This article is the third in a series exploring the music industry from the perspectives of artists at various points in their career. Through candid conversations with recording artists, we ask the question of what it means to make it in the music industry. This week, we sat down with rising star Grace Mitchell.
BD- when did you start singing and recording music?
GM- I started singing and recording music for the first time when I was fifteen, I started coming down to LA frequently from Oregon and spending time in the studio in writing sessions, started conceptualizing what I wanted my sound to be, because it started out as all acoustic and then developed over time.
BD- Was it something that you always wanted to go into, music?
GM- Yeah I would say so, it has definitely always been a passion. Songwriting has been an interesting world because I started doing creative writing at a young age and it fluidly moved into songwriting really naturally.
BD- Obviously at 19 you’re very young, have you had a highlight of your career thus far?
GM- I think touring has been the highlight. Touring is incredible, totally different than what I expected. I knew it would be fun but I thought it was going to be really draining and exhausting. You get into this mode when you go on tour at least now in my career where you don’t really have to worry about anything else in the real operating world, and so you get to just have like a freaking blast. That’s what I love about it.
BD- Do you have any goals or milestones for the future?
GM- Directly right now I’m working on my second album, and finishing this first album. I’m going to New York really soon. I’m going to start working on the second album and conceptualizing that, so just the pursuit of art in my direct future is a big goal of mine.
BD- That’s a really quick turnaround working on your second album before the first one comes out you’ll have already started the production on the second one
GM- Ya I mean its all fluid, the first EP I was working on the second one, the second ep I was working on the album, the first album I’ve been working on the second album
BD- Now having worked and recorded for a few years now what are your perceptions of the music industry?
GM- It’s trippy. The music industry is really trippy. Its so awesome and so great and fantastic and there are so many people in the music industry that I am filled with love for because they are so passionate about art and music. There are people that will go to bat for me all the time and like, “Be weird, be unique”. There are also people that are like “Don’t be weird, don’t be unique” and those people suck really bad. And there is a lot of those people in the music industry, but luckily I don’t have to be around that many of those people because I have a really good team.
BD- Did you have any preconceptions about the music industry?
GM- No. No preconceptions about the music industry, but that being said its always cliché-ing itself all the time. So I like went into it not knowing anything about the music industry and then something would happen and I was like, “Oh that obviously is a music industry thing”
BD- Anything in particular that stood out?
GM- Kind of the way that people talk about top 50 pop music is so funny, its just comically cliché. Everything about pop music industry is like a caricature of itself. It’s so funny but awesome.
BD- Have you ever had a moment where you felt famous?
GM- Someone noticed me at a place where I just go for fun, which was kind of cool. She was like, “Are you Grace” and I was like “Yeah”, and then she was like “Mitchell?”. It was cool. Those moments feel really good. I’ve talked to my peers and theyre like, yeah its cool during this time because people are really appreciative of your music but then people just get to a point where they want to take your photo and get out of there. They say that’s like the worst feeling ever and I haven’t experienced that at all and I don’t wish to, but right now it is really awesome because people come up to me because they love the music, not because they love the product.
BD- Now what are the biggest perks about being a recording artist?
GM- I get a lot of free shit. A lot. I get a lot of free concerts, and free clothing, and that’s a fun perk. It’s a fun superficial perk, there are a lot of more meaningful perks but free stuff is rad.
BD- Are there any drawbacks to the industry?
GM- Yeah a drawback would probably be the constant demand to try and identify yourself. Or like categorize and define yourself. That’s always in high demand but that’s not how people work, people are constantly evolving and changing artistically and expanding their character and moving through life. I would say that you don’t really become like a functioning human being with an identity until you’re like fifty. So why is there such a high demand to figure that out right now, especially for young artists like myself. It doesn’t make any sense, and that is a drawback for sure.
BD- Is there any way that people have tried to characterize or identify you that has been particularly distasteful to you?
GM- Not particularly distasteful- people tend to compare me to people that I really like. I get a lot of men which is really cool, I get a lot of Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie during my live performances, although I don’t feel like I live up to them whatsoever. Overall being put in a box though is difficult.
Catch Grace playing a set at Lollapalooza this Summer