Grace Gaustad curates lyrics and melodies that portray a far greater understanding of the world than your average 18-year-old. The Los Angeles based singer-songwriter went viral when she published her unique cover of Hozier’s spiritual single ‘Take Me To Church’, but now it’s her original music that’s keeping her listeners hooked.
Singing and writing her own music from an early age, Grace has composed over 1,000 songs – all inherently human at their core. She released her first full-length album last autumn, comprising seven tracks written at the age of 17, and title track ‘Human’ two years earlier. Using music as a rich form of communication, Grace is able to express a message of love and hope amongst the chaos.
FMS caught up with Grace to find out what’s inspiring her right now, and get the story behind her latest single, ‘Louder’, her move to Los Angeles and debut album, Human.
“The concept behind Human was the eight key emotions I feel we as human beings go through repeatedly in our lives…”
You released your debut album, Human, last August; what was the concept behind this?
“The concept behind Human was the eight key emotions I feel we as human beings go through repeatedly in our lives including love, rejection, hate, grief etc. Each song represents something different and holds a completely different tone and message.”
What’s the story behind your latest single, ‘Louder’?
“I consider myself a storyteller and the ‘Louder’ “story” is all about making a horrible mistake with someone you love and feeling incredibly guilty about it. For me, whenever I feel guilty about anything there is this silence that I feel lingers in my own head and even though it’s quiet it feels incredibly loud at the same time.”
Your cover of Hozier’s ‘Take Me To The Church’ went viral, but what’s been your favourite song, and/or artist, to cover so far and why?
“This is super tough because I love so many different musicians and songs but I’d say the two people I love covering most are probably Lady Gaga because she’s my favourite artist, and Rihanna because all her songs are so melodic. I can’t pick a favourite Gaga song, but ‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna is definitely one of the best by her. I recently posted a cover just singing it in my bedroom.”
“‘Louder’ is all about making a horrible mistake with someone you love and feeling incredibly guilty about it…”
What inspired your move to Los Angeles, and what impact has this had on your career?
“Los Angeles has been so critical to me as an artist. The truth is, the music business, at least in the ‘pop’ sector, exists in Los Angeles, and as a young artist working primarily in that genre there is no better place for me to be. I have so many different opportunities with other writers, producers and musicians to work and collaborate. It’s opened me up to a whole new world of creativity.”
How do you find working with vocal coach, Don Lawrence (Lady Gaga, Mick Jagger), and what impact has this had on your music?
“Don is one of the best coaches and most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. He is tough but he is worth it. He’s been like a second Dad to me and is always in my corner cheering me on. He’s taught me how to sing correctly without injuring my voice and nothing is more important than that.”
Who else do you work with and what do they bring to the table?
“The truth is, this list is so long, but someone I’ve always wanted to work with is Taylor Swift. I think she is one of the best contemporary pop writers ever and obviously one of the most successful acts of all time. I recently watched her documentary called Miss Americana and for me it shed a whole new light on just how hard she works and that’s something I admire so much.”
Which bands/artists are inspiring you right now?
“Recently I’ve been loving Chelsea Cutler, Marc E Bassy, and Lana Del Ray. These aren’t artists I’ve listened to a ton in the past, but I’ve discovered a lot of their work this year and I am in love!”
“Be vulnerable. One thing I’ve noticed all major acts have in common is the ability to connect with their fans on a very personal level…”
Any tips for other young artists who are trying to cut through the noise and get heard?
“Be vulnerable. One thing I’ve noticed all major acts have in common is the ability to connect with their fans on a very personal level because they feel they have gone through the same experiences. The odds there are millions of people going through the same thing are very high.”
Which have been your stand-out live shows so far, and any plans to play in the UK?
“I’ve played a ton of dates in Los Angeles the past few months. I personally really loved ‘The Whisky A-Go-go’ and ‘The Sayers Club’. They are classic venues and had such a great vibe to them. I’m hoping I’m able to get to the UK by next year at the latest and play some dates. I’ve always wanted to visit!”
What’s next for Grace Gaustad?
“I’ve been working tirelessly for the last few months on my debut album. Human was just the first taste of me releasing my own music. This new album is taking everything in new heights and directions and I just finished writing all the songs for it so hopefully it comes out sometime later this year.”
Human is out now. Listen via Spotify below.