Grace Graber is an amazing new independent artist who has an incredible sound and an even more incredible story. I connected with Grace on Instagram in the summer. I've enjoyed getting to know her, as well as the heart behind her music.
Grace and I are similar: the same name and a pastor's kid. I guess it was meant to be that I interview her and hear her story. I talked to Grace about her latest single, "Darkness," her upcoming EP, and more (fun fact: Grace is part of NRT's October Indie Artist Watch campaign).
Tell us your story. How did you get started in music?
I started writing music after middle school. In middle school, I was bullied. I'm a pastor's kid, so I was bullied for loving Jesus. It got to the point where I had to be taken out of the school district and homeschooled. It was too violent for me to go to public school.
While I was being homeschooled, I was suicidal. But, then a song saved my life. Right before I was about to go take my own life, God put a song in my heart: "Take Me" by Hawk Nelson. From there, I became so curious about music. I started learning how to play guitar to alternative Christian songs. And, I started learning how to sing.
Soon, I was writing my own songs. This presented opportunities to open for local bands. I was also leading worship at my church and for many other churches in my area. I got my start in music, all because a song saved my life.
You just released a new single called "Darkness." What's the story behind that song?
"Darkness" is about the internal struggle of keeping something a secret and in the dark. It's about the importance of bringing these dark secrets into the light. I wrote this song from the perspective of someone holding onto something, and what things they would be saying to themselves. What kind of questions they would have, and what kind of reassurance they would need.
The song's lyrics say, "It's okay, you're really normal." I think that it's really important that we remember that holding onto stuff, and darkness in general, is a normal thing that everyone goes through at different capacities. This song is bringing awareness to the fact that we all struggle with some kind of darkness.
I wrote "Darkness" last year before going to a songwriting competition in Nashville, Tennessee. Before I went, I had a friend who reached out to me and offered to make me a nice, clean mixed master demo of the song. I put my demo on SoundCloud.
When I arrived in Nashville, I remembered an artist who I grew up admiring. I watched him go from making demos in his bedroom to touring with many different artists. I watched this all happen on social media. When I was in Nashville, I thought to myself, "If I could meet anyone, I'd love to meet that person." That person was Grant Woell.
He agreed to meet me for coffee. We had a great conversation. It was really good to hear his story and get to know him. We walked away from that meeting like, "Okay, nice to meet you." And, I thought that would be the end of it. But, later in the day, he reached out to me and told me he heard "Darkness." And, that he believed in the song. He told me, "I want to be on your team."
Many people believe in this song. It's been so cool to watch my song go from just being mine to others putting their spin on it. I love that they believe in it just as much as I do.
You recently released the music video for "Darkness." What was it like filming that? Also, what's the inspiration behind the video itself?
Filming the music video was cool. Grant and his friend, Brian, flew to see me in Oregon and film it. They filmed the video at my best friend's house. It was fun coming up with the idea of how we can visually portray darkness.
The idea for the music video came after recording the vocals for the song. In the middle of the night after a vocal day, I woke up and had this idea of me walking through my best friend's house with a shadow following me. I would be surrounded by my friends, pretending the shadow didn't exist.
Then, near the end of the music video, I would be running through the forest, with the shadow chasing me. Also, in the end, I would hold up a black jacket as an illustration that the darkness has always been me. It's not something following me, it's something that I was holding on to.
What other projects are you currently working on?
"Darkness" is the first single from a four-song EP called In My Head. The next song from this project drops in November, which is about playing hide and seek with God. We'll drop another song in December, which is about asking God to reveal His heart.
The EP's last song is one of my favorites. It's a tribute to all bands who've poured into me when I was going through a hard season. After "Take Me" by Hawk Nelson saved my life, I listened to a lot of alternative Christian rock bands. And, as I mentioned before, they are the reason why I started writing music.
I wanted to give back everything they gave me. So, I wrote "I Miss The Old Days." This song has a different vibe than my other tracks. It's kind of like an EDM (electronic dance music) song. And, I'm pretty excited about that. Altogether, these songs are thoughts in my head. Thoughts that go along with spirituality and God. Thoughts of being human and missing the old days.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Number one, I love Hawk Nelson. They've inspired me from the beginning. I also love Sarah Reeves. She's great. Also, Britt Nicole has inspired me since I was young. Some of those pop vibes that are in my music, especially "Darkness," comes from her music.
What should people know about Grace Graber? What's one fun fact about you?
I'm an esthetician, and I know a lot about skin. I do skincare and beauty all day. That's my day job: doing facials and makeup. I believe in the idea of self-care. So, I feel very honored to be part of people's lives when it comes to their skin.
Finally, how can we be praying for you?
Pray for what's next, and that God will use me. That's all I want out of this. I pursued this project because I know other bands and other artists have pursued music for the fan like me. Pray that God uses my music in the lives of others like He's used Hawk Nelson's music in my life. I pray that "Darkness" blesses someone, and that it brings someone out of the darkness and into the light.
Grace Chaves is a fan of all things Christian music. She is one of NRT's youngest writers. Homeschooled, Grace loves concerts, Jesus, and songwriting.
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