Caroline Grace is a recent graduate from USC and is ready to pursue her music career full time. She’s already worked with some of the biggest producers in the industry, two of her very first singles “Show Me” and “Move Alone” were produced and co-written by Jason ‘Poo Bear’ Boyd, who is partially responsible for Justin Bieber’s biggest hits, along with other notable artists including Usher and Chris Brown. She’s already been featured by some of the biggest media outlets in the world including Earmilk, Galore and Billboard.
The 22 year old singer/songwriter, has found her voice in R&B influenced pop music. Starting to write songs at age 14, Grace has taken years to develop her artistry. While studying writing at the University of Southern California, Grace captured the attention of Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Jason Boyd (Poo Bear). The two went on to co-write her debut single, “Show Me”, which landed the recognition of some of music’s largest publications, Billboard included. Since, Grace began her own independent record label/production company, Illuminate Creative Group, and has been working tirelessly on creating new music that will plunge her into the mainstream.
Now Caroline Grace is preparing for the release of her debut EP called “Afraid Of The Dark”, and has introduced it to the world with the first single “Turn The Light Off”. I got the chance to catch up with music’s newest sensation;
Hi Caroline, and welcome to OLC! So tell me when did you realize you wanted to get into the music industry?
I’ve always known I wanted to be a singer and was passionate about music. As I got older, that love for music grew into a passion for the music industry as well. I started studying the industry around the same time I decided to record my first song. I quickly found that the more I knew, the better chance I had getting my music heard. It took a lot of trial and error but through that I can truly say I found a love for the music industry and have found an identity as a business person and entrepreneur just like I have found an identity as an artist.
Was there any artist in particular growing up that made you gravitate towards pop music?
Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson & Stevie Wonder.
How were you discovered?
Hmmm I’m not even sure I would say I have been discovered lol. “Being discovered” is something I quickly found out doesn’t exist. No one (except in very rare and lucky cases) is truly founded by a major exec, made into a star, and put out to the world for mass consumption. What more typically happens is a manager, A &R, agent or big player in the music industry approaches you and helps you get to the next level, but that isn’t until a lot of the initial work has already been done. Who really discovers you are the fans. Nowadays it’s hard to grab the attention of any executives, curators, etc. without having already developed an organic and authentic fan base. Being discovered is a work in progress. It’s constantly working towards accumulating fans and industry people who believe in you and your music and together working towards getting more people to hear your music. So I guess my answer would be I was really discovered by my first fan who listened to my first single for the first time. Who ever that is- I love you.
Your singles “Show Me” and “Move Alone” we’re produced by ‘Poo Bear’, who’s been behind some huge hits from Justin Bieber. How surreal was that for you to be working with such a great hit maker?
It was pretty crazy. I was definitely intimidated when we first met, however within five minutes of talking to him all my fears subsided. He is the nicest, kindest, most genuine guy, and we truly just got along. It was surreal to me that a person of his talent could remain so humble and passionate. It was very inspiring.
I love the song “Show Me”, and I also love your vocals on it too by the way, after hearing it for the first time I actually said to myself “wow”. So what can you tell me about “Show Me”? Was there any event or any one in particular that inspired it?
Aw thank you so much, that’s really nice. When Poo Bear and I initially met we made the connection that we went to the same Church. After discovering that we were both Christian, Poo Bear presented me with the idea of writing a song that could be sung as both a mainstream pop song and a worship song. Sort of like a secret message within a message. When you really love someone you want to do whatever it takes to make them happy. In the same way, when I’m feeling lost I ask God to show me the way I’m supposed to be, how I am supposed to live, the direction I am supposed to go in, and really just to show me the way to living a happy life that fulfills his plans for me.
Much to my excitement, you have a new song on the way called “Turn The Light Off”. What’s it about and who helped you work on it? This will be the first single from your forthcoming EP “Afraid Of The Dark”. Where did the EP’s title come from and does it set the theme for the record?
