Essentially Pop Meets: Grace Gaustad

Grace Gaustad is still only 18 years old, but has been making waves in Los Angeles in recent months, since she covered Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church‘. Recognised for her deep vocals, Grace has been working with Lady Gaga’s singing coach since she before she entered her teenage years. Grace has quite the profile on social media, with just under 500K followers on Instagram, as well as 80K+ on Facebook, and 73K+ subscribers on YouTube. While in Los Angeles recently, Lisa asked Grace a few quick questions about her life, music, and inspirations.

What’s the Grace Gaustad story?

I think the Grace Gaustad story really begins with a very young girl fascinated with the world around her. I was drawn to music as far back as my memory can go and vividly remember sitting on my moms lap, following her hands as she played piano. I began lessons at age 5 and  my world opened up when I explored the possibility of writing my own music. I fell in love with pop music icons, specifically Lady Gaga. I remember the first time I saw the ‘Bad Romance’ video and from that day forward I knew what I wanted to do with my life. As an only child who didn’t have many friends in school and spent most of my life with a tremendous amount of social anxiety; music was my safe haven. It was and still is my place to go when I don’t want to be alone. It’s my love story.

Biggest inspirations – in life? In music?

I think my biggest inspiration in my life is my mom. She pushes me while at the same time supports all of my decisions and is single handily my greatest mentor and advisor when I find myself in any sort of problem. However, in music, my all time favorite artist and biggest inspiration is Lady Gaga but I am a huge fan of Rihanna, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, and Taylor Swift to name a few.

Tell us a bit about your music.

I think my music very much falls into a pop/alternative genre. Something that is incredibly important to me is writing a song that tells a story. In all of my music, there are intertwining stories of my life, my experiences, and also my observations of the outside world. I’m often asked if two or more artists had a baby and I was that child who would those artists be. Based on the sound, genre, and concepts I choose to tackle with my music I think that I fall somewhere between Gaga’s infectious melodies and Taylor Swift’s songwriting ability.

What’s been your most memorable experience in your musical career thus far?  

The most memorable experience in my musical career so far was playing my first headlining show at the Whisky-A-Go-Go on Sunset. It was amazing to be on stage singing my own music from my own EP. I hope that I get to perform for the rest of my life.

What is your take on the current state of the music industry?

I think the music industry is in a state of chaos at the moment because all of a sudden we have social media breaking artists in a way we’ve never seen before and we have genres being created we never knew existed.

However, despite the chaos I love that anyone can release music if they want to. Although, that does make it much more difficult for artists to break through because the marketplace is currently flooded and there is no way to separate or sort through the amount of content currently available.

Nonetheless, I do believe that the best material always finds its way to the top somehow. On a more positive note, aside from the unfair pay from major streaming services, it does feel like some power is being returned to the artists because anyone can independently share their art.

What artists, apart from yourself, should we be listening to? Who’s the most played artist on your playlist right now?

Recently, I have been loving Lizzo. Having an artist with such a positive outlook on herself and the world is incredibly refreshing to see. I also listen to a lot of Frank Ocean. I think he is an absolute musical/lyrical genius. His album ‘Blond’ is one of my favourite albums of all time. The track ‘White Ferrari’ is a masterpiece.

If you could go back and talk to your younger self what would you say? What advice would you give yourself (or other young artists who are just starting out) What’s the best career advice you’ve been given and what’s the worst?

I think if I could tell my younger self anything it would be that one day you will wake up with a genuine self love for yourself even though it might take awhile to get there. I spent so long fighting who I am, and trying to change myself to who I thought others wanted me to be and Im finally in a place where I’ve made peace with who I am. To any young person or young artist I would say the same thing. I promise that one day you will wake up and all the hurt will be gone. All of the unkind words said and experiences had will turn into very distant memories. Love starts with yourself. As far as career advice goes, the best advice I have been given is that the only guarantee for failure is stopping. If you don’t stop, the chance for success always remains.

What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview but nobody ever does?

I saw this question on the internet a few weeks ago and it went as follows “If this was the last day of your life, would you still do the same things you did today?” I was so relieved when I realized my answer is Yes. Everyday I wake up and work on music and there is nothing else in this world I would rather do. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to do what I love for the rest of my life.

You can find Grace Gaustad online on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Stream her music on Spotify.

Watch the video for Grace Gaustad’s most recent release, ‘Famous’, featuring Lito:

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com

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