Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Today is the premiere of Gracie Martin & The So Beautifuls’ latest single, “Like Falling Asleep.“ Revealing the childlike fantasies we keep about romantic love, this track uses stunning visuals and Martin’s ethereal vocals to tell this fairytale gone wrong. Check out our chat with Gracie on all things music and love and watch the video here! For more, follow them on social media here.
Your fantasy folk-pop sound is very unique - how did it develop?
I've always been drawn to folk musicians and singer songwriters who tell stories with their music. Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan when I was teenager but I was always listening to music and imagining the story of it even as a little kid. Like a little movie. Then I went to college for acting and kind of but music on the back burner for my early 20s. During that time I actually was focused on telling stories both through acting and self producing theatre. I was also developing a love for the artistry of hip hop/pop production. Yet another mode of story telling through music. The production on Childish Gambino's mid career music as well as the sounds of FKA Twigs and Kendrick Lamar music was really inspiring as additional ways to create a world and tell a story. These influences all converged while I was a company member of an interdisciplinary art collective called Plant Me Here. That's when I was given the space to try out my ideas and learn the basics of production. The music I made with Plant Me Here was experimental and I quickly became juiced up to put this sensibility in conversation with the folk songwriting I had always done on the side. I was actually on the regional rail platform in Philly on my way out to a rehearsal for a production of Kafka's Metamorphosis when the genre concept became something I was thinking purposefully about. From then on I've been trying to honor the wild experimental creativity I fell in love with while making theatre in Philly, with the kind of songwriting I've been doing in my bedroom since I was a tween.
How was your recent tour? Any specific moments that are really memorable?
This tour has been bananas honestly hahaha to be honest, it's about 15% tour and the rest has been a road trip. I drove from New York to LA and back on my own. I'm actually about to drive my final 6 and change hours back home right now. Played 3 shows on my way out. The ones in Dallas and Philly were both such a great time cause I got to reconnect with friends and make new ones. My show in Lubbock, TX really sticks out though because I knew absolutely no one in that town. Showed up to the venue by myself, miles and miles away from anyone I knew (I was also exhausted cause I played Dallas the night before and drove myself the 3 hours to Lubbock). The barista at the venue was working her last shift ever there and asked if I wanted to get dinner. I was out of my mind tired after the gig but I'm so happy she invited me out and that I accepted. All of those kind of connections I've made make the world feel smaller and my sense of community feel bigger. So grateful to my new friend in Lubbock.
What was it like creating the music videofor "10%"? Do you have a favorite scene from the video?
The process for this video was definitely difficult and very involved. All of the preparations went through a lot of different phases of planning (including some sneaky plans I'm not sure I should disclose haha). Working with Malachi Lily on the design was really special for sure. Highly recommend following them on instagram (@theholyhawkmoth) because they are just so prolific and grounded in the magic of their artistic sensibility. I'll always remember sitting on their porch with all their cats and explaining the video concept to them at our first meeting. My favorite scene is for sure all the shots of the "tuxedo fem" character Malachi developed. Dream come true to twirl around as my own anime boyfriend :)
You discuss love in terms of capitalism in both of your recent singles, "Like Falling Asleep" and "10%". Do you think that it's possible to reclaim love from capitalism, or will it always be influenced in some way?
Oof great question. I don't know and the realist in me says a huge NO. I know for myself that checking my own internalized values of capitalism is a practice I have to engage with every second in order to stay aware. It's a mindfulness exercise that I'll never have the upper hand with. I'm also in a deeply privileged position in my relationship to capitalism and if it's possible for me to experience love outside of capitalism, that's certainly not the case for most people. It's a privilege to have the space and mental energy to even attempt to stay in touch with a sense of humanity and abundance out side of money. But it's kind of like holding a handful of water. Both 10% and Like Falling Asleep are huge expressions of my desire to value myself and others outside of capitalism. Releasing them kind of feels like getting a tattoo of the meaning. Which is good. I will always be reminded of that this is important to me but even in that there is an acknowledgment that there will always be an influence.
What was the process of forming your band, The So Beautifuls, like and how has it impacted your music?
The So Beautifuls are partially a band and partially a project umbrella. Hahah it's kind of confusing. When I released my debut EP, Unconscious, I assembled this total all star line up of Philly musicians. Mostly people I had met through theatre. We played some amazing shows together and I ended up taking the name from my instagram handle which was already @gracie_sobeautiful. Then life happened and a lot of the original line up got busy with their own projects or ended up moving out of Philly. Collaborating with that original group was absolutely instrumental in developing my confidence as a musician and I miss playing with them but didn't want the project to end. I'm currently in such a state of transit that I mainly play solo or with the violinist from the original lineup, Evan Raines. So, The So Beautifuls is partially a band name and partially the signifier of the project. I have a release coming up that will be outside of the So Beautifuls umbrella and I hope that will be more clarifying than confusing lol... In general though I am always looking for new collaborators to welcome into the So Beautiful family, be it performers, session musicians or producers. That energy of collaboration has impacted every bit of my music.
What are you most excited about for the upcoming year?
Honestly could probably power a small city with how excited I am for 2020. I have a few new releases for the beginning of the year, including the soundtrack for the production of Romeo and Juliet I worked on with The Wilma Theater. That's going to be outside of the So Beautifuls umbrella. Then... without saying too much... I'm working on a So Beautifuls project that I'm labeling in genre and aesthetic as Americana Gothic. It's going to be a meditation on the tension between the oppression I've faced as a woman and my privilege as a white, cis, able bodied, American with ancestors who were frontier people. It's a lot of allegories about internalized misogyny and colonialism white processing the avalanche of feelings I have about the past four years under the person who is still our president.... Everyone will start seeing some pieces of this in fall 2020, in preparation for this collective horror experience we all have ahead of us as a country (the election).
What would you say to anyone who is going through a similar experience to that of "10%"?
Hmm there's a lot I would say but I would probably start by giving them an aggressive cuddle... I've talked to a lot of people about similar situations and it is this feeling of thinking who you are is either too much or not enough. It's so painful and hard to believe you deserve a better relationship especially if you've experienced any kind of abuse in the past. It can feel like leaving the relationship is over dramatic if it's not as bad as the trauma in your past. But the thing that I'll leave every one with is: You deserve to be with someone who doesn't make your needs feel like a chore.
Interview Questions by: Courtney Thompson