Having caught two of this hugely talented and charismatic artist’s sets at C2C this weekend it is clear she is a born performer with a voice to rival the best out there. In addition she co-wrote six of the songs on her latest album, “ Love The Way You See Me”!! Judging by the crowds she attracted at the festival she has a massive and no doubt expanding fanbase over here so when the opportunity to interview her today arose I jumped at the chance! It was definitely a fun chat and I’d like to thank Stephanie and her management team for their time in what I know was a really hectic schedule!
1 LH A belated welcome to the UK and C2C, Stephanie! You’ve already played several sets this weekend, how has the experience been for you so far?
SQ I don’t know that there are words that can describe the joy that’s coming out of my eyeballs right now! The fans here are great, to see their faces from the stage and hear them sing and know the words, get to meet them afterwards ….this is a lifelong relationship I’m just so thrilled we finally got to be here!
2. LH Are you surprised at the size of the festival and the passion for country music here in the UK?
SQ There was an awareness about C2C and a desire to come and play it, but seeing it with my own eyes, the support of the up and coming artists, not only the stars, and seeing how connected the fans are to everybody…it’s blowing my mind!
3. LH You’ve been playing several songs from your 2017 album “ Love The Way You See Me” which has received fantastic reviews. Are you the type of person who reads what’s written about your music?
SQ You know, here’s how I look at it, everyone has things they like and don’t like! I kind of look at it like an athlete, it’s good to know what everyone’s thinking and saying, always keep your eye on the ball!
4. LH And even Dolly Parton herself contacted you I gather when she heard your fabulous track “ Drinking With Dolly”?
SQ So I have a letter from Dolly Parton on pink stationary , framed and on my piano, and it’s typed! Can you picture Dolly at a typewriter?!! That right there makes me so freakin’ happy, with those nails, she’s probably tapping away like when she wrote “ 9-5” !! I haven’t met her yet but I’m hoping to very soon …I think it’s going to be this year…..
5. LH The album’s been out for a few months now….are there any songs you feel differently about now you’ve been playing them a while, maybe your “ favourites” have changed over that period?
SQ You know the songs that I was obsessed with putting on the album, I’m still just in love with them! “ Selfish” is one that I wrote and it just means so much for me to see it resonating with the fans and out there on the radio. “Drinking With Dolly” will always have a place that no other song can have, and “ Ugly” I’ve now performed here last three different shows and it took me by my guts yesterday, you saw it …there’s just something about that song that encapsulates so much of my life and resonates in so many places with me. It will go down in my history as one of the most incredible songs I ever got to record.
LH Are there any songs that you weren’t as connected with initially that you feel more in touch with now?
SQ.Yes, “ Shoebox” …I wrote it after a break up so initially it was a sad song but it has become an empowering song because it’s about letting it go. I think that’s a very strong perspective. It has taken on a whole new life and even the way I sing it now is different.
6. LH What was it about “ Drinking With Dolly” and “ Ugly” that was such an immediate attraction to you….the lyrics, melody or the whole package?
SQ The whole package tho with “ Drinking With Dolly” the first line had me, I was destroyed ….” Sometimes I think I was born too late, came into the world in the wrong decade”…..I was like, that’s me!
When I heard “Ugly” it was just piano and vocal, I think it was Audra ( Mae, one of the co-writers) singing it ….its just one of those gut wrenchers and I knew it had to be mine.
7. LH You’ve already mentioned your latest single “ Selfish”…..it’s getting fantastic reaction everywhere isn’t it?
SQ It’s a game changer for me in a real big way. Stateside we’re breaking top 60 on the largest country music radio chart there, once we hit 59 we’re having a party! And on the indicator charts we’re 32. And the fans are speaking, I’ve never had so many people doing their own covers of my music and sharing how much they love it. It’s really exciting and such a personal song.
8. LH I hope we’ve done enough for you this weekend to entice you back for a headline tour?
SQ I’d love to! There’s definitely an opportunity and I’ll find out next week if we’re coming back in September…you can’t get rid of me now!
LH We don’t want to!
9. LH What else does 2018 hold for you?
SQ Goodness I think this is the year i finally get to debut at the Grand Old Opry…..as soon as I have that information I’ll share it!
LH Wow!! Yes please let us know about that!
SQ I believe I’m going to meet Dolly Parton this year too, there’s the ACM’s coming up which is going to be very exciting, and I’ll be playing CMA fest like I do every year! Then I’m touring this Summer, opening in the Fall for someone I can’t tell you about yet …
LH In the States or over here?
SQ It could be both!
LH Watch this space!
SQ Yes it’s all so exciting. Also I plan to keep on making music, keep writing. On Thursday at the CMA Songwriters Series I had so many “song moments” , something someone said or something in a song that I noted on my phone…..and I find I want to get more personal these days with my music. “Selfish“ has resonated because it is so personal and I want to keep pushing in that direction.
LH Yes i think people can tell if you’re writing from your soul instead of…..
SQ Lets see if we can write a hit!
Well that was a great interview! Thank you so much for your time, safe travels and see you soon I hope!
Interview conducted by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)