I’m going to combine these two questions into one. Turn the Light Off definitely encompasses the theme of my entire EP “Afraid Of The Dark”. I initially got the idea for the project when talking to my mom about how you develop film in a dark room. I began to think that everyone has a dark room within the home of their mind. A place where they hide all the shit they don’t want to deal with or don’t want anyone to see. Just like how you can’t bring a photo into the light until it is fully developed, a person can’t be their best true and authentic self until they are fully developed, which only happens when they open up their dark room and have the courage to clean it out. It is only then that you can truly Illuminate(my motto), inspire other people, and shine through the darkness. Turn The Light Off is a song that demonstrates the fear that comes with opening up and being vulnerable. Often times, we think, myself included, that no-one wants to see all the shit we hide. That people only want the best version of you or nothing at all. So we hide away all of our dark parts (a lot of which actually make us who we are) out of fear of being rejected. The EP was sort of my way of dealing with the clutter in my dark room, and Afraid Of The Dark being the first song that I wrote for the project, was me expressing my fear of opening up.
I worked on the entire project with my friend and incredibly talented producer JD Walker. We have now worked on so much music together and our writing process is truly so effortless and effective. I absolutely love working with him.
Are there any special features on the EP? And who are some people you worked with on it?
This project is actually 100% just me. I do have a very exciting feature on the way, however, it’s just not apart of this body of work. Stay tuned though, haha.
Is there any artist, producer or writer you’d love to do a track with?
Oh so many. There are so many artists I want to work with for different reasons. At the moment though, I am so happy with the people I am working with. Whoever organically crosses into my path and vibes with me is who I want to work with next.
So tell me away from music what do you do to relax?
Beach, surf, ski, hike, run, travel, drink wine, hang out with my friends, watch gossip girl, the usual.
Can you tell me one thing your fans may not know about you?
I used to race cars. My dad is a professional race car driver so when I was a kid, he threw me in one of the miniature race cars and I got so into it. I was the only chick amongst a sea of boys which looking back was so bad ass. I can honestly say that’s where I probably got a lot of my spunk and independence from.
Who are some artists you’re currently listening to?
Pink Sweats is my guy right now, I absolutely LOVE him. Billie Eillish’s new album is also a banger. I’m also a sucker for the oldies. Most of the time if you get in my car I’m either listening to Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin or Frank Sinatra.
What’s your favourite food?
Plantains. I know that is so weird but I am obsessed with them. Plantain chips, grilled plantains, all of it. Almond butter is a close second.
Favourite movie and why?
Good Will Hunting. There is something about the way that movie was made that is so brilliant. The character development is truly astounding. It’s one of the only movies I have watched and been like “holy smokes, that’s a masterpiece”.
I’m also obsessed with Mama Mia. I know every lyric to every song and will never fail to fully sing them out when watching.
Being a rising artist how do you stay grounded and remain humble?
I have the best family and friends in the world. There is not a day that goes by I don’t thank God for the people in my life. If I ever got out of line or had my head up in the clouds they would bring me back down to earth in a second. Legit my entire family came on my last tour (minus my older sister who is a badass getting her masters at Cambridge). I remember waking up one morning, being so tired and complaining and my mom literally could have killed me. She told me to suck it up and made the entire ordeal feel way more normal than it was. I would get off the stage after playing for 5,000 + people and she would remind me I had to babysit my 12 year old sister that weekend when I got home. Lol
What do you stand for?
That’s a loaded question haha. First and foremost being a good person. Tied in with that being the best version of yourself which means making sure you heart, mind, soul and body is healthy. That goes hand and hand with being authentic and not being afraid to let people know who you really are. That is something that I learned through being an artist. That being vulnerable is how people really get to know who you are and when you discover parts of yourself you can offer to the world to make it a better place. The world is filled with a lot of darkness and hate. For those of us who are lucky enough to be ourselves, have opportunity, and pursue what we love, we have to take full advantage of it. I intend on using my music platform to give back in any way that I can. Music is important, don’t get me wrong, but there are people hurting in the world and so many ways to get involved and help out. I stand for taking ownership and responsibility over your opportunity and using those opportunities to be a light in the darkness whenever possible. Work your ass off because there are so many people in the world who wish they were in your position and had your set of circumstances so make sure your taking full advantage of them. Lastly, just be a badass.
What does 2019 hold for Caroline Grace?
So much! First and foremost music! After the release of my EP I have more music to roll out and close behind. With that I’ll be playing shows, touring, and hopefully connecting with listeners and growing my fan base. I’m just going to keep working hard on my music and message and making sure people hear it!