Anthony Quails discuss his new album The Man I Thought I’d Never Be and his growing music career
Album art by Rusty Hein
Anthony Quails is a local musician that recently released an album entitled The Man I Thought I’d Never Be. The album includes themes about growing older and the idea that change is inevitable. Quails focused his writing upon his recent experiences - being a husband and songwriter, and dealing with death, parenthood, and finding beauty within the silence.
In creating the album, Quails spent ninety-five percent of recording sessions in the studio and captured mostly everything on film. He was able to work with his good friend and producer, Jimmy Smith, as well as Michael Minkoff and Phil Hodges from Renew the Arts. Because the subject matter for this album was unlike anything previously recorded, Quails was open to anything as long as it did not sound “hokey or cliche.” In speaking of memories from the time spent creating the album, he recalls a time tracking the backing vocals. Feeling inspired by the textured harmonies of the Beach Boys, the aim was to recreate a similar feel. Each track was sung separately and after finishing the harmonies, the tracks were isolated and played back together.
Originally Quails was given the opportunity to sing before an audience with a few other classmates in first grade. As he began singing, he was trembling but looked over to see a bright smile on his music teacher’s face. This is credited as the moment he fell in love with music and performing. It was not until he graduated from high school that he began to play the guitar. He had been dating a girl and was determined to win her back which led him to learn guitar. He states that after “six months in, I found that I liked the guitar more than the girl.”
Now, in addition to the harmonies of the Beach Boys, Quails finds himself inspired by his friends that are able to create on a daily basis as their primary form of employment. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, his respect for them has grown even greater through their overcoming difficulties and continuing to find ways to create and engage with their followers.
When talking about the music scene in Chattanooga, Quails says that it has definitely changed for the better over the last decade. There are many more outlets for artists now and the support for local artists is strong. In the past, there were only a couple of nights each week that would have an open mic. It seems to him that a good open mic could be found nearly every night. It is that kind of growth and support that can be attributed to the reception of his music.
Looking towards the future, the goals that Quails has are ever-changing. There is no desire for fame and fortune, only the aspiration to continue making and releasing music. He feels that he is at the point in his life where “the size of the audience isn’t a determining factor to the validity of the art [he] create[s].” It is more greatly appealing to perform to a small crowd that is engaged rather than to a large crowd that shows little interest.
As of the moment, most of Quails shows have either been canceled or postponed until later in the year. To keep up with news about future performance dates and to show support, Quails can be found on Instagram and on Facebook, and his music can be heard on Bandcamp. Quails also recommend following Renew the Arts and Clubmen Recording Studio, two organizations that have helped Quails in starting his career.