Gabrielle Macafee Is Ready For The Apocalypse Rodeo

emilytreadgold #1, Features

Gabrielle's sweet voice and 80s tinged melodies are the perfect combo. Her song "Apocalypse Rodeo" has been on loop for us lately. It's a little cheeky in the best way, but with darker undertones. We talked to her about the song, the inspo behind it, and the challenges she's faced lately.

How did you get started in music?

Gabrielle: I started out in church and musical theater! I was very involved in the evangelical church growing up, and despite my current complicated feelings toward the institution itself, it provided a space to cultivate my love of music. 

Tell me about your song "Apocalypse Rodeo" what's the story behind it?

Gabrielle: I began writing "Apocalypse Rodeo" about a relationship sometime in late 2019. I wrote the first verse and saved it somewhere in the bowels of my hard drive and forgot about it - until about a year later. At that time, my frustrations were more pointed toward my former church acquaintances, who were viciously anti-mask and pro-Trump. I was so angry at the time, and the only way I could process it was by looking at the ridiculousness of it all. The Chicks' album Gaslighter and Fleetwood Mac's Tango in The Night were albums I was living in at the time, so my creative partner Kyle Knudsen and I really leaned into that and the sardonic attitude of the lyrics. 

I love how versatile this song is! Did you intentionally make it like that, or was it a coincidence? 

Gabrielle: Thank you so much!! It could totally be a song about a shitty date, but it's truly about my frustrations with the evangelical church and the politics many of the churches align themselves with. As I was writing it, I wanted to maintain that duality and wanted to keep up the imagery of a spaghetti western-style showdown. It's a tongue-in-cheek song with a very serious core. 

How have you been staying motivated to create this past year?

Gabrielle: Honestly, being musically creative has been a struggle. I've found creativity in other forms - mostly through cooking. I've really fallen in love with it. I've been trying to go easy on my relationship with music because this year has been so traumatizing - between lifestyle changes and death close to my family, 2020 really crushed my spirit. Creativity appears in so many aspects of life, and I find that easy to forget. 

What else has been inspiring you?

Gabrielle: Throughout 2020 and into 2021, I worked at a restaurant at a family-run vineyard in the middle of nowhere, Georgia. Learning about the winemaking process has been fascinating. I can't help but relate it to creating music - it's a labor of love that involves so many steps and requires immense dedication and care. At the core, the process also hasn't changed in centuries, much like music. Sure, there is new technology and gear, but at the core, it requires people and a great deal of passion. 

What has been one of the biggest challenges for you in your career?

Gabrielle: Waiting. It's also the challenge that surfaces most frequently for me. I had to put releasing music on hold for years because of an injury, and despite the discomfort waiting causes, it helped my art fully form. My favorite quote is by Rilke, "everything must be carried to term before it is born." 

What artist have you been listening to a lot lately?

Gabrielle: Japanese Breakfast, Wolf Alice, Rihanna, Dora Jar, Patti Smith - those are the artists I've had on rotation recently!

What's your best piece of advice for young women?

Gabrielle: If you want something, just ask. It can't hurt you. Also, female mentorship is crucial in this industry - I am so grateful for the incredible women I have met in music. And follow up on those relationships too. They require care! 

Follow Gabrielle on Instagram and Spotify to stay tuned.

Emily Treadgold

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