An extreme dislike of anything about an ex-boyfriend except his canine companion led MTV artist PUSH GAYLE – an 18-year-old Nashville resident – to be listed alongside Drake, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd as the main nominee for the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards, which airs August 28.
A year has passed since the release of Billboard’s No. 1 “abcdefu,” a rock and trap-pop song written by the young artist and two other songwriters, 20-year-old Sara Davis and country songwriter /pop Dave Pittenger. The song is perhaps best described the way she noted her grandmother had it in a March 2022 interview with The Tennessean:
“You can say all the things I never could say at 18.”
The engaging and talkative teenager notes that she fell asleep again when her mother told her of her two nominations (for Best New Artist and Performance of the Year). “It was a beautiful dream, I thought. But it wasn’t. It’s so amazing.”
GAYLE candidly notes that being part of a group of 26 first-time nominees at the event is as much a testament to the spiraling growth of viral social media music and pop hits as it is to the effervescent joy of discovery attached to teenagers. who find that other teens are empowered. through the Internet as a space for musical expression.
“All the girls, especially, going through the same issues, simultaneously, on such a grand scale, have a moment. So when I’m successful, it means more than just having a hit song. It means we support and understand each other .”
The world tour in support of the song’s No. 1 status across Europe was also eye-opening for the singer-songwriter. Recent dates in Ireland, Sweden and the UK have felt “crazy”, as people from different educations and social backgrounds singing “abcdefu” are unified by “beautiful positive experiences” associated with his music.
“Beautiful positive experiences” paired with a song that drops a sharp, aggressive expletive every 18 seconds is ironic yet accurate. Notably, the breakup anthem curses a long list of people and things associated with her ex-boyfriend:
- his immediate family
- his car
- his art”
- his voice
- her sofa bought on Craigslist
However, there’s one thing the song — and GAYLE, because the song comes from a true story — still adores: her ex-boyfriend’s dog, a Shih Tzu named Kayla.
When asked what saved Kayla from her vitriol, she exclaims, “What did her dog do to someone? GAYLE adds, “The dog didn’t raise that person or allowed him to be the kind of person who didn’t know how to treat me better. His parents treated him like shit, so he treated me like shit*.”
“I write better songs when I’m not in love,” GAYLE continues when asked about the evolution of her songwriting process. “My anxiety is intimidating. I always think, ‘I love you, but I’m afraid of losing you.'”
Instead, in her next single — the funk-rock jam “indieedgycool” — she aims to browse the internet like an opinion machine about her art and craft.
She suggests it’s best viewed as a sarcastic sendoff of Gen Z haters. “They’re always the ones who are quick to use musical stereotypes to tear me [and other creatives] down. We can scream until our faces turn blue in response to that – I would love for all of my fans to be my friends and for us to grow together on my artistic journey. But honestly, these people with negative opinions have turned a corner. So I wrote a song about them.”
As for the next steps whether or not she succeeds in winning a VMA on August 28, she has a good idea of her next career steps:
“Now I know what I didn’t know. I thought there was a secret formula for [music industry] Hit. No, it’s just hard work. It’s intimidating, but at the same time, it’s also heartwarming.”