[Q&A] GRAE Finally Creates the Vibe She’s Always Wanted with ‘Permanent Maniac’

Photo Credit: Lizzie O’Donnell (@lizzieodonnell)

By Alissa Arunarsirakul // August 31, 2020

We’ve covered GRAE quite a few times, but how could we not?! For someone who only has a few releases under her belt, it’s wildly impressive that GRAE has mastered a unique soundscape that keeps us begging for more. To bless the world of bedroom pop, GRAE has dropped her stellar new EP, Permanent Maniac.

On “Permanent Maniac,” GRAE shared,

”Permanent Maniac is a love letter to Robert Smith from The Cure. I’ve had a real obsession with him since I was a teenager and even went through a phase where I did my makeup like him and dressed like him. The Cure’s music hits me in a way like nothing else has, and I’m so inspired by Robert, his sound, his writing. This song is about how I love him, and he’ll never know. ‘Permanent Maniac’ is definitely the vibe I’ve been trying so hard to create for a long time. So, thank you once again, Robert Smith (if you’re reading this, I love you).”

To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with GRAE about relationship stigmas, her fabulous shades, and of course, Permanent Maniac.

HH: Rumor has it you grew up listening to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation on repeat. Would you say she has had a significant impact on your artistry today?

G: You’ve got it right! Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation is an album I carried around as a child and begged my parents to play. It was the only album my household heard for weeks. Janet most definitely has played a significant role in my artistry. The production on my first EP New Girl was inspired by her and Rhythm Nation.

HH: What inspired the EP name: Permanent Maniac?

G: The song “Permanent Maniac” was actually the last song created for the EP. We had some other ideas for the EP name, but thought “Permanent Maniac” was a cool title, so decided to go with that, and I’m glad we did!

HH: Every single track on Permanent Maniac leaves us feeling absolutely captivated, but “Slow Down” is really something special. Why did this track feel like such an accomplishment to you?

G: Thank you so much! I created “Slow Down” with Derek Hoffman at his studio in Toronto. It was a time in my life where I was trying to come to terms with a potential casual relationship. I feel as a woman there’s so much stigma around casual things, and although I was fine with the dynamic I felt this underlying guilt for some reason. “Slow Down” was my way of letting out these emotions, and putting out there that woman can do what they want with their bodies and shouldn’t be shamed for anything. It was super empowering to write, and I hope it can empower the women who listen.

HH: We need to ask… where did you get the sunglasses you’re wearing in the Permanent Maniac EP cover? 

G: I believe I got them off of AliExpress a long while ago, before my thrifting days. Now I really enjoy the joy of thrift shopping and try my best to recycle clothes because there’s a lot you can do with them!

HH: What’s your favorite memory from the “Permanent Maniac” video shoot? 

G: I remember first walking onto the set and being absolutely floored. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. Electa Porado was the set designer for the shoot and she killed it. I seriously couldn’t have been more happy. There were little drawings of Robert Smith from The Cure everywhere (who the song is about, shhh) which was such a cool touch, haha. I had such a blast that day. “Permanent Maniac” is a song that I love immensely, Connor Seidel produced the track and he nailed it, it’s my favorite thing I’ve done so far. So creating and filming the music video for it was insane, it really brought everything to life for me and the entire day was an amazing memory. I’m so grateful. Shout out to Iris Kim and Priya Howdler for directing such a beautiful video.

HH: If you could collaborate with Beabadoobee, Clairo, or BENEE, who would you pick?

G: Honestly, I love Beabadoobee a lot, and am greatly inspired by her work. I think she’s such a dope artist and it would be an absolute honor to work with her one day.

HH: Once it’s safe to do so, which music venue would you like to check off your performance bucket list? 

G: Oh man, in Toronto, Massey Hall would be cool. I’ve seen a fair few musicians I really look up to play there.

HH: What are your three hidden hits?

G: Loony – “iN CODE”
Holly Humberstone – “Falling Asleep At The Wheel”
Mallrat – “Charlie”

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