Why She’s Amazing
Grace Weber doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be more.
Born and raised in Milwaukee with a naturally soulful voice and a love of gospel, r&b and soul music, Grace grew up singing in the Central City Youth Gospel Choir of Milwaukee. At age 16, Grace performed the gospel hymn “His Eye is on the Sparrow” on the nationally televised Showtime at the Apollo. The same year, she was asked to perform at soccer icon Mia Hamm and baseball player Nomar Garciaparra’s wedding. Then, five years later, Grace gained widespread recognition after performing “Natural Woman” on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Even more, Grace and her original song, “Leave the Light On”, were showcased on the 10th Anniversary Commemoration of 9/11 in Paris, France. She also sang the National Anthem in October 2015 prior to the New York Giants/San Francisco 49ers Sunday Night Football game.
Grace won the New Music Seminar’s Unsigned Artist on the Verge (AOV) Award for 2015. The winner is chosen from a list of 100 artists who were picked by music industry professionals on an unsolicited basis from among thousands of notable new artists from around the country.
Right now, Grace is working on a new album with Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Nate Fox and Peter Cottontale, most known for their work with Chance the Rapper and on Nico’s album “Surf”. She recently co-wrote and sang with Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, Francis Starlite and the Chicago Children’s Choir on ‘All We Got’, the introductory track to Chance the Rapper’s critically acclaimed, chart-topping ‘Coloring Book’. ‘All We Got’ charted at number 4 on Apple Music the first weekend after release and has streamed over 7 million times across all streaming platforms since its release.
Grace is signed to Big Mouth Records, and plans to release a new album in early 2017.
We had a chance to ask Grace a few questions. We think you’ll agree that she’ll be blazing musical trails for years to come!
“Your path will open up for you because if you’re being true to yourself, you’ll be on the right path.” – Grace Weber
Q & A
Q: When you were a young girl, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?
A: I wanted to be a singer! Music has always been in my bones. I really don’t remember the first time I sang; it feels like trying to remember my first word. Singing was like breathing; I simply loved music so deeply. Music gave color to my world and my imagination as a child…and, it still does today.
Q: What did people think when you told them that?
A: I am blessed to have a family who fully supported me and my dreams to be a recording artist and touring musician. I wouldn’t be where I am without their love and encouragement.
Q: Did people call you “princess” when you were a little girl and, if so, how did that make you feel?
A: I honestly don’t remember anyone calling me “princess”. I remember enjoying dressing up like a princess, and I used to have tea parties with my friends. But, I was also a big tomboy and loved playing sports, climbing trees and being a tough goalie in our summer street hockey games. I was lucky that I got to define myself when I was a little girl, and I didn’t have anyone telling me how I should act or pushing me into any defined gender roles.
As I got older, however, especially in the music industry, I did notice people pushing me to fit into a mold of femininity and sexuality, and I struggled with it. I didn’t want to let anyone down, so I tried to live up to the expectations of how a woman performer should look and act. These days, though, I have found the freedom and self confidence to dress, act and be who I am, which is a blend of femininity and masculinity, just like when I was a little girl. I have a majority of women on my team now as well, which is helpful in the regard that we can discuss what the different pressures of being a woman in music, learn how to handle it and rise above those pressures together.
Q: Did you have a mentor or role model who inspired you?
A: I was inspired by a lot of powerful women and men growing up. My dad is a huge inspiration to me. I have always looked up to him for his intelligence, his drive and his integrity. My dad taught me to treat others as I would want to be treated, to always take the high road and to remain humble and grateful. I am deeply grateful for his wisdom. My mom is also a huge inspiration. My mom’s heart is so big, she feels so deeply and she’s not afraid to show her emotions. Her empathy and deep care for others has always inspired me and her unconditional love for me helped me grow into the woman I am today. I also looked up to other strong and down to earth women like Mia Hamm, Eva Cassidy, India Arie, Nina Simone, Norah Jones and more.
Q: Did your family and friends support your aspirations?
A: Yes, I was really blessed to have an amazing support system growing up. When I was young, my friends and family were always encouraging me to sing, to step on that stage and to follow my dreams.
Q: What motivates you?
A: My love for music and collaboration in music, whether with fellow artists or with the audience through live performance, is what motivates me. I love sharing in the process of creating music, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with musicians whom I admire and respect. Right now, I am working on a new album with Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Nate Fox and Peter Cottontale, most known for their work with Chance the Rapper and on Nico’s album “Surf.” Getting to create with them in the studio every day is such a gift, and the art we’re creating feels important, feels like something I’m supposed to be creating and sharing. It gives me this incredible passion for life. In the same way, stepping onto a stage and getting to share my voice with audience is a gift and one that I try hard to not take for granted. I love connecting with strangers and friends through music and feel so blessed to get to do it.
Q: Of what are you most proud?
A: I am proud of some of the high pressure performances I’ve done. I am proud to have performed on Oprah, and I felt really proud when I sang the National Anthem at the New York Giants NFL game last fall. But, I think what I am most proud of is an honest pursuit to be a good and decent person. I am not perfect and I have made a lot mistakes, but I believe in trying every day to be the best version of yourself that you can, to be kind to others, to give back to the world, to try and forgive yourself when you fall and to get back up with integrity and purpose. I am proud that I wake up every day and try to pursue a journey of love and gratitude.
Q: What would you like people to learn from you?
A: I hope people learn, especially young singers, that being brave doesn’t mean being fearless. Being brave means doing what you love and doing what you have to do in spite of your fear. I also hope I pass on the importance of patience and listening to the signs the universe gives you. There have been a lot of times in my career where I pushed too hard when the time wasn’t right or when I pushed for something that wasn’t right for me because I was impatient or I wanted to be farther along than I was. Learning the art of patience, while I have not mastered it yet, has opened up my true path in so many ways. To young artists, my biggest advice is to let yourself grow. Be patient. Keep it simple and make the music and art that YOU make, make the art that you’re proud of, that you’re in love with. Harness your intensity for good and take the time to listen. Your path will open up for you because if you’re being true to yourself, you’ll be on the right path.
Q: What do you want people to know about you outside of your accomplishments?
A: My family and my close friends are what matter to me most in my life. I also have two pretty awesome cats named Roscoe and Rue.
Q: Who do you follow on social media that shares your passion for singing and songwriting?
A: So many! Jesse Boykins III, Francis Starlight, Leven Rambin Parrack, Laura Benanti, Jamila Woods, No Name Gypsy, Justine Skye, Margaret Glaspy, India Carney and more.
Q: If you could eat lunch with one person, who would it be?
A: Barack Obama
Q: Which woman would you choose to have on U.S. currency?
A: Eleanor Roosevelt or Billy Holiday
Bonus Question: What question would you ask the next Modern Day Trailblazer we interview?
A: How do you find balance in your life – between work life and home life and within the ups and downs of your journey?
- Grace’s boyfriend sent her the last text message she received.
- Her go-to karaoke songs are “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child
or “You Got It Bad” by Usher.
- Grace is usually late.
- She is currently binge-watching Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black,
Better Call Saul and House of Cards.
- Grace’s favorite quote is “It’s only when you risk failure that you
discover things. When you play it safe, you’re not expressing the utmost
of your human experience.” by Lupita Nyong’o.