FOCUS: Grayce

Swirling wisps of hushed, breathy vocals amidst a haze of guitars, Nottingham newcomer Grayce mixes up an enthralling potion of acoustic melodies from her bedroom on her debut October EP. Ahead of the release of her upcoming album, Buried Melodies, Hattie Kilner delves into what lies at the heart at this dreamy blend with the upcoming singer herself, finding her inspiration stemming from the everyday world emerging in the evenings.

The city of Nottingham has always had an insatiable desire to inspire new local music and, in spite of a year firmly in the grasp of a pandemic, ever-changing lockdown rules and a mildly concerning abundance of homemade banana bread, it seems to be showing no signs of slowing down. Amidst the bedlam, onto the scene steps Grayce, a new Nottingham-based artist ready to take over the local scene with her dreamy brand of bedroom-pop. If you’re after bucketloads of creative inspiration and the talent to match, Grayce is your girl.

It does seem that the singer has truly grasped a year of solitude like no other by its metaphorical horns. Not deterred by the magnitude of entering the music world as a new artist in a disconcertingly remote industry, Grayce hit the 2020 music scene in full swing, fast-tracking most of her new music into her debut EP, The Bedroom. Through lockdown I was having a lot of emotions so I thought, might as well write them down, she muses, although admitting that most of her time away from writing songs has been spent just eating and singing, really. An understandable yet challenging past time for a singer-songwriter who works mostly from life experience. In spite of the challenges she’s faced, Grayce seems to have powered on with confidence and gusto: I just made most of [my songs] on my laptop in my bedroom while I was bored. There’s not really a lot you can do in lockdown so I thought, why not?

While it’s evident that lock down has unlocked a plethora of issues within the music industry, The Bedroom is a sparkling example of the major influence it has had on innovative new artists. Singer-songwriters have finally been given the time, and a platform, to make their mellifluous ideas into real music. The EP is short, offering listeners only four songs, but still manages to generate a sound ranging from really, really depressing to really upbeat.

The Bedroom follows the release of the singer’s new single (and self-proclaimed favourite of all of her songs), Memory Loss. The track is an emotional lyrical discovery of the potential for loneliness when confronted with the stark truth of day-to-day existence, even as life seems to continue as normal around you a topic evidently close to home for the singer. Grayce is completely open with her writing process, mentioning how quickly she was able to produce the song as it was really meaningful for her. Indeed, one thing that’s consistently prevalent as Grayce discusses her creative plans is that her music is made to be a window into true life. Her songs explore the grittiness of experience within its gentle, airy beats. I write down loads of ideas from everything that’s happened to me in life... Grayce quips, they usually come to me just before I go to sleep!

‘Despite being an undoubtedly fresh face on the scene, Grayce seems to have a talent for introspection that defies her years.’

When discussing her upbringing, Grayce is quick to explain the sheer range of music that has been with her throughout her life. From the concerts she used to go to when she was younger (Justin Bieber being a highlight, undoubtedly), to her parents playing her tracks by the incredible music legend Stevie Wonder, she mentions that each song she listens to blends into one when I make my own music. This means that all the songs that I’m making are completely different from each other. Though she is definitely inspired by Kehlani and Mac Miller, Grayce seems keen to avoid defining her sound too early on. Instead, she trusts herself to make the right kind of music for how she feels at the time.

So, fast forward a couple of years. What’s in the pipeline for such a promising young artist? The dream is to perform, of course. It’s just a hard scene to break into… Maybe I should be turning to TikTok to get a viral song!, she laughs. Having already performed at classic local venue, the Bodega, Grayce is sure to continue sharing her relatable pop with the crowds of Nottingham. While it’s so hard to talk about future plans with COVID, she mentions that she’d really like to do more gigs and then hopefully progress to make a bigger album. Musing further about her ideas for the future, she mentions the possibility of collaborating for a post-lockdown show. I’d love to do a Nottingham artists gig There’s so much talent here!

Despite being an undoubtedly fresh face on the scene, Grayce seems to have a talent for introspection that defies her years. She young, talented, and hungry to improve. She’s definitely one to watch out for on the Nottingham gig scene once we escape from the clutches of lockdown life.

Written by: Hattie Kilner

Edited by: Louise Dugan

Featured and article images courtesy of Grayce via Facebook.