What’s that, you haven’t heard of Grayce (@graycemusic) before? Blasphemy! I have been sharing her music since May of last year (lately with her Coffee Cup Covers video series). But, just in case you are new to the name, let me give you some of the 411.
Grayce is a pop-soul singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, by way of London, Japan, and Hong Kong. Whoa, what? Yeah, she’s a worldly girl, with a voice that is out-of-this-world beautiful. Rich and soulful, combined with a cool, pop flare, making her music fun and easy to like. Her vocal versatility finds her effortlessly switching between deep and gentle tones; From upbeat, catchy anthems to emotional ballads, this girl can do no wrong. And that’s why I had to snag a Q&A chat with her. Keep reading for my interview with Grayce!
Tiffology: Hello, Grayce! Introduce yourself to our readers.
Grayce: Hey everyone! First of all, we are already going to be friends, because you are checking out CrayonBeats, which automatically makes me like you. Second of all, my name is Grayce. Iâ€™m a pop-soul artist out here in LA. I love soulful melodies, dark twists in lyrics and connecting with any audience that I have the opportunity to be in front of. Although, I should note that Iâ€™m not originally from LA. Itâ€™s a long story, but my entire family is from Scotland and Ireland. I was born in London, then moved to Japan where I lived for six years, and then later Hong Kong where I lived for eight years, until moving out to Los Angeles to pursue music.
Now tell me something about you, that many people might not know (habit, quirk, hobby, special talent, obsessions, etc).
Is this confession time? I donâ€™t know that Iâ€™m prepared for this! Number one vice, obsession, habit… chocolate. I know everyone says â€œI have a sweet toothâ€ but let me tell you, that is nothing compared to how much I adore chocolate!
Born in London, but grew up in Japan and Hong Kong? Can you tell me about your upbringing; like, what childhood was like for you in these places? How do you think they shaped you as a person and/or singer, versus if you had grown up in America?
For me, it was all Iâ€™ve ever known. I moved to Japan when I was four years old, so I didnâ€™t know any different. I had nothing to compare it to! Looking back on it, I feel it made me into a very open-minded person. Both Japan and Hong Kong are these magical and beautiful places that make you feel creative and alive. I was also fortunate that the schools I went to (ISSH and HKIS) encouraged all their students to use initiative and to be your own person. With all that being said, if it werenâ€™t for my family, I wouldnâ€™t have even tried to pursue music or be the person I am today. Whether I lived in America or Asia, it wouldâ€™ve been the same, because my family have always been the motivator in my life to be a good person and have no regrets in this life.
When and why did you make the move to Los Angeles, California?
I moved to Los Angeles about four years ago and attended Musicians Institute. I always wanted to go to a music college, but the major factor in moving to Los Angeles? My sister. I am extremely close to her and if I had moved anywhere else, I would have no family around me during this big life change. I quickly realized I had fallen in love with California and I wanted to stay.
When did your interest for music come along? And, when did you begin to take it seriously?
My interest in music came about when I lived in Japan. Whether it was a classmateâ€™s birthday or just a regular Monday night, we would always go to Karaoke. My Dad would go up and sing, â€œMy Wayâ€ or â€œNew York, New Yorkâ€ by Frank Sinatra, and I just saw this light in his eyes. It was this happiness and release that drove me to try it out. When we moved to Hong Kong, my Mum got me singing lessons, and, from that day forward, I sang every single Saturday for eight years. It went from a passion to something I couldnâ€™t live without.
Can you describe the first time you performed in front of a crowd?
Do I have to? Letâ€™s just say Iâ€™ve seen the videos. Letâ€™s also say my parents were way to encouraging and supportive to tell me the truth.
The Golden Girl EP dropped early last year, in February, and I came across it in May. Before we dig into the tracks themselves, I want to talk to you about NoiseTrade. I discovered your music through that website, and upon listening to the EP, I became an immediate fan, and had to let our readers know about your talent. From a fan perspective, NoiseTrade is one of those new places (new for me) that I go to “dig” for music that I’m not familiar with (yet). I greatly enjoy browsing through music and randomly stumbling upon something great, refreshing, and that connects with me in some way. You know, skipping past the written biographies and press releases, and just letting the music speak for itself. That exciting spark that I feel when I become a fan. From an artist perspective, what is it like for you to work with platforms like NoiseTrade (or Bandcamp, should you choose the free option), where you are offering your music for free / “name your own price”? What kind of value and/or positive experience do you gain from that?
