AUSTIN, TX — A Christoval High grad has filmed and edited a seminal video production for singer and songwriter Nicolle Galyon.
Before you ask, ‘Who is Nicolle Galyon?’ Let me explain. Ms. Galyon, 38, has been writing hit songs since graduating from college in 2006 when she embarked on her music career. You probably have heard her work. She has written songs for Lady A, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, and many others. When finished counting, you’ll learn that Gaylon has penned nine #1 hits including ‘Automatic’ that was performed by Miranda Lambert. ‘Automatic’ and ‘Tequila’ performed by Dan + Shay were both awarded song of the year by the Academy of Country Music.
Her most recent project is different. Instead of writing for someone else, Gaylon created an autobiographical soundtrack that she performs herself. To piece together her life in song into a video production, she found Christoval High grad Hayden Hyde and tasked him and creative director Claire Schaper to put the soundtrack to motion. The core of the body of work is a series of separate music videos for each song. The finale of the video project, if you watch the videos in sequence, is a 37-minute visual representation of Gaylon’s record, “First Born” and it is engaging.
While Schaper provided artistic direction and Hyde shot and edited the footage, the video series is self-produced by Gaylon. That makes the finished project extremely real and personal.
The compilation showcases her struggles with family, adolescence, body image, and balancing career up until now. Each video is a song. The entire video series was introduced by Gaylon at the album launch party in July in her hometown where all were filmed, Sterling, Kansas. Gaylon opened her presentation at her launch party with, “How can I justify my life as a storyteller without ever having told my own?” With that, the show begins with the title track, “Winner,” offering the audience a glimpse of Gaylon’s lifelong efforts to always win. But almost as soon as the song begins, winning becomes a warning to not overdo it. Or, put another way, now that she’s 38, she has mellowed. Of winning, she sings, “What good is being a winner when all you’re doing is keeping score?” In the video, Gaylon is framed playing a game of pickup basketball with her children. Underlying all of it is a teaching moment that winning isn't everything.
In the song "Sunflower," Gaylon laments about her awkwardness growing up where she “owned three pairs of high heels she never wore” because she was taller than her peers. The video was filmed in a Kansas wheat field with Gaylon wearing high heels, “sticking out like a sore thumb,” while climbing on a step ladder. This video is pending release.
At her release party, Gaylon gave each of the songs detailed introductions; some of the songs did not need many words. For example, the song about meeting and falling in love with her husband, titled, “Consequences,” is introduced with simply, “I was 20 and he was not.”
The soft focus of all of the videos invites the viewer to have a great deal of sympathy (though, men will need to have empathy for some of the subjects), while the messages in some of the lyrics could be in a fight song for any modern woman. For examples, don't fuss about the makeup in "Self Care"; boys get breaks where girls can't in her song "Boy Crazy" where she flips the meaning of the title; and "Tendencies" explores why she sometimes falls to temptation. She blames her parents and hopes she isn't passing those "tendencies" down to her children.
The strength of the videography is how well it matches Gaylon’s personality as she traverses some uncomfortably personal subjects. Home videos are incorporated to expand the stories and done so in a way that doesn’t distract from the here and now. Many will relate to the struggles described in the songs and by the time one finishes watching the series, you’ll know Gaylon like she was your sister.
Hyde said it took about a month of sleepless nights to put the project together after a few days of filming on location.
Hyde is a partner in Ocotillo Films located on Austin’s 6th Street. While working on his degree at Texas A&M in College Station, Hyde dabbled with sports journalism as a call screener for the TexAgs radio show, a big part of a media company that produces content primarily for Aggie sports fans. His junior year, he went to work as a videographer for Texas A&M Athletics’ 12th Man Productions during the final two years of head football coach Kevin Sumlin’s tenure. After graduation, Hyde teamed up with fellow Aggie Garrett Robertson to found Ocotillo Films. Their client list is impressive and includes H.E. Butt Foundation, UnderArmor, Samsung, USAA, Desert Door Sotol, Shiner Beer, and the Houston Texans.
Claire Schaper is a graduate of the University of Texas. In addition to Gaylon's album, she was the creative assistant for Texas music star Maren Morris' record, "Humble Quest." The creators met while working on their summer breaks at the H.E. Butt Foundation Camp, or Laity Lodge, in Leakey.
Hayden Hyde is a 2014 grad of Christoval High School and 2018 graduate of Texas A&M. He is the son of the founder of San Angelo LIVE!, Joe Hyde.
Ocotillo Films was previously showcased here when the filmmakers produced a biographical sketch on video about “Emilio” who provided a drop-off and pickup service for sportsmen kayaking the 54-mile trek down the Pecos River from Pandale to past the High Bridge at the confluence of the Pecos and Rio Grande. That piece was underwritten by Chisos Boot Co.