Photo Credit: Kelia Anne MacCluskey (@kelianne)
By Alissa Arunarsirakul // June 30, 2020
From working alongside Chance the Rapper to getting co-signed by John Mayer, Grace Weber is certainly an accomplished artist–to say the least. Well, now she’s shifting her undivided focus onto her solo career, which is bringing us her delightful debut EP, How Did We Get Here. The impressive five-track collection is all about the neverending journey to self-love, so let’s all learn how to appreciate ourselves with Weber’s How Did We Get Here.
On How Did We Get Here, Grace Weber shared,
“The project is about a renewal and comeback after a tough season. I became independent again this year, and I think I needed to make this project in order to step into the next chapter, like a clean slate. The project as a whole is about empowering yourself, looking back at the path that led you to now, and then choosing to go forward.”
To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with Grace Weber about curveballs, choirs, and of course, How Did We Get Here.
HH: How did you first get into music?
GW: I come from a really musical family. My Grandpa and all ten of my aunts and uncles on my Mom’s side of the family are musicians/play instruments. So when I was little, I would sing around the piano with my family at every Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthday. My cousins and I still sing together with my Uncle Mike at the keys every holiday, so music has always felt like family and love to me. When I was 11, I joined the Central City Youth Gospel Choir of Milwaukee, and that’s when I felt like I found my other musical family and started to understand who I was as an artist. It’s where I learned and embraced everything I love about singing, gospel and soul music, and performing for other people. I started writing my own music at the end of high school.
HH: How have you grown as a songwriter since penning Chance the Rapper’s “All We Got?”
GW: I’ve become more confident as a songwriter just through the process of writing and practicing, learning how to be as honest as possible. Getting to work with really amazing writers and producers over the past few years has also taught me so much, I love just being in the room with people I look up to, getting to watch them work, learning from how amazing writers like Francis Starlight, Jeff Gitty, Chance put a song together from start to finish has been so inspiring. I’ve also been studying writers like Frank Ocean and Joni Mitchell. I love songwriters, like Frank and Joni, who have this amazing balance of storytelling and poetry in their work. I’m always working to find that balance in my songs.
HH: Can you share your creative process behind How Did We Get Here?
GW: How Did We Get Here came together in a really natural way. I was lucky enough to get to meet Louie Lastic from the Goldlink TinyDesk performance, and we ended up linking at his studio in downtown LA after that. “Remember The Way” was the first song we did together, and it was the song I needed to write as I was processing a relationship I had just gotten out of. It was one of those songs that just kind of fell out of me, start to finish, in the vocal booth and it kind of signaled to me that I was ready to do a whole focused project about some of the things I had gone through the year before. So from there, I asked Louie Lastic (aka Alex) if he’d be down to executive produce an EP with me, and we put the whole project together, along with two songs I did with Jack Dine, over the next few months. It was so amazing to work with Alex and Jack on the project; they’re both so creative and the dopest producers and musicians, and it was a really healing experience for me to get to write and record and create the project.
HH: Whether it’s because of your stunning vocals or luscious guitars, How Did We Get Here is an absolute gem. What does this EP mean to you?
GW: Thank you!! This EP definitely means a lot to me. It’s a project about finding renewal after a tough season, about empowering yourself, looking back at the path that led you to now, and then choosing to go forward. Like I sing in “Queen,” “it was all an illusion, like a life with a plan” … I didn’t know what curveballs life would throw these past couple years and what unexpected turns would beg me to start again, but it led me to finding the strength to take my power back, finding beauty in removing what no longer served me, and ultimately embracing self-love in the process.
HH: Do you have a favorite memory from creating the EP?
GW: Besides working with Alex and Jack, the moment I found out Masego was going to be on the project was pretty special. I’ll never forget getting the text from Alex where he was like, “Masego laid his part down. I’ll send it over,” and just getting allll the excited butterflies and jumping up and down and just so happy to hear Masego liked “Crazy To Hope” and that he was actually laying down a track on it! And then playing it on my speakers at home and dancing to it with my husband was just pure joy. I immediately memorized his sax part the second I heard it and now I love singing along with it and harmonizing to it anytime I play it. I’ve been a big fan of Masego for a minute so it was just a really fun and cool moment when he officially became a part of the project.
HH: Tell us about Grace Weber’s Music Lab. What inspired you to start this non-profit?
GW: I was inspired to start The GW Music Lab after my own experience as a high school student getting selected as a finalist with The National Young Arts Foundation and everything that opportunity gave me as a young person, in addition to my desire to give back to Milwaukee, the city that raised me and where all my music roots lie. The three main goals of the lab are: 1. To provide music education to Milwaukee high school students, especially those who don’t have access already 2. Bridge community among youth in Milwaukee and help empower young people to change Milwaukee’s statistic of being one of the most segregated cities in America 3. Notice a young person for who they authentically are and celebrate them. I wanted the Music Lab to be a space where young people could walk in and feel completely accepted for who they are and be given the support and tools to grow in all the ways they desire to grow. It’s been really cool seeing young people come out of their shells from lab to lab, forming friendships and bands together, and honestly learning from them as they bravely take the stage to perform for their peers and mentors. I’m so inspired by this generation of high school students and am grateful we’ve been able to grow the program over the past few years.
HH: If you could have anyone in the music industry be your mentor, who would you pick?
GW: On the purely artist side of things, it’d be Frank Ocean or Erykah Badu. On the more industry-ish + artist side of things, probably No ID or Pharrell.
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
GW: I absolutely LOVE the artist, MAAD. Her two songs “Eventually” and “Get By”–she just released are my jams. I’m also a huge fan of Darius Scott, his song “Big Brave Man” he just released is beyond beautiful. I’m also excited for Tiana Major9 and her rise, I’ve been loving all the music she’s been dropping this year.