Songwriting can represent different things for different artists. It can be about catharsis, it can mean letting go, or it can be an escape. For 20-year-old, LA-born Gracie Abrams, it means everything. It’s also been an evolution. At first song writing was purely a way of letting her emotions out, with songs built around teenage journal entries, and often recorded solo, in her bedroom, and released via demos on Instagram or Soundcloud. More recently, having found a group of collaborators she trusts, it’s become about really honing the songs until they’re simultaneously as specific and as universal as possible.
“The details in my songs are super important to me,” she says. “The more I can color my songs with explicit detail the closer I feel to them.” It was there in the delicate piano balladry of her proper debut single, “Mean It,” a song that zooms in on the end of a relationship, or the equally plaintive, gossamer light “I miss you, I’m sorry,” which forms the emotional apex of her debut project, minor. Both showcase one side of Abrams’ sound but are in no way the full picture, as reflected by the soft electro pulse of “21” (produced by Joel Little), or the guitar-lead, psych-tinged “Friend.” Ask her, for example, what genre her music fits into and she’s flummoxed, in a good way. “My hope is that I get to the point where I’ve put out enough music that can exist in different boxes,” she smiles. “The freedom to exist and create without living within the confines of a specific genre matters a lot to me as a young person who’s constantly growing and changing. I think we’ve only more recently started seeing that happen generally, but specifically for female artists. The fact that expectations are shifting feels really exciting.”