‘Rumor Mill’

HP graduate Gable Hea chases stardom, Dolly Parton in Nashville

Singer-songwriter Gable Hea often approaches the wall of one of Dolly Parton’s offices in Nashville, Tennessee, a plastic-bagged letter in hand. 

Hea will wave at the security camera and toss the letter over the wall. The next month, the same. 

“They’ve been picking them up,” Hea said with a laugh. “Hopefully, they’ve been reading them too.” 

Hea is determined not just to get her letters over the fence but also to achieve her dream of becoming a music artist. Determination, her music teacher, Cherry Hanes, saw when they first met.

“She came with her mother for an interview –– that’s what I do with all my students –– and she seemed to just have a little sparkle,” said Hanes, who has taught voice and piano in North Texas for three decades. Visit cherryhanes.com.

Hea faced trouble fitting in at Highland Park High School after moving from the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. 

She remembers how her teachers struggled to understand her unfamiliar Appalachian accent and put her in speech therapy. 

Hea initially didn’t want to get involved in country music. 

To her, all the popular country songs were “bro music,” boring, and weird, but her dad encouraged her to listen to the more classic artists. 

Then Hea discovered Dolly Parton, who became one of her biggest influences. 

“I’ve read a bunch of different books about her, and she really inspires me in so many ways,” she said. “And from what I know about her, we do have quite a few things in common. And she’s just been a huge influence through every step of my career.”

Hea’s first released song, the upbeat and sassy “Rumor Mill,” pokes fun at suburban gossip. 

“The inspiration for that song actually came from my own experiences living in HP and watching the way that people would talk to each other and about each other and just the way that rumors and gossip can get out of hand,” she said. 

Hanes, who walked with Hea through her music journey, compared the young artist to a chameleon able to master a variety of music genres. 

“I mean, you name it,” she said. “From – I would say – classical through country, all the different genres. Even worship music.” 

Hea writes music almost daily, enjoys playing live, performs often at farmers markets, and did some shows in Texas this summer. 

“At the end of the day, if it doesn’t work out, then I can move on with my life with the peace of knowing that I put everything that I could out there and did everything that I could to try and make my dream come true,” she said.

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