“Lose your heart in the process”: Gracie and Rachel Find the “Middle Ground” in Stirring New Song & Video

Gracie and Rachel "Middle Ground" © Louise de Nexon
Gracie and Rachel "Middle Ground" © Louise de Nexon
Tender, ethereal, and utterly enchanting, Gracie and Rachel’s “Middle Ground” is a hauntingly intimate indie pop exploration of human connection.
Stream: “Middle Ground” – Gracie and Rachel




Every relationship, from love and partnership to work and friendship, is a balance: A give and take of emotions, ideas, energy levels, and more. There are so many ways for us to throw that dynamic off its axel – pulling too hard in one direction by focusing on ourselves, or pushing too hard in the other direction by giving our full selves, and not receiving anything in return. It’s when we find that symbiosis in-between that things take off – when we’re both supported and supporting, nurtured and nurturing, that we’re able to succeed both independently, and together. Indie pop duo Gracie and Rachel’s new single is in many ways an ode to inner workings of their own partnership, but more importantly, it’s a tribute to the dynamic they’ve established that has enabled them to persist and persevere for nearly a decade now. Tender, ethereal, and utterly enchanting, “Middle Ground” is an intimate exploration of human connection.

Nowhere Now Here - Gracie and Rachel
Nowhere Now Here – Gracie and Rachel
What do you have to say
Before the ticking time bomb goes off
What do you have to say
Do you have to say
Be mean cold as ice
Lose your heart in the process
Or be sweet just be nice
Lose your heart in the process

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the song and music video for “Middle Ground,” the third single taken off Gracie and Rachel’s upcoming EP Nowhere Now Here, out May 19 via Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records. Actively releasing music since 2017 and friends for even longer, Gracie and Rachel is the New York-based duo of keyboardist Gracie Coates and violinist Rachel Ruggles, who for years now have been dazzling our ears with their vivid alt/indie pop music and pure, uninhibited expressions of the raw human experience.

In premiering the duo’s last EP a whisper becomes a shout in 2021, Atwood Magazine praised Gracie and Rachel for their hushed, hauntingly intimate and fragile outpourings of self-expression: “A soft, stirring, moody immersion into the depths of self and sound, a whisper becomes a shout highlights the very best of the band as they embrace sonic tenderness and emotional vulnerability.”

Gracie and Rachel © Landon Yost
Gracie and Rachel © Landon Yost



Nowhere Now Here is yet another evolution, finding the duo exploring distance, intimacy, togetherness, and separation. “The record is an exploration of ‘what if,’” Gracie and Rachel explain. “What if we didn’t live together but collaborated from afar, what if we chose synthesizers over pianos, space over strings, to sing to each other rather than with one another. What if instead of being tightly wound, we were in fact just a bunch of loose knots. What if we had no hesitations about taking a chance on going somewhere new, and what if we also had no idea if we were guaranteed a seat at the table when we got there. What if we had no reservations… What if we were nowhere, now here…

The EP’s first two singles “Call Away” and “Selfish” set its foundations as a visceral reflection on relationships and unbound emotions, and “Middle Ground” fittingly follows suit. The dark pop song aches with tension and heat as Gracie and Rachel pick apart the ways in which a partnership can fall apart, and how they themselves work to hold it all together:

When do we find that middle ground
The kind that doesn’t feel too loud
One that still makes a sound
The thing that turns your life around
Oh it’s a rush, oh it’s a rush
Into self submission
Oh it’s a rush oh it’s a rush
Losing ambition
Gracie and Rachel © Sara Lauf
Gracie and Rachel © Sara Lauf



“In our dynamic, as two people who have lived, worked, breathed practically every moment together for the past nine years, there has been a lot of push and pull in finding the middle ground between us (be mean, cold as ice, lose your heart in the process, or be sweet, just be nice, lose your heart in the process),” Gracie and Rachel tell Atwood Magazine. “This song explores the realization that extremes get you nowhere. In either extreme, the positive or the negative, you lose yourself. When you find the middle ground, you have the ability to set yourself and others free.”

Everyone wants to be loved
And that is no one’s fault
Nobody wants the hatred
But we seem to need it all

Like an artful behind-the-scenes expose, the Louise de Nexon-directed music video brings the song’s intensity to life – highlighting Gracie and Rachel as a unit, and as separate entities. “Listening to ‘Middle Ground,’ I spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of a duo and what it means to be multiple yet singularly whole,” director Louise de Nexon explains. “Conceptually, the driving force was finding visuals that showcased this strive for balance between individuality and togetherness. I wanted for Gracie and Rachel to feel simultaneously extremely close and deeply separated.”

“We worked on creating a world that visually embodied what it feels like to try and regain balance in a friendship or any sort of relationship. In a slightly post-apocalyptic, somewhat broken house, Gracie and Rachel are confronted by immaterial forces, sometimes together, often separated. At the core of the video, the dancing sequence embodies love and balance – in full wind, the two individuals physically lean into one another, moving gracefully as one amongst a seemingly divisive chaos. Together, they seek to find a middle ground.”

Gracie and Rachel "Middle Ground" © Louise de Nexon
Gracie and Rachel “Middle Ground” © Louise de Nexon



When do we find that middle ground
The kind that doesn’t feel too loud
One that still makes a sound
The thing that turns your life around
When do we find that middle ground
The kind that doesn’t feel too loud
One that still makes a sound
The thing that turns your life around

“Middle Ground” is raw, real, and human.

Gracie and Rachel dove deep into themselves in the creation of this song, and in doing so they wound up tapping a universal truth to which all can relate. Stream their new single exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and stay tuned for Nowhere Now Here‘s upcoming May release!

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Stream: “Middle Ground” – Gracie and Rachel



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