Grace Carter

Concorde 2, Brighton

Friday, March 29

AFTER being listed as one of BBC’s sounds of 2019, Grace Carter has seen her star rise incredibly. The London-born, Brighton-raised singer is preparing for a special hometown show at Concorde 2. Jamie Walker spoke to her ahead of the show.

Hi Grace, let’s start by talking about your 2018 – it was a bit of a crazy year for you.

Yeah it was, in a lot of ways.

I was doing a lot of things for the first time, which is quite intimidating but very rewarding.

Towards the end of last year it got pretty mental, especially when [November-released single] “Why Her Not Me?” came out.

All I was doing was being myself and people were responding really well to that, which made me really happy.

Were you surprised by the amount of publicity you ended up getting?

Yes, definitely.

I’ve been releasing music since 2017 and I’d released a few songs.

They’d all gone down well but I was just doing what I wanted and making music I loved.

I had a good feeling about “Why Her Not Me?” I was really proud of it and the video that went with it.

I was giving a lot of myself and felt really happy with it.

When it came out and I saw people my age, older than me, younger than me, responding to it and thanking me for the song, it was surprising but it felt right.

Your music is very personal, is it tough to open yourself up that much?

I think it’s tough when I’m trying to figure out what I’m feeling.

I’ve always used songwriting as a way of figuring out how I feel.

There won’t be a time when I think “people want me to write this sort of song, so that’s what I’m going to write”.

I will write about something that’s happened to me, whether it’s yesterday or five years ago.

Then when it comes out it’s really honest.

But I don’t think about that when I’m writing it.

You moved from Brighton back to London two years ago, was it your music that inspired that decision?

I lived in London until I was nine, before I moved to Hove, and that always felt like home to me.

I love Brighton, it’s where I went to school and wrote my first song, but I always felt like London was my base.

I started doing sessions when I was 16 and they were all in London, so I’d have to come up to London five days a week and then go back to Brighton on the weekends.

I always come back to London and a couple of years ago I decided it was time to move.

It was tough because it meant having to say goodbye to my mum and all my friends in Brighton but it’s definitely helped my career a lot, but I don’t think you have to live in London to do what I’m doing.

There’s a group in Brighton called Jam Brighton [that helps children learn instruments] and I started there when I was young.

Those were my first real gigs, so I definitely did things in Brighton as well.

As someone who has experienced the music scene in both cities, how do they differ?

London is just a lot bigger.

There’s so much talent in Brighton and I’m so blessed to have been among so many amazing people.

I met Rag ‘N’ Bone Man at Patterns, I didn’t know it was him at first he was just a big guy with tattoos but I went over and realised it was him.

Then a year ago I was touring with him around the UK and Europe.

London is just bigger, so there’s a lot more going on.

But some of my favourite artists are from Brighton.

Do you think London gives up and coming artists more of a platform, than Brighton, because of its size?

I think I lived in my own bubble in Brighton.

One of my best friends and I moved to London from Brighton together.

We both knew that there were more venues in London than Brighton.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with your music, how would you describe it?

It’s very honest and emotional but pop-fuelled as well.

There’s a lot of soul in my music that makes it emotional but there’s a lot of pop hooks and melodies that interest me and excite me when I’m in the studio.

How much are you looking forward to playing Concorde 2 on your tour?

I saw so many people play there when I lived in Brighton and it’s an amazing venue.

I played the Haunt just before Christmas and that was an amazing show.

It was great to see so many people that I knew from school.

This year my single Heal Me has gone down really well and there will be a lot more new music this year.

I’m very excited.

With bases in London and Brighton do you have two hometown shows to play?

Yeah for sure.

I think a lot of my family and friends are by the sea in Brighton.

Going there for a show and being able to see all my friends and people I know from growing up is really exciting.

Both shows are great and I’m very grateful that I have two places I can call home.

When you’re working on music how much do your surroundings influence you?

My life influences all my music so my surroundings do play a part in that.

But to be honest I usually work in a studio that has no windows.

I make quite emotional and deep music.

And we live in a country that’s quite cloudy and dark right now, so that can influence my music.

So why is Grace Carter the singer people should check out this year?

I’m just having a great time and enjoying myself.

I’m 21-years-old and doing what I love, and hopefully that comes across in everything that I do.