Catching up with Grammy Award winning artist, Grace Weber to talk about Lollapalooza, art, music and more!
DK: Thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule and chatting with me today, I sincerely appreciate it! How are you today?
GW: Thank YOU! I’m great – sitting by a sunny window in LA right now, so I’m feeling happy
DK: So, you just knocked Lollapalooza out with a stunning performance on the BMI stage a couple weeks ago now, how was it for you?
GW: Oh man, it was so much fun!
DK: It was especially pleasant to see your guest appearances which included Towkio! Is it safe to say you’re musical world is wide open to pretty much anything?
GW: I would say that is accurate! I love working with creative and cool people, that’s the only criteria. If you’re a dope person and you’re making creative shit, I’m down to work with you, no matter what ‘genre’ or anything else. I love collaborating with friends, I just wanna have fun making music.
DK: Have you ever attended Lollapalooza before as a fan?
GW: I have! I remember the first time I came to Lollapalooza when I was 20, and I went to the BMI stage and I thought, ‘I’m gonna perform here someday.’ It was crazy to have the full circle moment of actually stepping onto the stage and having my first big festival slot. The crowd was amazing and the breeze from the Lake kept blowing through my hair and it all just felt like magic.
DK: While at Lollapalooza, did you get any chances to see any other artists? If so, who?
GW: I did! I got to see my buddy Knox Fortune who crushed it, it’s been really cool seeing his live show evolve over the past year and I loved watching him go crazy on the Lolla stage. I also saw Goldlink which was cool cuz the last time I saw him live I was performing with him on TinyDesk, so it was dope to see him on a huge stage and the audience going so crazy, it was an amazing performance.
DK: What did you think of the laser guided painting happening backstage in the BMI area?
GW: I thought it was so cool!!! The collaborative aspect of it was amazing, I loved being led by the main painter though the laser and feeling like I was helping put my energy into the painting. Such a cool idea and it inspired me to think of more ways to involve strangers into my creative process in music and in art in general. I love how art brings people from all different walks of life together in that way.
DK: Speaking of painting, I understand you’re quite the painter yourself and have worked on ‘blind paintings’? Please tell me more.
GW: Yeah! I tend to do a lot of “blind self portrait” work, which is a process of painting where you paint with your eyes closed! Lol, it’s really fun. I paint with one hand and then I feel my face with the other and I paint through touch instead of sight. It’s a really meditative experience for me and it teaches me to trust the unknown and lean into experiencing something in a new way. Painting through my sense of touch opens up all my senses too and makes for this overall very present experience.
DK: How much time do you usually have to be able to paint? Have you attended any art schools?
GW: I don’t paint anywhere close to as much as I should or want to. Thank you for asking me these questions about painting actually cuz now I’m inspired to go get a canvas!! I’m gonna paint today.
DK: Very cool! Hope I can get to see what you end up creating!
GW: I was in a pretty serious art class in high school, I went to Pius XI in Milwaukee and the art teachers there teach college level courses. They inspired me in ways that affect me as a complete artist, visually and musically. I also took a couple painting classes at NYU, I got a minor in studio art.
DK: As having painted (oils) myself, music really helped inspire the paintings I worked on, do you listen to music while painting?
GW: I do! Music helps me get into the zone and really focus on being in the moment with the work.
DK: Has art ever inspired any of your musical compositions as yet?
GW: I actually started comparing music to painting just in the past couple years as I’ve been working on my album with the Social Experiment. The way Nate Nico and Peter build up songs feels like a painting to me, each layer adding something really special to the whole composition. I also have a little bit less of an attachment to things when I’m painting, I don’t get so precious with, or hung up on one stroke or image, I just keep layering and creating until I feel like the whole piece feels right. So I tried to get into that mindset more with music during this album process because I wanted to be able to let the music grow and change and evolve without cutting it off too soon and saying “it’s done” just cuz I was afraid to change something about it or I was getting too attached. It was a really cool experience for me to blend my painting and music creating mind set more into one.
DK: Technology helped ‘Elated’ come into existence, (an iPhone specifically). Have you employed any other similar methods to create any of your other songs?
GW: Elated was the only iPhone involved song I believe, but we used technology in a lot of cool ways on the album, mainly through Nate’s insane Pro Tools and production skills. We had a lot of fun using my vocal as an instrument throughout the album, pitching it up and down and manipulating it in different ways so it could be a part of the instrumental in creative ways.
DK: Awesome Grace! Well, thanks for spending some time and answering these questions with me today. I look forward to catching up with you again soon the next time you stroll through Chicago!
Biography: Grammy Award winning recording artist Grace Weber grew up singing in the Central City Youth Gospel Choir of Milwaukee, before gaining recognition for her performances on Showtime at the Apollo and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Grace’s new project is produced by Nate Fox, Nico Segal (fka ‘Donnie Trumpet’) and Peter Cottontale of the Social Experiment, each producers on Chance the Rapper’s ‘Coloring Book’. Grace co-wrote and sang with Chance the Rapper & Kanye West on ‘All We Got’, the first track on Chance the Rapper’s critically acclaimed, Grammy Award Winning ‘Coloring Book’. Grace also co-produced and is featured on ‘Still Thirsty’ and ‘Prideful’ on Compton rapper Boogie’s well received mixtape ‘Thirst 48 Part II’, and is featured at the end of Francis Starlite’s ‘May I Have This Dance’. Grace is also featured on Chicago rapper Towkio’s “2 Da Moon”.
Grace is also the founder of The Music Lab, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Wisconsin that builds community through the power of music, by offering a free music education and career preparation program available to high school aged youth of all backgrounds (https://graceweber.com/themusiclab). For more information about Grace, please see https://graceweber.com/.