Since introducing herself in March with a song of the year candidate in “Patsy Kind of Night,” Graycie York had been steadily increasing anticipation for her forthcoming EP. After releasing her sophomore single, “Forever,” in June, our attention was fully peaked for the EP. As October comes to a close, York has unveiled the EP she had been teasing for more than half a year, and she didn’t disappoint.
Words to Say, a title drawn from the opening lyric of “Patsy Kind of Night,” doesn’t just double down on everything we loved about her first two singles, it paints a solid, introductory picture for York, and cements her as an artist to watch as she continues forward. From the opening guitar lick and clever lyrical metaphor of “Rodeo Queen” through the delightfully fiddle heavy closer “Without Me,” York takes the reins like a seasoned pro on her debut.
We caught up with York to talk about what the success of “Patsy Kind of Night” has meant to her, the songs on Words to Say and what she hopes listeners take away from it, her plans for the rest of 2020 and 2021 and more!
Pro Country: You released your debut single “Patsy Kind of Night” in March, which has since earned more than 80,000 Spotify streams. What did it mean to you to have that success out of the gate, and what do you think it is about the song that has allowed it to continue connecting with listeners?
Graycie York: I had always hoped “Patsy Kind of Night” would reach those numbers, but I honestly wasn’t sure how people would react to it! Especially my age group, because I’ve realized a lot of them don’t have a single clue who Patsy Cline is, but I think the reason people love it and keep playing it is that they’ve felt that heartbreak and they’ve been there. I know for me, if I keep playing a song, more times than not, I can relate to what he/she is singing about.
PC: The title of your new EP Words to Say comes from the opening lyric of “Patsy Kind of Night.” What was it about that lyric that encapsulated the EP and drew you to name the EP after it?
GY: Honestly, the hardest part about making this EP was finding a title for it! I remember going back and forth with different names and just not feeling like I’d ever find one, but I was listening through all the songs to see if something stuck out, and I heard “words to say” and thought that could be really cool, and so I got a few opinions and it became the title. To me, “words to say” means these are my songs, I wrote them and I have something to say, wither it be sad or sassy, these are the words I’m saying from my heart.
PC: Words to Say opens with a new track, “Rodeo Queen,” which likens love to rodeo and not wanting to be a part of a love interest’s “game.” Can you talk about crafting that metaphor and why you chose to lead to EP with that song?
GY: I’m really glad you asked this question because I don’t get to talk about where “Rodeo Queen” came from! I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason and that God gives us signs in a lot of things. One night I sat down to try and write a song because I’d felt stuck for a while, and felt like it was impossible to write, but I knew I had to. I was just messing around on guitar with some chords I didn’t even know I could play, and then all the sudden, the words “Rodeo Queen” popped into my head and I thought it was the most random thing, but then all these lyrics just started flowing out, and by then, I had more than half of the song finished. I decided to call it a night, and when I was getting in bed, I was checking my emails and saw one of my favorite boutiques were selling stickers, and when I clicked on the picture, the first sticker I saw was a pink crown that said the words “Rodeo Queen” and I knew right then I had to finish it, and the next night I did just that! I chose that as the opening song because the beginning guitar felt like the perfect opening song.
PC: “Next Time” is an emotionally heavy hitting, acoustic song about distance, and is one of our favorites on Words to Say. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the song?
GY: “Next Time” will always have a special place in my heart. I wrote this song sometime last year, and it was when I realized all my friends would be leaving for college soon and I would be here in Texas without them. It was a very hard time for me, so I decided I wanted to write a song for them just as a reminder that it’s not goodbye, just a see you next time. But with that being said, the song can mean a number of things; it’s just all about what the listener hears it as. I was hesitant to put it on the EP, but when Tyler (my producer) and I sat down to come up with ideas for it and we decided to keep it raw and just piano and guitar, I knew it would fit perfectly, and I’m glad y’all like it!
PC: “Without Me” is possibly the most “traditional” song on Words to Say, and serves as the EP closer. Can you talk about the sonic approach and inspiration to the song?
GY: Going into the record “Without Me,” I had no idea what my vision was for this song; I just knew I wanted fiddle. I also knew that the words to it are more on the sassy side, so I wanted to bring that out as well, so Tyler came up with some ideas and everything came together beautifully, and then when Jason Andrew came in to play fiddle, it seriously took it to the next level. He definitely made the song what it is!
PC: Words to Say deals pretty heavily with love lost and heartbreak. Was that an intentional theme you wanted to explore on the EP, or something that came about naturally as the EP came together?
GY: I say this at all my shows, but I mainly write sad heartbreak songs, not because I’m sad all the time, but it just comes more natural to me! I’ve experienced my share of heartbreak like everyone else, but to me, it’s just easier to put hard times into words and it connects with people more in my opinion. People like to know that they aren’t alone in what they’re feeling, so I think that’s why a lot of people love sad songs.
PC: Do you have a favorite song on Words to Say? If so, why is it so special to you?
GY: It’s so hard to choose! it was always “Rodeo Queen” just because I love how sassy it is and how it’s more rock ‘n roll, but after we got the fiddle on “Without Me,” it became my favorite for sure.
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from Words to Say after listening all the way through?
GY: I want them to be able to relate and to feel something through my music. Hopefully, it can reach someone who’s going through a rough patch and they just need reassurance that they aren’t alone with how they feel, and I hope they take some power from “Without Me” and “Rodeo Queen,” and they realize that they’re better off without someone or something.
PC: The last time we talked, you were hoping to book as many shows as possible and finish the EP. Now that the EP is released and things in the live music community have shifted slightly, what are your plans for the rest of the year and going into 2021?
GY: I’ve already been given some great opportunities for 2021, and I am so thankful and am looking forward to them! Right now, I’m gonna keep playing shows and working towards getting a full band together and see how the EP does! Taking each day as they come!
*Images courtesy of Graycie York Facebook page*
**Find Graycie’s music featured on The Best of Pro Country Playlist!**