Having money and fame can be such a wonderful thing… but at what cost? Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Eminem… All of them have written songs about what fame can do to to one’s mental health.
Well, recently, I caught up with up and coming artist, Annika Grace, to discuss her latest single, “Chasing Clouds”. The song dives deep into the world of fame, and how ‘numbers’ are all that seem to matter now.
1. Tell us a bit about how your passion for music first came to fruition.
“When I was growing up, I was the super shy kid and was bullied in middle school. When I first started playing and writing music at around that time, it became this outlet for me to say whatever I needed to say through music. My parents also always played music like One Republic, Five for Fighting and Carolina Liar throughout the house in the mornings, and I loved the lyrics, and how honest and vulnerable they were. It inspired me to want to write lyrics like that. My godfather was a composer for T.V. and film. So, for Christmas one year, he brought over some of his equipment and from there, I was hooked. Those first few years of finding my passion for music was really shaped by those experiences.”
2. You’ve collaborated with Jack Fruit on “Never Have I Ever”. Was that your first collaboration, & what was the songwriting process like?
“It was! It was my first duet and it was so much fun to create together. It was actually the first song we ever wrote together, and our first time meeting each other. Our friend had set us up to co-write and instantly, we just clicked and wrote ‘Never Have I Ever’ in like 20 minutes. It was one of the fastest sessions I’ve ever been in. Once we got the lyrics and melody down, we actually sat on the song for a few months until we found the right producer for it, which was Taylor Wilzbach. After that, we all got together at his studio in Calabasas and finished up the vocals, and that was that. It was a pretty organic process.”
3. Out of all of the songs that you’ve written thus far, which song contains the most sentimental value to you, and why?
“That’s a really hard question, but I would say ‘Red Lights’ — which is my oldest song on Spotify… And the first song I ever put out when I was 17 years old probably holds the most sentimental value, because it was where it all started. But, I’d say the song that holds the most value, message wise, would be ‘Anybody Out There’, because it’s a super personal song to me, and the lyrics are the most honest and vulnerable version of myself and who I want to be. The song is all about feeling lost, and wondering if there is ‘anybody out there’ who feels the way you do and/or has the same values.”
4. Once the music scene returns to normal, post-pandemic, where do you see yourself performing your music?
“I would love to do more shows in LA and New York, at my favorite venues like Madame Siam, Hotel Café and Rockwood. I really miss those stages. Shows like Sofar Sounds I can’t wait to have back as well, because you can really interact with the audience, and it’s super intimate. What I miss most about the music scene is just meeting new people and actually getting to know the people who come to your shows. It’s always so special. Also, a big goal and dream of mine is to perform at some festivals. I think once music comes back, outdoor shows are going to be really popular.”
5. “Chasing Clouds” is your most recent release, and the lyrics are so incredibly powerful. What inspired you to write that song?
“Thank you! I remember when I got into the writing session with Spencer, Mark and Sam, we all were talking about social media and how much it has taken over our lives. I have grown up in LA and I’ve seen first hand how fame can lift people up as fast as it will take people down. We put people on pedestals to be chased by others who want to be up on that pedestal too. It becomes an obsession of who can get higher in the social ladder. That’s what really inspired the whole concept of ‘Chasing Clouds’ — like how we chase ‘clout’, as we call it. It’s sad that I feel sometimes we see follower numbers, instead of people.”
6. The music video for “Chasing Clouds” contains a prominent, visual storyline. Were those visual effects planned far in advanced, or was it a spontaneous decision?
“I always had this vision when the music video was first a conversation, that I wanted it to be animated. I felt it was the best way to explain the message. From the start, I planned out that I wanted all things social media cluttering up the screen in a way, to show how it can control us sometimes. Whitney, the animator and videographer, did such a great job of taking that vision and running with it.”
7. For someone who’s never written a song before, what advice could you give them on how to get started in the music industry?
“I’d say, don’t be afraid of rejection. It will happen. Not everyone will like your music and that’s okay. I think just being true to your vision and sticking with who you are and want your music to sound like is the best advice I can give. A lot of people will try to make you sound more ‘commercial’ or more ‘sellable’, but in the end, it’s just the good music that breaks through and that everybody loves — whether that be commercial or not.”
8. Where can the fans keep up with all of your upcoming projects?
“I’m super active on Instagram, so all the juicy details will be posted there before anywhere else! My Instagram is @annikagracemusic! You can also check up on my music and videos on Spotify and YouTube under Annika Grace. I finally downloaded Tik Tok during COVID, and I post all my upcoming projects there as well. You can check me and all of my more embarrassing content there, under @annikagracemusic .”