventually led her to discover and polish a style that would become all her own. Her parents entered the budding performer into numerous talent shows and festivals, and she was playing in their band by the time she was eight years old! Memarie remembers, “From the first time they let me sing on stage with their band, I was hooked! I knew in that moment that the stage was where I felt the most myself. I was home.”
It would be impossible to name every artist who has ever influenced Memarie, as they range anywhere from Loretta Lynn to Tom Petty – and just about everything in between. Memarie admits, “My musical taste is all over the board. I love almost every genre of music.” Her distinctively compelling blues-tinged rootsie voice is a direct effect from having grown up to the sounds of artists like Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Johnny Cash, The Judds, Trisha Yearwood, Melissa Ethridge, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Patty Griffin and Sheryl Crow.
Memarie penned her first song when she was just ten years old and soon learned that putting emotions onto paper served well as effective therapy sessions. “It has always been easier to express my emotions through writing songs. It’s kind of crazy how I can write a song about something so close to my heart but telling someone face to face how I feel is so excruciatingly painful.” She quickly took to mastering the guitar, taking occasional pointers from her father. “He would show me a chord here and there and I would work on it
Having already decided she wanted to be a singer early on, it was the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter that set really the gears into motion for Memarie to realize her dreams! “I watched that movie so many times during my childhood years! It had a huge effect on me! I related to Loretta Lynn so much because I came from a small town and from a family that was not exactly blessed with financial abundance. It really motivated me and made my dreams seem within reach.” Memarie had the privilege of meeting Loretta in person several years ago backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. Loretta’s gracious demeanor is something that continues to resonate with Memarie. “I was working for Make-A-Wish Foundation and had brought a young girl to see her. Loretta was so sweet and spent lots of time talking to her before she went on stage. It was great to know she was exactly the nice person I knew she would be. She was very down to earth, which is how every artist should remain no matter how much success you gain.”
Determined to pursue music full-time, Memarie followed her heart all the way to Nashville to record her debut album. The album included two R&R Top 40 singles and a #1 Christian Country hit. Another song, “I Know You By Heart,” was included in an episode of the MTV television show, “Made.”
Over the past two years Memarie has continued on her musical journey releasing an EP which took her around the country performing numerous shows. The deeply personal project provided a much-needed outlet for Memarie to deal with the emotions that came with recent tumultuous times. She divulges, “When I wrote these songs, I was going through major changes in my life. It was in a whirlwind of change like I have never experienced before, and these songs are all over the board emotionally. These are all songs I wrote or co-wrote within a 4-month period, and they really represent where I was at that time in my life. Recently Memarie also appeared on the CMT hit show, “Can You Duet”, beating out thousands of musical hopefuls making her way as a finalist.
Today, Memarie is working on a brand new record that is set to be finished in September. Memarie has wrote all the music for her upcoming CD and was also fully involved with her producer in arranging and bringing her vision to life in the studio. The legendary Tom Lord-Alge, working with artist such as Dave Matthews, Sarah McLachlan, Avril Levign, Faith Hill and many more is mixing the project. It is important to her that none of the music’s integrity is lost. “I did not worry about trying to fit into any one particular genre in writing for this record. I let the songs breath and go where they needed to go creatively. I am trying to be more vulnerable with myself and my music which has been very fulfilling and freeing. There is a piece of me in every song. For this reason alone my new CD has an honesty like never before, allowing the music to cross genre barriers. I am so excited to share this project with everyone.
* Memarie works with several charities including St. Jude, YWCA and Musician’s on Call.