Gayle Skidmore may call Amsterdam her home now, but she recently returned to San Diego before embarking on an eight date US tour — a “quick three-week jaunt out to Cleveland and back.” She has toured with a full band on past occasions, but these shows will all be solo. Existing on the road is no issue for her though. She was inadvertently trained at an early age to endure lengthy car rides.
“I didn’t know if I would like that vagabond life,” Skidmore explained. “My family always took long road trips when we were little. We never flew anywhere. I was always mad about that, but I think it really prepared me for driving long distances. I really enjoy being on the road.”
But the life of a travelling musician also presents conundrums, such as, “How do I continue to generate income in a streaming world?” Skidmore came up with a rather ingenious method for selling her music in physical formats — she coupled them with coloring books. Besides helping to sustain her life on the road, the coloring books also provide her fans with an alternative pathway to immerse themselves in the world of her albums.
“There’s been a lot of research on the therapeutic aspects of coloring and how good it is for you. It’s something that I, personally, have always done. I write a lot of my music to get through crazy experiences in my life and just process my life. It’s something that I wanted to give my fans to be able to do the same thing. To have something where they could escape into it — color and listen to music and have it be this whole experience. I come from an age where you would buy an album and listen to the whole thing, so it’s an enticement for people to do that,” she said.
Skidmore’s July 28 show at Lestat’s will be a bit of a homecoming for the veteran of the local music circuit. She has played that room before, and was quite worried when she heard the venue was on the ropes, and happy to hear later that a deal was struck in late-April that brought Lestat’s back from the brink of extinction.
“I really wanted to come home and play there, because that was such a special place for me when I was starting out in San Diego and learning how to perform. I just really wanted to come back and support them,” Skidmore said.
The community aspect of Lestat’s is exactly what Skidmore seems to be missing in Amsterdam. She is looking for her scene, but hasn’t found it just yet.
“There’s some great people I’ve met there so far, and maybe I don’t know the right people yet. But I feel like here even if you meet people that aren’t super-involved in the music scene, they still know where the people are who are running things. I don’t really get that vibe. A lot of the bigger venues only work with certain booking agencies. In San Diego, they’re much more supportive of their local talent,” she said.