Kelowna country singer undaunted by lockdown

The year 2020 was supposed to be a big one for Teigen Gayse.

Her self-titled debut album was recorded in Texas, released and a series of promotional shows was planned for the summer.

Then COVID-19 changed everything.

But, for this country singer who has made Kelowna home since 2012, she has made the best of it by focusing on social media and building her fan base through the internet.

“I had just released the album and went back to Texas to begin promoting it and literally on the first day we got there, COVID happened,” she said.

“It was bad timing, but it was also kind of perfect. I had to concentrate on my social media, which was fine, and I was able to get a lot of PR work done. Social media is still very powerful and I’ve been more innovative, doing different things to reach out to my audience.”

For that trip, she drove with her family and was able to return safely to Canada before self-isolating for 14 days.

“Teigen Gayse,” the album, is now available on all music platforms and features eight songs, all written by the artist.

Of the tracks on the album, “Don’t Look Back” was chosen as a single and includes a video that she’s posted on her website. Although she didn’t know it when writing the tune, it could now be an inspirational song for the times. It’s presently receiving airplay on CBC.

“Fly Away” was her first single released to radio and “I Kinda Like It” and “Austin” are also gaining momentum.

The album was recorded at Zone Recording Studio in Austin and involved the production team of Tyler McCallum and Cody Angel. It’s considered three-quarters Canadian content which should draw the attention of Canadian country stations.

“I love it, I’m so happy with it and I can’t wait for people to have a chance to listen to it,” she said of the album. “When I went into the studio, I had an open mind with everything. I didn’t want to go in there with all these ideas because I wanted to feel it out with all the musicians and the producer. I had a bit of an idea of what I wanted, but was very open.”

Gayse grew up in Chetwynd and studied audio engineering arts and technology in Kelowna. She’s stayed in Kelowna ever since. As much as she appreciates the valley, recording in Texas put her in the right zone for country music.

“Texas is so electrifying. When I left Austin, I ended up writing five songs in a few weeks and three of those songs ended up on my album, including one that I called Austin. Each song has its own genre attached to it. I don’t really like saying my music is of a certain genre because I love all music. When we went into the studio, we didn’t have a plan; however I felt, it was, 'OK let’s do it.'”

Growing up, one of her greatest influences was Taylor Swift, partly because she writes her own material. Gayse also admires the music of Kacey Musgraves and Ed Sheeran.

She described herself as “quite the little entertainer” when she was young, but didn’t start taking music seriously until age 15, when she discovered a passion for song writing.

“I’ve always liked to sing, but when I began writing, I loved it. When I felt like I had a really good idea for a song, I could work on song structure, melodies and words and I found it all fascinating. I had the voice, but just singing didn’t do enough for me until I began writing.”

One thing she’s anxious to start again is performing live and as the economy begins to reopen and COVID restrictions are further loosened, she expects to play some smaller shows to promote the

album. An album-release party is in the works for later this summer which she promises will be in Kelowna. (Check her website for updates.)

The album is by far the highlight of her career, thus far.

When asked what her personal highlight was up until that point, she said it’s whenever someone new enjoys her music.

“The best thing for me is when someone says how much my music means to them, how it affects them. Whenever I hear a kind word, it makes me think that I am doing the right thing, that I’ve picked the right passion in life. Music is a hard business … and there are days when you are never sure. But if I can touch someone through my music, it always makes my day.”