Gayle Skidmore’s one of those indie artists who always goes the extra mile for her music and her growing legion of devout followers. Skidmore’s a three-time, San Diego Music Award winner for “Best Pop” in 2015, “Best Pop Album [Sleeping Bear]” in 2014, and “Best Singer-Songwriter” in 2013.
The singer-songwriter lives just outside mainstream pop, closer to dreamy, classically influenced ambient folk for folks who crave feel and meaning with their layered melodies. She’s also an atypical multi-talented musician, able to play 20-plus instruments (and growing), including the piano, banjo, folk harp, mountain dulcimer, and the little-known, Russian stringed balalaika.
Her self-produced, upcoming album, The Golden West, comes out April 7 via her own Raincoat Records label. Her 20th independent release features 10 original songs and an accompanying adult coloring book — her charming, comforting idiosyncrasy. The Golden West theme centers on leaving the past behind, moving forward, and making the most out of what’s left.
Initially, the album was supposed to be an EP. But Skidmore found renewed inspiration bubbling up within her, and went with it.
AXS caught up with Gayle Skidmore two weeks before the official album drop. Here’s the exclusive interview from earlier today.
AXS: What’s the early feedback been like on this upcoming album so far? Any surprising reviews?
Gayle Skidmore: I've had some great feedback so far and I'm excited for the album to officially drop. Some of the reviews that I've gotten have been really in-depth and I've been amazed at the insight I've received on my songs.
AXS: If you could go back and redo anything on Golden West, what changes would you make?
GS: I just finished the album... so I'm pretty happy with it as is. I would probably add a few more songs. But honestly, each album is such a journey and I just appreciate what it has taken to create it, so it's hard to say I'd change anything. There was one song we scrapped from the album — so if I could, I'd re-track a few parts of it and include it.
AXS: Let’s take the reset further. What would you do differently in your life, if you could go back in time and start over?
GS: I think I'd have finished my music major. But I'm planning on doing that in the future anyway. Other than that, I am happy with the path I've chosen. There are so many things that I wish I could change about my life, but when it comes down to it, it has all collectively made me who I am now and I don't know how wise it would be to change it. Difficult experiences and mistakes can shape us, and I am grateful for what I've learned from the many trials in my life — those from external forces and those self-inflicted. My life is full of incredible people and I have deep friendships that have been forged in fire. I wouldn't trade anything I have now because there's no telling what my life would look like if I made any major changes.
AXS: You’re well-known in the West Coast as an artist who will reach out to fans personally in very thoughtful ways, like baking cookies and constructing origami art for them. What have been some special moments with your fans?
GS: I have some wonderful, wonderful fans and have numerous stories about the lovely things they've done for me. From portraits to music videos, clothing to instruments, I've been given lovely physical gifts, but the best have been the emotional gifts. My music is very personal and raw, and it has been an enormous blessing to me to be able to share it. It means the world to me when anyone connects with it, and I have been fortunate to receive amazing letters from fans about what my music has meant. It's so humbling to have that kind of an effect with my music, and it encourages me to keep going. As far as going the extra mile for my fans, I feel like anything I do is very minimal in comparison with what my fans do for me — enabling to live my dream of sharing my music and getting to create different mediums of art for a living.