I completely agree with that beautiful description you just gave. It has become so rare we go through the entire album and listen. If it werenâ€™t for NoiseTrade, I wouldnâ€™t be answering these questions right now, so, for that, Iâ€™m extremely grateful. Itâ€™s not about the money. If it were, I wouldâ€™ve quit the minute I got to Los Angeles. Platforms like Spotify, Bandcamp and NoiseTrade give me the opportunity to show music to potential fans that wouldâ€™ve never heard of me before! That gift is truly priceless.
“I Love You… But” is the lead single, and it’s the first song that I heard from you. It’s a great, upbeat stomper that’s tailored for those moments in life–not just love–when you go through a relationship, find yourself growing and moving light-speeds ahead of the other person, and realizing that you can’t let them drag you down, no matter how strong that bond is. I was captivated by your rich, powerful vocals on this song, the relatable storytelling, and the frustrated emotions that I could feel fueling the lyrics. What can you share about writing this song? Was this dedicated to one particular personal experience?
I wrote this song with my best friend and writing partner, Natania Lalwani. Sometimes these songs come out of personal experience, and other times you just feel itâ€™s a story that needs to be told. In this case, it was a little bit of both. Iâ€™ve had experiences with boys (note: not men) where Iâ€™m only staying because my feelings for them havenâ€™t disappeared. I think thatâ€™s a misconception about relationships. You are taught that when you donâ€™t have feelings, you leave. But the truth is those feelings will always be there. That pain, no matter how recovered you are, can sting and linger. This song was an anthem for that â€œin betweenâ€ feeling that I think is very relatable.
“Downfall” is a piano-lead, pop ballad that shows a softer, vulnerable side to you. We hear you singing from a broken place, about being pulled into someone else’s downward spiral and, in turn, losing yourself. I love the progression of the song, which starts tenderly and solely with a piano, but slowly builds with more instruments, more powerful vocals, and a sense of self-reliance. What was the creative process of this song like, from writing to recording? Would you say writing/singing sad songs serves as a therapeutic experience?
This song is raw. When it came to recording it, we did the same. I believe it was one of the first days in the studio with Cameron Lister (who produced The Golden Girl EP) and Travis Ference (who engineered The Golden Girl EP). We had recorded the band earlier that day, and I just went into the vocal booth and sang it all the way through. Every time I sing, â€œIâ€™m just a pawn in your game; I gave you my best but you put me to shame,â€ I tear up. This was the same in the writing session. The song began with Natania Lalwani and myself. Then, we decided it needed something else, but we couldnâ€™t put our finger on it. That was when Anika Paris joined the process. We delved into every single emotion, and if it werenâ€™t for her participating in this, it wouldnâ€™t be the same song. This was all about the music industry and how defeated I felt at the time. I would most certainly say writing this type of music is therapeutic and over time you find different meanings for your songs.
Do you feel more creatively inspired when you’re sad, or writing about sad moments? Or, does it just depend on the circumstances around you? That said, what kind of things inspired this EP?
I feel creatively inspired when I am telling a story that I feel someone can relate to. Giving voice to other peopleâ€™s stories gives me a drive like no other. This EP was fully inspired by the music industry and past loves. When youâ€™re a songwriter, it helps to have some unhealed wounds to mentally get you in that place to write about it.
“Pull The Trigger” is a fun, confident track that shifts between being mellow in the verses to defiant in the choruses. I really love that juxtaposition in this song. When I heard this song (over and over), I grasped that it was your way of adding social commentary about abusive relationships, and finding the strength be your own woman and walking away with your head held high. Is that what you were getting at? What does this song represent for you?
Thank you for saying that. It means a lot to hear that you are taking that from this song. This song is about a verbally abusive relationship I was in. I was constantly being put down and I reached a point where I knew I had to leave. This song represents finding that power to get out.
Tell me about the meaning behind lines: “You swing all the shots that I knew you would take // And I watch while you loaded your gun to aim at me // While I was going up, you were trying to take me down.“
This was about how self-conscious I was feeling over anything and everything I said or did. I knew what this particular person would say and what he would do before he did it. It was like I was constantly dodging any kind of confrontation or upset that could occur. This lyric is about walking on eggshells and feeling like I was being pulled down while I tried to grow.
Since the release of that EP, you’ve been performing at different venues and working on new projects. For example, your Coffee Cup Cover series. As you might’ve noticed, I’ve been sharing those here! Where did the title come from, and what made you want to turn it into a video series?
I have most certainly noticed that youâ€™ve been sharing the CoffeeCupCoverâ€™s and I canâ€™t thank you enough for that! It means the world! The title came from a branding meeting I had with Hey Yeh Blog and Just Feng. I wanted to have more content on my GrayceMusic1 Youtube channel, and I wanted it to be as cozy as if you walked into my home. Thatâ€™s when we began discussing the idea of holding a coffee cup in each video! From there, the name came to life!
