Angela Gayle on Domestic Violence, COVID-19, and Her New Single “Because You’re a Man”
Gaby Bendtsen, Lauren Santia, Sabrina Barkdoll, and Bridget McMenomy
In a time of COVID-19, problems of all shapes and sizes have arisen. How will children go to school safely? How will the nation’s mental health be affected by prolonged isolation? How can artists make a living during a time where concerts cannot take place? However, one topic that has failed to receive much attention is this: How has prolonged isolation affected those who live with their abuser?
Domestic violence is a major problem in today’s society. It’s extremely difficult for a victim to come forward about being assaulted. Sometimes, especially when that victim is a celebrity, privacy is lost and news spread in the media very quickly. The media has the power to spin stories, vilify or glorify individuals, and persuade the audience. The way the media responds to a story of abuse is often affected by the victim’s gender. In an effort to spark a conversation about the controversy and the way the media manipulates the portrayal of victims, singer/songwriter Angela Gayle has released a new song titled “Because You’re a Man”.
A triple-threat hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, singer, actress, and model Angela Gayle is a force to be reckoned with. In this exclusive interview, we take a look at how Angela’s work has been affected by COVID-19, as well as her inspiration behind her new single.
What was your creative process like in writing “Because You’re a Man?”
The first thing that came to mind was the idea of the song. I had something I wanted to say. I wrote a few lyrics, but the next part of the process was to compose the song on the piano. Once I get a tune on the piano, it is easier to say the rest of the words that I want, to get my message across.
What is the most meaningful lyric or line in this song to you?
Many of the lines are important to me but the most meaningful is:
“…all our rights matter; let everyone say their truth without circus or chatter; we should all be safe to share, because it’s courage and we can; because it matters, our voice matters, whether woman or man.”
What does this song mean personally to you?
The song has many meanings, in my opinion, but I wrote it because I didn’t like the way that the media turns personal situations into a circus before they know the entire story. Judgements are made and it sees that bias tends to lead more in one direction before the entire truth of the story is completely known. It is hurtful, confusing to the reader, ruins lives unnecessarily, and diminishes the integrity of the publication. I also take issue with women and men not being treated equally when it comes to issues of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
It seems that this song covers themes about the importance of listening to the victim, specifically a male victim, but also how society will turn their back on the male victim because of preconceived notions? Am I correct when I say this?
While I respect the ability of a female to step forward and tell their story, in the last few years, some females have come forward who weren’t being honest. And the media, instead of looking into the matter, or waiting to see how things play out in court, judgement is made against the man. So, yes you are correct in saying that. In a world where equal rights are emphasized, and especially when it comes to issues of domestic violence, rights are not equal. In domestic violence, men who are abused makeup around 50% of that, but are not treated equally; they are dismissed; and villainized before they’ve been given a fair chance to make their case.
During this time, is there anything that you have been doing, besides releasing the upcoming single “Because You’re A Man”, to connect to your fans?
I try to stay on social media. As a model, I do take pictures and share those as I also have fans that enjoy that side of me and it is something I consider to be art as well as they do. Because I was put in a situation where I had to remain in quarantine, I do the best I can to connect with people and bring some sort of positivity to their life.
Has it been a struggle to continue to reach out to your fans since you can’t see them at concerts in-person?
It hasn’t been a struggle to reach out to them, but I miss performing in front of them greatly. The stage is home to me and nothing beats that face-to-face interaction that you get and the interaction and friendships that you come along with the people that surround you. I miss performing live, but will be out there performing as soon as I can be.
Do you have any upcoming songs, live streams, or concerts that fans can look forward to?
During the quarantine, I was able to have free time to write an album, so there will be more songs coming. Additionally, when the time is right, I will be out performing and meeting with fans as I was before the pandemic started. Also, I will be performing a couple of new singles live online.
We know that COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, what’s the biggest effect that COVID-19 has had on you music-wise?
It would be terribly difficult for me to mention a negative when it comes to how it has affected me. It feels wrong because so many are struggling in ways unimaginable. But music-wise, it has given me the time to really have freedom creatively. I have written close to 15 songs or so. I have also practiced every day on the piano and guitar and improved vocally. Practice of all these different things takes time, and I am humbled to be in a position to have the time to do so and improve.
While you’ve had this much experience with performing, have you ever experienced something as drastic as COVID-19 that changed the way you played shows?
I went through a terrible, traumatic injury a few years ago. It landed me in the hospital for weeks and resulted in several surgeries, plus recovery which took over a year. That experience, from the beginning of the event until today, has changed the way that I approach music and acting in that I realized that every day counts. It has made me much more sensitive than I used to be. People have been so positive with me and I appreciate each and every interaction that I have with fans. It doesn’t take much to touch my heart and bring a tear, and I believe some of that comes from that.
Has COVID-19 and quarantine and COVID-19 made you think about things differently or look at the way you play music differently at all?
COVID-19 has made me think differently about the world. The recent tragedy of George Floyd also affected me greatly. The way I play music, though? I have always written songs from the heart, based on my life, so I can’t say that the way I approach music has changed at all. But time will tell as this world changes and we all adapt to it. I am able to adjust and grow in any way I need to in order to make this world better.
In closing, the fast-paced changes of our times from #MeToo to the media machine, form the bedrock of Angela Gayle’s new single. The COVID-19 pandemic is simply another facet that complicates these dynamics, and adds more depth to Angela’s lyrics moving forward. It is clear that no matter what life throws at her, she will continue to make thoughtful, meaningful music that addresses what’s on her mind and in her heart.
You can follow Angela on Twitter and Instagram (@AngelaGayle01), and Facebook. “Because You’re a Man” comes out on YouTube this Summer.