Nicolle Galyon has a tendency to write No. 1 songs – she just typically does it for everyone other than herself.
Galyon has penned nine No. 1 songs, including Miranda Lambert’s “Automatic” and Dan + Shay’s “Tequila.” She’s won the Academy of Country Music’s coveted Song of the Year twice. She was named BMI Songwriter of the Year in 2019, earned a Triple Play Award for having three No. 1 songs in one year, and produced RaeLynn’s critically acclaimed, chart-topping album “Wild Horse” as one of the only female producers in country music. She partnered with Big Loud to create the female-focused record label Songs & Daughters. But her resume isn’t what she wanted to convey with “First Born.”
Today the mother of two released her authentic, transparent and articulate 11-song autobiographical debut album “First Born” and with it her new song “tendencies.” The album comes with a wildly creative video version of the project she filmed in her Kansas hometown with Claire Schaper. Each song has its own video – all of which were filmed with a crew of six over three-and-a-half days with about an hour allotted for each clip. “tendencies,” written by Galyon, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Cooper Galyon, leans into the fact that Galyon doesn’t know her biological father. She sings, “I’ve never been an alcoholic, but I’ve got tendencies.” A lover of wine, she doesn’t know if that’s inherited or a habit.
The album also includes songs about: loving your differences; embracing your true yourself; recognizing how your roots impact who you are; and as women, the pressure society assigns versus what is expected of men.
“The main catalyst was, ’What would I want my kids to know about me?'” Galyon said of writing her album. “How would I want them to know me as a mother, woman, and creator if it all ended tomorrow?”
The idea for the project came amid dry January in 2021 as she was making frequent flights from Kansas to Nashville. It’s about a 90-minute drive from the airport in Wichita to her home in Sterling, and she felt healthy, clear-headed and brimming with creativity.
“I had the concept, and I just knew I wanted to write the album chronologically as if I was writing my memoir to my kids,” she says. “I wanted to do it now in real-time.”
She wrote down words as if they were chapter titles for her autobiography and turned those ideas into songs.
For the video collection, Galyon said she knew she wanted a video component that didn’t die the day after it was released. She set out to make a visualizer for each song. The recording went so well that each clip became a stand-alone video that fit with the next to tell her story – and the story of her album.
“I like to say I’d rather be someone to look to not look at,” she says. “It just felt like this is a story. I’m an author. We kept me true to who I was, where I am right now. We just elevated it and took it somewhere new.”