Grace Mitchell is a name you need to remember. She’s only 19 years old, but is poised to be the face of rock’n’roll in this generation. With the swagger, charisma, and poise she carries herself with I don’t see why that isn’t possible. Grace was signed to Casablanca/ Republic Records in 2013, at the age of 16, and has since released 2 EPs. Her first EP drew comparisons to a more polished alternative sound like Lana Del Rey or Banks. The second EP, which was produced by Mark Foster, of Foster the People, and Rich Costey, who has done work for Muse, features more buzzy electric sounds. Just earlier this year Grace released two singles ahead of her full length debut album, due out later this summer. One of those singles, “Kids (Ain’t All Right)” found its way onto radio airwaves nationwide, including Sirius XM Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement and Alt 18 countdown.
I had the chance to sit down with Grace Mitchell at Hangout Festival and discuss her experiences on the road and in the music industry.
MEB: How has Hangout Festival been so far?
GM: It’s been super fun. We just got in today, so we missed last night and all the hectic rain. We’ve had a good time so far. It was a great show. A lot of people turned out.
How many festivals have you done so far?
6 maybe. How many festivals have we done JR? [inaudible] 10! We’ll we’ve done small festivals, but in terms of big festivals like 5. We’ve done a bunch of small ones.
Like radio festivals?
So, you’re only 19. That’s crazy young for the success you’ve had so far. What is your perspective of the industry like, being this young and fresh artist with a ton of potential?
It’s great. There’s a ton of young artists in the music industry. I think a lot of great artists start young. Those people who start older in the music industry, God bless them, because it’s a young person’s world.
Have there been any particular struggles or blessings that have come your way?
I think people underestimate me a lot. But, my age is definitely helpful because I get to kind of evolve my sound.
You seem ripe for a major record deal. Like major labels should be salivating looking at you. On the flip side there are pitfalls to being so young, talented, and full of potential. Have you had any problems maintaining your identity or pressure to change anything?
Luckily I feel like I have a pretty legitimate sense of self from a young age. I was pretty understanding of who I was as an individual. Musically, it’s been great. I have a development deal with my label, so they’ve been developing me and developing my sound.
I have read past interviews of yours in which you haven’t been too fond of radio centric pop music. When I mention pop music, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Umm, Harry Styles.
I take it you’ve gave his album a listen. What do you think of it?
I like it. It’s good. It’s the right direction for pop music right now.
Yeah, I feel like his single would never get radio play if he weren’t Harry Styles.
Yeah, he’s changing pop music. I don’t do pop music. I can appreciate it, but my influences are definitely alternative and indie. I can identify more with alt pop.
I actually first heard of you thanks to Sirius XM’s Alt Nation and I believe XMU channels. This might be silly, but have you heard yourself on the radio?
Actually… I heard myself one time when I was at Coachella. It was playing on my hotel’s radio, which was crazy because that day, I had actually just been talking about how I’ve never heard myself on the radio before. So many of my friends and family have. People, everyday are like “Oh my gosh” and sending me videos. But, I’ve never been in the car when one of my songs have come on. I think it’s kind of a good omen though. Maybe it keeps me down to earth.
Eventually it has to happen. Can you picture the day you’re in the car and one of your song comes on?
I would like to think the reason I haven’t heard myself on the radio yet is because there’s going to be a pinnacle moment where I’m annihilating the radio.
But if you’re annihilating the radio, will you get tired of hearing yourself?
No. Never. I’m proud of what I do.
Five years from now imagine we’re right back here. What will you have you done in the meantime? Where will you be going from there?
I’m going to be balling. I’m going to be balling! I’m going to still be performing, travelling the world, touring a ton. I’m probably going to be releasing my third album.
Only on a third album in five years? You’ve been writing like crazy from what I’ve read.
Yeah, I’ve already released two EPs and am making my debut full length. I’m simultaneously working on album two.
Is the debut a combination of those first two EPs?
Oh no. Totally different. Yeah, I’m never not working on music.
Are you able to write on the road, in any environment you’re in?
Yeah, I write all the time. I don’t particularly write “on the road”. My writing spaces have to be a little gentler environment so I can narrow focus. I’ll come up with ideas and concepts on the road and execute them in the studio when I get back to LA or New York.