Toronto-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist GRAE has just revealed her debut album ‘Whiplash’. The 11-track record is led by standout single Boxes and includes previous singles Forget You and Room In The Desert.
On ‘Whiplash’, GRAE crafts a hazy pop world filled with spacious vocals, buoyant production, and deeply personal lyrics. It’s both starkly intimate and boldly ambitious. With over 20 million streams to her name, GRAE has become one of the fastest-rising names in alt-pop, with her music featured on TV shows including Nancy Drew, The Bold Type and Netflix’s Virgin River.
On the release of her debut album, GRAE comments, “’Whiplash’ was born during a time of confusion and indecisiveness. Falling in and out of love with people I thought would be in my life forever but found myself desperately trying to forget. Did I love them, hate them, want to remember them or forget them? I was drowning in the nostalgia of a past I romanticised while coming to terms with the truth of it all. The album is so back and forth in emotion, but so am I. That’s how the title ‘Whiplash’ came to be. When you think you understand where I’m going with something, the mood changes and everything is back at square one. It’s an album filled with so much self-reflection, love, heartbreak, and discovery. Just like anything I write, it was really therapeutic for me to get these feelings out. I’m looking forward to the release, as creating an album has always been my goal, and finally putting one out there is really exciting.”
GRAE has been writing music since the age of 10. After her mother passed away when she was young, she and her father used music as a way to bond. He bought a record player, and the pair would listen to a new vinyl every day, broadening her musical horizons. GRAE’s music sees her dig through the musical inspirations of her upbringing and reimagine them through a new lens, coloured by 23 years of experience. Her influences are deeply rooted in ‘80s new wave from The Cure to Joy Division, but she’s also studied the singer/songwriter masters like Rodriguez. Album track Spinning is the most obvious ode to this time – “Elton John, classic songs, it’s the crime of the century / Spinnin’ on repeat,” she sings with vivid recollection. “It all just stems from my Dad. He was always playing music; he was always listening to music”, she says.
Her newfound musical confidence has led to her most daring work yet sonically and lyrically. She’s using music as a tool to process life’s difficult situations, and she’s not leaving anything off the table. From relationships to periods of personal darkness, she’s putting it all in the music. “It’s important to let [listeners] know that there’s no way that anyone is perfect or doesn’t go through a period where they want to change”, she says. “That’s relatable, and it doesn’t mean you’re weak.” The infusion of nostalgia and a strong sense of her own musical identity has resulted in an assured, exhilarating debut album. Like the rest of us, she’s ever-evolving, and her cathartic, energized music documents that in real-time.
‘Whiplash’ follows GRAE’s debut 2020 EP ‘Permanent Maniac’, which has garnered over 5 million streams to date. The title track Permanent Maniac was named in Billboard’s ‘30 Best Pop Songs of 2020’. Meanwhile, she’s featured on Spotify’s ‘indie pop & chill’, and ‘Outliers’, and has been named Apple Music Canada’s ‘Artist of the Week’ and is currently Amazon Canada’s ‘Breakthrough Artist’ for April. In addition, both Permanent Maniac and Soft reached the Top 40 of Canadian Alternative Radio, while the latter reached #4 on CBC Top 20.
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With thanks to Good Intent