From Journals to Songwriting with Gracie Abrams

10/10/2021
en

Genuine, authentic, and relatable, Gracie Abrams is one of the most compelling singers and songwriters in today’s music industry. The 22-year-old is not afraid to show her vulnerable side and connect with fans through her intimate lyrics and DIY sensibilities. Having released a new track, “Feels Like” on October 1 with its associated music video on October 7, Abrams prepares to share her honey-like vocals on her upcoming This Is What It Feels Like tour

From a cozy corner in Texas, Abrams was all smiles at a virtual press conference. In a simple t-shirt, she lit up the screen, her excitement contagious. Along with her bubbly persona, her authenticity was very apparent throughout the conference. She did not shy away from any topic; in fact, with every answer, we could see the thought Abrams put into answering all the questions. With her fresh and innocent charm, she set the Zoom chat alight with everyone’s reactions and support. 

WISDOM BEYOND HER YEARS

Though only 22-years-old, Abrams has a lot of self-awareness and understands herself more than a person her age would seem. When asked about how she has changed since her debut, Abrams explained that she has gotten more comfortable with speaking up for herself. It is no surprise that a young woman in the music industry faces larger obstacles compared to her male counterpart. “I’m so much more vocal and I feel like as women, we’ve been trained to not inconvenience others, and I am every day working on just completely throwing that out the window ‘cause you just get shit done the way you want to get shit done when you’re straight up with other people, in the most respectable way.” 

Aside from having a hard-working spirit, Abrams is also a strong advocate for mental health. Opening up about her own struggles with anxiety and OCD, Abrams joked, “I could probably stop oversharing.” But then she went on to tell everyone, “I hope that you guys are all doing okay and if you’re not, that you’re talking to people about it.” It was a small but powerful gesture that showed she truly cares about those around her. 

She explained that though she had anxiety pre-pandemic, COVID-19 amplified it, which in turn heightened her OCD. But she had the self-awareness to understand that she needed to physically step away from the music industry, which led her to leave Los Angeles for a bit. Through all of this, Abrams turned to writing, a practice that helps her understand her feelings, without bottling them up. 

Gracie Abrams

JOURNALS AND SONGWRITING

Abrams has been transparent from the beginning that her songwriting is rooted in journaling. She has been journaling for as long as she can remember and wrote her first song at age 8. Describing her journal as a “sacred space,” Abrams embraced journaling as it was something she could do all on her own at a young age. “It’s been the most direct thread through my songwriting. The way I journal is basically the same way that I write songs.” Journaling is a very strong part of her identity and, with a laugh, Abrams mentioned she carries her journal everywhere. It has grown from being just a sacred and private place to a vault of thoughts and lyrics for songwriting. 

Without journaling, Abrams may not have become an artist. “I wouldn’t be doing this at all if it weren’t for the writing aspect. I didn’t know or ever think about being an artist when I was a kid. I loved writing more than anything else and it’s why I feel sane to the degree that I do […] It is the vulnerability and the writing that makes me feel like I can do this every day for the rest of my life, as long as people will have me.” Being at the center of her writing, and honest in her songwriting is what drew her to music, and it is what kept her there. She goes on to explain that her songs come from the “deepest part of her soul.” For Abrams, writing keeps her sane and functioning. 

VULNERABILITY 

A big part of Abrams’ musical identity is the vulnerability she encapsulates in her music and lyrics. Her songs are not the loud, flashy sounds we often hear. The music itself has an intimate feel, and the lyrics bring a new layer of realness that is not seen in a lot of the music today. It’s one of the reasons why fans are so drawn to Abrams’ artistry. One notable song of hers is “I Miss You, I’m Sorry.” In a previous interview, Abrams mentioned that after that song was released, the comments under that music video were drastically different from her other songs. Fans opening up in the comments about their personal stories is something Abrams said she will never forget. “Reading those and feeling as shocked as I did that people were opening up about their lives,” she told EnVi. “It’s why I felt so close, for years prior to touring, to the people that have listened to my music.” 

But more than sincerity in her songwriting and building virtual connections with fans, her live performances have brought her even closer to her fans. “I just feel very tethered to everyone I’ve interacted with because of my songs but being in person, […] to be able to touch people when talking about times that have been hard for me and very clearly singing in a room that they’ve had similar experiences, if not identical experiences, it’s definitely made me want to say even more.”

Abrams has resumed live performances, and as she gets more comfortable being on stage, she is eager to meet her fans in person. With a big smile, she told EnVi, “talking to them and seeing them in person and hugging them after the shows […] makes me want to never leave the venue!” 

Gracie Abrams

MORE TO COME

The future is looking bright for Abrams as she recently announced her This Is What It Feels Like tour. She mentioned she is most excited to perform “21,” and an unreleased song, “Crossfire.” Though “21” is a fun song for her to sing, Abrams described “Crossfire” as “super stripped back” with a more intimate feel when performing. “It challenged my anxiety and stage fright the most, and now I look forward to it!” With her big smile, there is no question that Abrams is excited to continue performing and going on tour. 

Abrams illustrates how being genuine and vulnerable in music is a powerful force that has the ability to touch many souls. Abrams’ discography is intimate, real, and genuine. “It’s why I love doing this every day,” she explained. Expressing her excitement for her upcoming tour, Abrams said, “I’m so excited for touring in the spring, ‘cause it just feels like having had some experience under my belt with shows from this tour, and then, just knowing the music that they haven’t heard yet that I just hope will connect—I just am super, super, super, super excited.” 

Keep up with Abrams on her Instagram and Twitter for updates on her music journey! 

Want more? Check out our interview with Bradley Kim here

Photo credit @gracieabrams