For singer-songwriter and high school senior Grace Conley, change has almost become second nature. As she approaches the next chapter of her life, however, she felt compelled to look back and chronicle her growth through some difficult goodbyes, painful moments, and take a big leap of faith into a world that’s full of the unknown, the terrifying, and the wonderful.
The result is a soulful, poppy five-song EP titled Indigo Sky; like its lead single, “Things Will Change,” its central motif is growing pains and the healing that follows, imbued with a wisdom beyond the singer’s years. Grace sat down with Audiofemme to share the story behind “Things Will Change,” the artists who have inspired her the most, and her favorite Atlanta venues.
AF: Thanks so much for agreeing to chat with me! Let’s dive right in; how did you get into music? Was it a lifelong passion, or something you grew into?
GC: Music was something that was always on the back burner for me at first. I grew up singing in church choir and taking piano lessons here and there, but I really got serious about it around two years ago. I’ve had a lot of passions and hobbies in my life, but when I started music something just clicked, and I knew it was what I was meant to do.
AF: Who do you consider your greatest influences?
GC: My greatest influence has got to be Jennifer Zuiff, aka Indee Killed The Popstar. I started taking vocal and guitar lessons with her, and she really encouraged me to start writing and performing. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. Other influences would definitely be Andrew Hill and Patrick Taylor, who’ve really taught me a lot and helped me grow as an artist — and as a person — in the last year.
AF: You recently released a new single, “Things Will Change.” Can you tell us a little bit about the song? What inspired it?
GC: I wrote “Things Will Change” as a way to move on from a broken friendship. I didn’t write it until probably a year and a half after the “breakup,” as I call it. It took a long time for me to acknowledge the fact that I was still hurt, and an even longer time for me to recognize that it was time to heal. This song has really meant a lot to me, and I hope it reaches someone who needs to hear it.
AF: What’s your creative process like? Do you generally write alone, or is it more collaborative?
GC: Every song comes out differently, some in ten minutes, and others take hours. I normally write alone, except when I feel a song is missing something. Then I take it to Andy, who produced my [Indigo Sky] EP and my previous releases at his studio, Off The Record, and he always knows just what the song needs. Sometimes you just need another perspective to polish things up, and I think getting a second opinion is really valuable when it comes to songwriting.
AF: Can you give readers a little bit of an inside look at the record? How long have you been writing the songs, and how did you know it was time to release? What message do you hope your fans take from it?
GC: All the writing for the EP has happened over the last year, and I knew I really wanted to release it this spring. As a graduating high school student, I think it really signifies the jump into the next chapter of my life. This EP really encompasses the feeling of being a foreigner in your own skin to me, and I hope that listeners who feel alone in their journey find reassurance and hope through listening.
AF: What’s has it been like to get your start in the Atlanta music scene? How has the scene — and all the incredible bands, artists, and players — impacted you as a musician, songwriter, and performer?
GC: I’ve been so privileged to be surrounded by a group of incredibly talented and compassionate musicians from the very start of my career. There’s definitely a built-in support system that comes with being an Atlanta musician, and I wouldn’t give that up for the world.
AF: What’s next for you?
GC: I’ll be out playing a lot of shows this summer, and I’m already planning my next release. There’s a lot of exciting things in the works for me, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out!
AF: Last one! Favorite venue you’ve played in the city?
GC: Favorite place I’ve played so far has got to be Aisle 5, but I have a show coming up at Vinyl on May 24th, which is my favorite venues in Atlanta. A lot of artists who I really look up to have played there recently — Noah Kahan, Hollow Coves, Allman Brown — and I think it’s definitely going to take the top spot!