By Harriet Kaplan
Russian-born, now L.A.-based pop artist Grace Valerie has been releasing singles have that been well received and heard internationally and featured on various stations including SIRIUS/XM’s 20 on 20. Her first single, “When the Lights Go Down,” was released in the U.S. and reached #17 on Billboard’s club play chart with it’s music video hitting a total of 1.5 million views. Her response and follow-up single, “Don’t Wanna Be Waiting” was produced and co-written by Grammy winner and former American Idol host Randy Jackson. Grace Valerie recently spoke to Black on the Canvas about her influences, what music she listened to growing up in Russia and the impact her parents who both had their own musical abilities as well and discussed her upcoming EP she is working on.
Grace – I read in your bio you are originally from Russia. How long have you been living in the U.S.? What has it been like for you living here?
Grace: It’s been almost 5 years! I love living in U.S., especially in L.A. It’s been a roller coaster but I don’t think I would want it any other way. Easy is not fun for me!
You were obviously influenced by American music primarily well-known pop music. Did you dream or envision yourself always going in that direction?
Grace: Since I was a kid I envisioned myself in front of a huge crowd throwing “Britney” moves and “Aguilera” vocals. I am a huge pop music fan. I am a huge music fan period: pop, dance, EDM, country, rap, hip hop … You can find any genre on my iPod 😉 I love to experiment with my sound and I can’t wait to collaborate with my favorite artists in the future!
Are your songs autographical or do you take some creative license in that they are more fictional?
Grace: Mix it up. Usually, I write about specific situation or feelings or I create a storyline based on people in my circle.
Do you come from a musical family?
Grace: My dad has a great voice! His vocals are phenomenal but it’s more of a hobby for him. My mom played piano in her childhood and my brother has “great ears” and an excellent taste in music. His opinion matters the most to me lol
How did you reach the ears of Randy Jackson? What was it like working with him on material?
Grace: I was introduced to Randy by my first management team in LA. Working with him was incredible! So easy! He is so talented and funny, great person! I am forever grateful for his support and experience I got.
Are you releasing singles only? Do you eventually want to release an EP or full-length album?
Grace: I’m currently writing and recording my EP. I was focusing more on singles and remixes in the past. I released my first Christmas EP last December and now I am ready to give my fans a full EP of new material. A very exciting chapter in my life