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ARTIST TO WATCH + Q&A: Valencia Grace

Written by Skylar Zachian. Published: April 19 2024


If you’re looking for a new music artist to obsess over, we’ve got you covered! 20 year-old London-based singer Valencia Grace has an extremely powerful and undoubtedly captivating voice. Whether sharing covers on TikTok or performing original songs on stage, she pours unfiltered emotion into each note. We recently chatted with Valencia about her musical inspirations, her brand new EP Roses, her upcoming performance at Lollapalooza, and more. Check out the full interview below!


YH: You started songwriting when you were 15. Can you tell us a little bit about what got you into that process? 

VG: When I was 7 or 8 years old, I decided that, because I was a musical theater kid, it would be fun to start a daycare where parents leave their kids with me and I would direct a musical for them. So I was like, “Okay, first step, write a musical.” That’s the first time I wrote songs. Then when I was 15, I had gone through something pretty traumatic, and I got put through this very specific type of therapy. I got to the point where I didn't need the therapy anymore. I decided to pick up the guitar and start writing. So it didn't come from a place of, “Oh, I would like to be an artist. So I'm going to start writing songs.” I just really needed to find a way to tell my story and, you know, find peace with myself.


YH: Your sound is inspired by Motown and soul. What specifically draws you to these genres?

VG: I am very into Motown and  jazz singers like Aretha [Franklin] and Etta James. And I'd always been told that I was really loud growing up. I felt that they were really loud, but they're beautiful and they sound incredible. So I was like, “I can be loud and have it be a good thing.” I just fell in love with them, and I was like, “I want to be like that.” And then obviously I grew into my own artistry, but that's where it all comes from.


YH: What’s your all-time favorite song and why?

VG: Oh my gosh, there's one song, and it has nothing to do with Motown or anything, but for whatever reason, it’s my favorite. “Hard Times” by Paramore. I literally play that song whenever I'm feeling sad, and all of a sudden I'm up dancing and I'm like, “Wait, life is pretty great.”


YH: What has your experience been like turning your love for music into a career?

VG: I remember when I did my first ever writing session, I struggled with allowing my passion and my hobby to become a job. I remember putting the headphones on and singing into the mic for the first time being like, “Oh wow! I’m capitalizing on something that saved my life.” I was really struggling with the transition of it being something that saved me to, “Okay, this is a job now.” But now I’m back on the emotional side of all of it. Every time I finish a song, it's like I've boxed up my trauma and put a pretty little bow on it — I've turned my sadness into something pretty.


YH: You described yourself as a theater kid and someone who loves musicals. If you could be in any Broadway show, what would it be?

VG: I feel like I should be saying something like Hamilton, but Shrek the Musical is literally my all-time favorite. And I’d totally be Shrek. That would be really cool. I'd be a great Shrek. I know all the lines already, like, I'm very prepared. 


YH: You just released a new EP entitled Roses! You’ve said the songs on Roses reflect the stages of grief experienced in an estranged relationship. Can you tell us more about your songwriting process for this EP? Did you write them in order? Why did you choose to title it Roses?

VG: "Roses" was the first one I wrote. I think I wrote "Roses" when I was 15 or 16. Finally I was like, “Okay, I get to use this one." And then I was like, “Why did I pick this one?” I realized it was because the song was about my biological mother. And so, that's what all the other songs needed to be about as well. Roses has five letters, so I decided that each of the 5 tracks together should spell out Roses — "Roses", "Opera", "Speechless", "Estranged", and "Skin". The songs were already written, but I changed the titles. "Estranged" used to be called "mother", but I needed an E. So I switched that. I needed an O, and I was watching a Quentin Tarantino film, the QT8 documentary. There’s a quote in it that says something like, “The violence was opera,” and I just thought that was really beautiful. So I wrote that down and titled one of my songs "Opera". All of the songs sort of fell into place. 


YH: Were some songs on the EP more challenging to write than others?

VG: They all pretty much came very naturally and quite quickly. “Speechless” was really hard to write, not because it was harder to put together, but it was difficult emotionally. It's the first time where I pretty much say many things which to me are painful to relive. Writing that one was very emotional, very eye-opening. “Opera” I wrote without music. I wrote that one in the car. So that was also kind of challenging because I had the whole production in my head, but I didn't have a guitar with me. I just thought, “I must write right now.”

@valenciagrace ‘speechless’ out on all streaming platforms #newmusic♬ original sound - Valencia Grace


YH: Can you share some of your favorite lyrics from the EP?

VG: In “Roses”... “all the roses that you give / all the dancing that we do”. I love “Roses” lyrically as a whole. There's this poem that I learned in GCSE called "Roses". And it was about a mother who would abuse her child, and it was really, really awful, but the whole metaphor was roses being bruises and dancing being beaten up. I just loved how it kind of sounded like a love poem. It’s so dark, but it doesn’t sound dark. 




YH: You recently had your first ever headline show! Tell us about it!

VG: I was nervous about the turnout because I'd never, you know, sold tickets before. I went on stage shaking in my boots, and I went to sing my first words, and as soon as I opened my mouth, everyone was just screaming the words back at me. I've never experienced that type of security and peace and love. I was just looking around during the show and people were crying and it was really beautiful. I felt so relaxed. Music is just such an incredible thing that brings people together, and it's so beautiful to be a part of. Any sort of community like that. Yeah, great experience. 


you guys make me feel less alone.

♬ original sound - Valencia Grace


YH: You were recently announced on the Lollapalooza lineup. What did that feel like when you learned about that? 

VG: I didn't know it was actually happening, and then people were messaging me being like, “You're on the Lolla lineup!” And I'm like, “No way!” It's really cool. Also, doing gigs in the States is really sick. I love American crowds. They're very receptive. I had my first ever rose thrown on stage to me while performing in the States. So I'm really excited to go back. For my set, I'll probably be doing something acoustic. I think having it stripped back is just a great way to introduce myself and show people the writing rather than a big fancy production.


YH: If you had to make a signature perfume to reflect your personality and your music, what ingredients would you use?

VG: Okay, so I would want the perfume to be black with a red hue of sparkles. I would want it to make your skin feel spicy and burn a little bit, but in a sexy way. It would smell sweet, like a mixture of vanilla and floral, in a mature way. And I would want it to have one of those little pom pom things that you use to put it on! That's it. That's my perfume.


YH: If you could manifest your career goals right here and now and have everything come true, what would you want to put out into the universe? What big milestones or moments are you looking forward to most?

VG: So my long-term goals are to be able to relive that recent headline show, but even bigger and across more cultures around the world. I would love to be able to do a world tour. That would be really beautiful. Really fun. And honestly, to have a healthy career, because the music industry can be quite hard for artists and hard for young women specifically. So to stay safe during my career is a really important goal for me, and to make it to the end and look back and think, “That would make a beautiful movie.” Rather than, you know, look back and think I was too scared to do stuff because of how frightening it could be.


YH: What does 2024 hold for Valencia Grace? What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

VG: A lot of music, like, so much music. I've just been writing so much!


Want Valencia to grace you with her voice? Stream Roses now and stay updated on all things Valencia Grace here!