Digital Coverage: Gracie Abrams Takes Center Stage

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Decked out in Hedi Slimane’s ever-chic Celine, the new voice of Gen Z, Gracie Abrams, heads into 2022 with a new album of sophisticated pop music and a new in-person tour, kicking off this week

Decked out in Hedi Slimane’s ever-chic Celine, the new voice of Gen Z, Gracie Abrams, heads into 2022 with a new album of sophisticated pop music and a new in-person tour, kicking off this week

This story appears in the pages of V134: now available to order!

At only 22 years old, Gracie Abrams is already showing signs of greatness. After releasing his first album, Minor, in 2020, Abrams – whose clean vocals and highly introspective lyrics have made her a favorite among cool girls like Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift – traveled to her mother’s state of Maine to create That’s what it does, his second musical project, now available.

Encompassing his experiences during quarantine, That’s what it does details the feelings that went through the singer-songwriter during his isolation – sadness and melancholy, but also moments of humor and love. Tracks like “The Bottom” and “For Real This Time” have enough fast pace to be almost mistaken for pop songs, even if the lyrical content can be dark; while a song like “Rockland,” produced by The National’s Aaron Dressner with a slower tempo and thoughtful lyrics, reveals just how deep Abrams’ songwriting ability is. That’s what it does presents an emotional experience that transports you to the beautiful and dark world of Abrams. V spoke with Abrams from her family home in Los Angeles to discuss making her latest album, touring post-lockdown and how she hopes her music will help her often-romantic listeners.

    Gracie wears all Celine clothes and accessories, Les Grands Classiques Spring 2022 collection everywhere

V-MAGAZINE: Hi Grace! I thank you so much for doing this.

Grace Abrams: Oh my god, no thank you! I’ve been a big fan of the magazine for so long. It’s all pretty surreal, I had to pinch myself.

V: So when did you start writing music?

    Gracie wears a CELINE by Hedi Slimane Nevelson Project necklace in vermeil and oak wood ($5,300, available online at Celine.com)

Georgia: I started keeping a diary when I was very young, around seven or eight years old. I fell in love with it because it’s so secret and safe. When you’re young, you need an adult for almost everything in your life. But you don’t need anyone to keep a diary, and that’s very empowering. So writing music came naturally from there.

V: Do you think growing up in Los Angeles, and surrounded by people like your dad and all the people who work in the industry, pushed you to make music and be an artist?

Georgia: I think it’s inevitable. But it’s not like I told everyone I wanted to be a pop star when I was a kid. I’ve always been a very shy person with bad anxiety, and I definitely never wanted to sing in front of anyone. I feel lucky to now have the opportunity to make music professionally, but even if I wasn’t making music, I would still write. It makes me feel like I can function like a human. I don’t know what I would do without it.

    Gracie is wearing a CELINE by Hedi Slimane Maillon Triomphe necklace (in yellow gold and diamonds) ($3,800, available online at Celine.com), On Face MILK Makeup Blur Liquid Matte Foundation MILK Makeup Bionic Blush in Dusty Rose

V: When did you start releasing music to the world, and not just in your newspapers?

Georgia: When I was in high school, I wrote music and lyrics in the hallways. I wrote more often than now. I was literally doing it between classes and then recording something on my phone. But it was a great way to understand my writing style early on. So, I would write a track quickly, record it immediately, then put it on Instagram and not think twice about it. I did it enough that I guess a few people noticed it and a few things happened. It’s probably the best relationship I’ve ever had with social media. I remember thinking, “This is so fun and fulfilling at the same time!” I loved it.

V: And then your first big project, Minor, was released in 2020. It must have been a weird time for an album release… But you were able to do a virtual tour on Zooms. How was it?

Georgia: I’ve always been a little locked up. So, in fact, it was eerily similar to how I had interacted before the pandemic. I’ve always been someone who chose to spend a lot of time alone in their room, writing, reading and recording music. So when the pandemic hit, it was also weird blurred area thing. My peers who had had the pleasure of filming before really felt the loss. They talked about not being on the road, not being able to be with their touring families and fans in real time. But I still didn’t know what it did. So every virtual show I did felt like a step forward. The virtual tour allowed me to take small steps towards a full in-person performance. I really think I needed it more than I thought, and I’m glad I did.

    Gracie wears all CELINE clothes and accessories by Hedi Slimane, On the lips MILK Makeup Electric Glossy Lip Plumper in Coral

V: But then you were able to do real tours in the summer of 2021 to support Minor. How did that happen ? Was your anxiety really serious?

Georgia: It was fucking awesome! I had to be with everyone, it was like a family reunion every night with a family I had never met before. It was amazing. And I hope I will shoot more in 2022.

V: So let’s go That’s what it does, which is actually a preamble to a more complete album still to come, isn’t it?

Georgia: Yes! I wanted to do a fuller album some time ago after we released Minor, corn Minor was about a tumultuous relationship that had just ended, and I really wasn’t in a good place mentally and emotionally for quite a while. So I didn’t feel like I could commit enough to the process to achieve what I wanted the full album to be.

The songs on That’s what it does many came together in fragments, somehow scattered. I was recording it in Maine and in doing so, I felt like I was coming back to myself artistically. I wanted to capture that fever dream moment in my young adult life. I’ve always idealized the process of making an album, because I’m a real music fan. And inside, all the time, I felt like I was fidgeting, grabbing stuff and trying to write words that didn’t make sense. But I’m happy that it’s going like that now, because I don’t think I could have handled it last year. But I really feel ready for it now.

V: Much of your music is often about the ups and downs of past relationships and the fallout you’ve had from them. Do you feel like writing music has helped you focus on your love life?

    Gracie holds the CELINE by Hedi Slimane Cuir Triomphe Shoulder Bag (in red smooth calfskin) ($1,550, available online at Celine.com)

Georgia: Oh my god, it helped more than anything… except maybe real therapy and sometimes talking to my mom. I relied on songwriting as my number one creative outlet for nearly 15 years. It’s a lot of time. But it’s also my real passion, and I really need it to stay sane. In my adult life as a writer, I’ve been able to revisit things and make sense of them and make those experiences digestible to me. Being able to help me in this way is something I certainly don’t take for granted.

V: And do you hope your music will help other people struggling in a relationship?

Georgia: Yes, that’s what music has been for me. To feel recognized in a song is an incredible feeling. You listen to the track and think to yourself that there’s at least one other human being out there who understands what I’m feeling and going through…and therefore, I’m a lot less alone. If I could do this for just one person, it would be a dream come true. I know how important music has been throughout my life, literally every day. Even if the comfort you get from it is temporary. Sometimes all you need is a two and a half minute song to make your day a good day.

V: What are your hopes for the rest of the year?

Georgia: Definitely the possibility of filming in 2022 is incredible. I can’t wait to reconnect with my people in real life. We’ve all been waiting to see each other for a long time. And I’m so grateful for this opportunity to bring my music to the world [again]!

This story appears in the pages of V134: now available to order!

Credits:

Makeup Rob Rumsey (A-Frame)

Sheridan Ward Hairstyle

Manicure Riley Miranda (Opus Beauty)

using Chanel Le Vernis

Assistant Stylist Blake Carnes

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