Posted On 03 Aug 2016
Meet soul singer, songwriter Grace Weber. She was recently heard on Chance the Rapper’s new mixtape “Coloring Book” alongside Kanye West.
Grace teamed up with Chance through producers Donnie Trumpet (a.k.a. Nico Segal) and Nate Fox, who she is currently in the studio with recording her new album with. Her album will be out in early 2017.
Learn more about Grace in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! How’s 2016 treating you so far? How’s your summer been going? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you?
2016 has been an amazing year of intense energy, exploration, and growth for me personally. I think as a country and a world we will also look back on 2016 as a year of intense change and awakening, and hopefully a year where hearts and minds and eyes softened and opened. I know my eyes have opened artistically this year to the possibilities of recorded music, my heart has opened again to the joy of being in the studio, and I’ve grown as a singer and an artist in ways that I’m really proud of. I owe a lot of that to working with my new label, Big Mouth Records, and to my producers Nico Segal, Nate Fox, and Peter Cottontale.
2015 had a lot of highlights too, including singing the National Anthem at the NFL Giants vs. 49ers game, selling out Webster Hall, and meeting new band members who have become some of my best friends. They bring out the best in me. I am super grateful for 2015 and really excited about what’s in store for the rest of 2016.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I always wanted to be a singer! I remember the first time I sang on a stage. I was seven years old and it was the school talent show. I sang “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion and I’ll never forget it for two reasons. One is because my teacher came up to me crying afterwards and she told me that my voice had moved her. It was the first time I learned about the power of music and that my voice could maybe touch people or help them in some way. And two, because I peed in my pants on stage. But no-one knew it happened (secret revealed!), so it didn’t leave me tooooo scarred, definitely not enough to keep me off the stage ;).
I also have warm early memories of singing with my Grandpa around his piano during Christmas. I have a lot of cousins, close to 25 on each side, and my cousins and I used to sing and perform and make little plays every year, with my Grandpa or one of my uncles sitting at the piano bench. It was my biggest joy as a little kid. My Grandpa also played organ and accordion; accordion was actually his main instrument. I am getting a tattoo of an accordion in honor of my Grandpa, on my ribs as a reminder of him and to breathe, air in and out just like the way an accordion makes sound.
How’s it going in the studio working on your new album? How close are you to being finished with it? Can you describe what that experience has been like for you?
I’ve never had more fun in the studio in my life. The past few months have been inspiring and insanely creative. I’ve been writing the entire album from start to finish with Nico (Donnie Trumpet) Segal, Nate Fox, Peter Cottontale, and Francis Starlite, and I’m beyond excited about the music we’re making. Nate and Nico have a vision of their studio being a space where artists are invited to remember what it is that made them fall in love with music in the first place. Nate wants artists to almost feel like kids again when they step into his space, making music because they just love it with every fiber of their being. No fear or stress about doing something “right,” just discovering sounds and being free to explore who you are as an artist. The only “right” thing you can do is be creative. It’s a beautiful thing when you can go into making art with a sense of curiosity and excitement and fun, even if you’re making something sad or angry or aggressive, when you can go into the process with your eyes and heart open to possibilities I think you have the opportunity to find things you never even knew were possible. To be able to explore what a moment, an emotion, and a song might call for, to have the space and the time, the freedom and curiosity to discover something powerful, that’s a huge gift to get as an artist. And hopefully that gift results in something worth sharing with the world.
What was it like working with Chance The Rapper on his new mixtape, “Coloring Book”? I understand that Kanye West is on it too. Did you get the chance to work with him as well?
Speaking of gifts, getting to work with and witness Chance finishing his mixtape in March and April, was a big one. I met Chance in March when he walked into the studio one day while we were working on a song for my new album. Chance heard the song Nate, Nico, and I were making and ultimately asked if he could have it as the first song on Coloring Book. A few weeks later, I got to witness Chance and Peter and the rest of Chance’s team in the process of finishing the album in Chicago right before it came out. It was inspiring to witness a group of people putting their entire hearts and souls into art with so much love and maintaining this beautiful chill, but still intense, energy throughout it. I’m blessed to be a part of such an amazing mixtape. I love Chance’s music and his mission. I did not get to work with Kanye this time around, but, #goals.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
I have a lot of favorite artists, (sorry this is gonna be a big list). Right now I’m really into Sza, Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar, Francis and the Lights, Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, Chance the Rapper, Kehlani, Cory Henry, Kanye, Beyonce, Emily King, Cynthia Erivo, Margaret Glaspy, Jaime Woods, and Haitus Kaiyote. I’ve always been a big fan of Bon Iver, Joni Mitchell, Whitney Houston, Eva Cassidy, Donnie McClurkin, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, Angie Stone, and more. I’d love to work with literally everybody on the above list.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
The message of my music, through my own personal struggles and joys, is that all of us on this planet are raw human beings with a big range of emotions, and it’s ok to feel those emotions and express them however you need to, including if you just want to feel them through my songs. I’m an emotional singer so I like to try and express the colorful and vibrant and deep aspects of our humanity. There is always a light and a shadow in everything, it’s what gives us form. We make mistakes, we all fall down sometimes, but just simply being aware and conscious and forgiving, pushing always for love despite our fears is the most beautiful thing you can be and do. I hope listeners are reminded they’re not alone in their suffering or joy, and that we all are really in this whole thing together. Life can be hard and I think the most important thing we can do for each other is have empathy, to hold out a hand for each other, and to find a way, through our ups and down and through our light and darkness, to inspire each other. No matter who you are, what do you do, what you’ve accomplished, what mistakes you’ve made, we all deserve the desire to wake up in the morning and keep learning and growing. We all deserve to be seen and to feel understood.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I would really like Kid President to be our real president in 2040.