Mark McKee often accompanies you on your covers. Who is he and how did you two come together for this?
Mark McKee is an outstanding producer, engineer and musician that I met through a fellow songwriter named Melody Michalski. She introduced both of us and felt we would work well together. Since meeting him, we have collaborated for live shows, recording sessions, and are planning to write in the near future. I feel very fortunate to have Mark in this journey with me, and Iâ€™m very thankful that such a talented person wants to work with me!
How do you go about choosing songs that you want to cover? Do you pick them yourself, or do you take input from those around you and/or your fans?
When it comes to choosing the covers, it varies! For my CoffeeCupCover of â€œRiptideâ€ by Vance Joy, my @GrayceMusic Instagram followers picked it. I posted 15 second videos of three different covers and that was the one with the most likes. Then there are covers I choose, because they are my favorites, such as â€œLet it Beâ€ by Labrinth. First and foremost, I listen to the fans. If they bring up an idea through my Facebook pag,e or by commenting on my YouTube, or even after a show, I take note.
Is there a song that you want to cover, by a particular artist, but you’re nervous to?
I think my most recent cover I was quite nervous to do! Itâ€™s the latest Selena Gomez song, â€œThe Heart Wants What It Wants.â€ Itâ€™s a very popular song in the US right now, and I wanted to do it justice. I collaborated with Dylan Dunlap on this track, and the hope was that by adding harmonies and making it acoustic, the song would still have just as much strength as the produced track.
What has been your favorite song to cover so far, and why? What’s the next one we can look for?
I think I would say â€œDonâ€™tâ€ by Ed Sheeran, was my favorite song to cover, because it was a ton of fun to film! This was all thanks to Black Deer Pictures who came up with the concept and I Shoot Your Face Photography who shot it. Itâ€™s such a cheeky song, and to have Dead Man Jim freestyle on it was something different that Iâ€™ve never done before. The next cover that Iâ€™m going to post is â€œBest Mistakeâ€ by Ariana Grande or â€œFourFiveSecondsâ€ by Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney.
Speaking of Coffee, how do you like yours?
Musically speaking, who are you listening to lately?
I canâ€™t stop listening to Sam Smith, Hozier, and Megan Trainor! Their new albums are incredible.
What’s a great piece of advice someone once gave you, that you’d like to pass on?
A piece of advice Iâ€™ve never forgotten, is when my friend quoted Theodore Roosevelt, when he said, â€œComparison is the thief of Joy.â€ Social media is constantly reminding us what our peers are accomplishing and when you compare yourself, it can be highly discouraging. Iâ€™ve found itâ€™s important to remind myself that we are all on our own journeys in this life.
Are you working on any new material? What can we look forward to this year?
Yes, I am working on new material. My entire set list is full of original music that has yet to be recorded. The new year will bring more videos, produced music, and shows! I canâ€™t wait to share it with all of you!
Finally, any last words? Shout outs?
Shout out to YOU! CrayonBeats! I canâ€™t thank you enough for your support and for interviewing me!
We usually like to ask people random questions, that don’t really pertain to music, or whatever their craft is. With that said… What is your favorite comfort meal and drink?
Macaroni & Cheese and Ginger Tea!?!? That sounds quite disgusting together.
Do you have any guilty pleasure television shows that you watch?
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Real Housewives of Atlanta, Real Housewives of Orange County. I can sense you judging me…donâ€™t knock it till you try it.
If there were a class that you could teach (anything), what would it be?
English. I love thesis driven essays, any form of book analysis and creative writing. I would love to get others excited about writing and reading!
What are 3 recent movies that you’ve watched that you really enjoyed? What about hated?
Iâ€™ve really enjoyed Boyhood, Gone Girl and Psycho! As far as hated? I give credit to anyone who can put in the effort it takes to make art and share it with the world. So no hate here!
What are 3-5 important items that you must carry with you, wherever you go?
1. Notebook for lyric ideas 2. Way too many pens 3. My phone for recording voice memos (and to keep up with my Instagram addiction) 4. Red lipstick because you never know!
What’s one childhood memory that you will hold onto forever?
There are so many I want to hold on to! I hope I never forget them. I would say, being in the living room, in my own little world, playing with my toys. It was a time in my life where I had no worries and if I did they were quickly replaced with my imagination and creativity running wild in these little stories I had created.
Donuts or bagels and cream cheese? Whichever you pick, what type is your favorite?
DONUTS. There is this place called, â€œThe Donut Hutâ€ near where I live. Letâ€™s just say it should be called, â€œHeaven.â€ I love the classic glazed donuts!
[divider]THE GOLDEN GIRL EP[/divider]