GRAE On Feeling Lost, Changing It Up & ‘New Girl’

She’s been writing music since the age of ten, and now Toronto pop artist GRAE has arrived.

She just released her debut EP New Girl, and clinched the 2019 SOCAN Foundation Award for Young Canadian Songwriters. GRAE has already amassed over 1.4 million streams in under a year while being played on various Spotify & Apple Music playlists. 

We asked her about New Girl this week.

What was happening in your personal life when you were writing NEW GIRL?

G: I had just graduated high school and was feeling pretty lost. My high school relationship ended, I found myself in some sucky situations with boys. I was processing a lot of emotion at the time and was trying really hard to find myself. I felt like I had lost control and was looking to gain that power back.

What’s your earliest memory of songwriting?

I was 10 years old. I wrote my first song called “I’m Standing Here Tonight” on the top bunk at an overnight camp. From that day forward I was writing songs, and I still have that songbook to this day!

What have you learned about yourself in the past year?

I’ve learned so much about myself, but the main thing being the dedication I have towards my art and standing up for what I truly believe in.

What is a fun, little-known fact about you?

I like to eat salad and pasta in the same bowl.

What have you connected with recently, and what about it appeals to you?

Honestly, just in general, Prince’s “Purple Rain” changed the game for me. I watched that movie on repeat for years and it motivated me so much to do what I’m doing now.

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?

“You should be making the same type of music as the people you’re inspired by.”

What is your motto at the moment?

Let it be what it is.

What do you hope listeners take away from your album?

I hope they feel less alone, inspired, powerful.

What are the qualities you like least and most about yourself?

I least like how emotionally involved I get with every little thing but I most like how I’m able to take that emotion and turn it into art.

Rewind five years. What advice would you give yourself?

Don’t take things too seriously, everything falls into place eventually.

What are you currently listening to in heavy rotation?

Diamond Cafe “The Way You Used To Love Me”
Dua Lipa “Don’t Start Now”
Clairo “Bags”
Shay Lia “Good Together”
MINOE “Cellphone”
Tame Impala “Patience”
The Cure “Just Like Heaven”

So many good songs!

What childhood memory makes you laugh out loud?

There’s a couple.

1. I used to put cookies in my overalls as a kid and make my dog chase me around. That one makes me laugh.

2. I had a fake squishy lizard that my parents bought me from the toy store, I put in a cage and convinced all my friends it was real for ages. They all fell for it.

What unnecessary object would you love to own?

Probably a head scratcher, I don’t know why.

What tip, technique or hack has made your life better in the past year?

A tip that’s made my life better: definitely my Dad drilling into my head to think and sit on decisions before I act. It’s saved me from a lot.

What issue do you wish people took more seriously?

Probably mental health and addiction issues, but I think society as a whole is getting better surrounding those topics.

Also anything to do with the environment, we need to each do our part to protect this earth.

What outfit makes you feel the most you?

Currently, Levi’s jeans, some kind of printed shirt, cheetah print jacket, Dr. Martens!

Who has surprised you lately, and how?

Probably myself, I’m not the same person I was a couple years ago and I’m surprised at how far I’ve come since creating the EP with KYAN. I’ve learnt a lot.

What changes would you like to see in Canada’s music scene?

I’d love to see more female producers/songwriters!

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