Toronto artist-to-watch GRAE talks to Atwood Magazine about her musical inspirations, harassment and female empowerment, and the importance of making this a “Woman’s World.”
Stream: “Woman’s World” – GRAE
I want the title “Woman’s World” to spark conversation. I want it to be a reason women unite and start speaking up about their own experiences.
Toronto singer/songwriter GRAE has already made a name for herself through two outstanding song releases in 2019, and she’s now closing out this year on an even higher note as she channels an important message into a stirring basin of song. Churning with raw and passionate emotion, GRAE’s third single “Woman’s World” finds her denouncing misogyny and toxic masculinity through a sleek, cool, and confident anthemic tidal force. The young songwriter hits her stride in a track that challenges – nay, demands – that we open our eyes “and see a woman’s world.”
It’s an inspiring line that deserves to be heard and embracedthroughout the world.
Honey, I’ll break it down for you
You’re just a man
No matter what you do
So if you see a girl
With brains and her heart in side
But call her pretty thing
You’re crossing the border line
Independently released August 28, 2019, “Woman’s World” comes on the heels of “Your Hands” and “New Girl,” which introduced GRAE to the greater populace just a few short months ago. Atwood Magazine previously featured “Your Hands” as one of our Editor’s Picks, praising the song’s “dazzling, softly intense and emotive soundscape” and noting how the artist “has an absolutely enthralling, cool, and smooth rhythmic alt-pop style about her.”
GRAE’s darker take on the alt-pop vocals-and-synth arrangement comes with the aid of her UK-based producer (and an artist in his own right), KYAN – but there’s no mistaking who’s in control throughout: On “Woman’s World,” GRAE’s ire and disgust radiate through emotive vocals that, with the help of cold synths and various percussion, shine throughout every corner of this turbulent song.
I know you be lacking inside, it’s alright
looking for the meaning of life in your lie
following the way of the man and mankind
maybe open your eyes and see a woman’s world
For GRAE, it’s all about sending a strong message of female empowerment. “I want women to know that they’re powerful, can achieve anything, and they don’t owe anyone, especially a man, anything,” she says.
“Woman’s World was written from a place of disappointment and anger after a night out with my best friend. After having experienced my first real encounter with street harassment. It’s infuriating that women continue to get harassed, yelled at, even grabbed and touched by men in public places. What’s even more upsetting is how often it happens and how it’s almost deemed as this regular thing that we need to just “deal with” as women. It’s a topic that upsets me and one that needs to be talked about more. I have many friends who have experienced sexual harassment, and I myself have too. After having heard stories from many who are close to me, and then having experienced it myself, it was clear that I needed to say something.”
“Woman’s World” is for the women who have experienced these disgusting acts. It’s a song of empowerment and one that I really hope brings us closer and opens more doors to these types of conversations.
GRAE’s debut EP New Girl is expected to release this fall, and will feature her three previously-released songs and one more as-of-yet unreleased track. With her strong stances on important issues and an ear for crafting fresh and dynamic sounds, GRAE is most certainly an artist to watch. Those interested in more female empowerment songs should also listen to Australian singer/songwriter WILSN’s “Fight Like a Girl,” an inspiring sonic FLAG that rises out of intimate depths to become a showstopping “fight song.”
Atwood Magazine recently spoke with GRAE about her musical inspirations, harassment and female empowerment, and the importance of making this a “Woman’s World.” Get to know this exciting up-and-comer through our exclusive interview below, and stay tuned for more as GRAE prepares for her forthcoming debut EP release!
With her strong stances on important issues and an ear for crafting fresh and dynamic sounds, GRAE is most certainly an artist to watch.
Atwood Magazine: GRAE, your introduction to the world so far has been nothing short of emphatic, with each song showing a new side to you and your musicality. Did you intend for this to happen?
GRAE: Thank you so much. The topics I wrote about are my own stories and personal experiences that I’ve gone through. I don’t think I ever intended on it to happen, it was just a period I went through and I allowed myself to get the emotions out and write about it.
Taking a step back, how do you define your artistry?
GRAE: I’d like to think I’m an honest artist, someone who opens doors to conversations that aren’t necessarily talked about as much as they should be.
What inspired you to write songs?
GRAE: My own experiences and wanting to get the feelings out.
What is your primary instrument, and what was your musical upbringing like?
GRAE: My primary instrument is guitar! I picked it up at around age 10 – that’s also when I stared writing songs. I wrote my first one on the top bunk of an overnight camp I was going to and I haven’t looked back since. I grew up listening to all types of genres, the music played in my house hold was very diverse thanks to my Dad. Everything from Pink Floyd to Norah Jones. It definitely shaped who I am as not only an artist, but also a person.
Why did you opt to introduce yourself with “New Girl”?
GRAE: I think “New Girl” is a cool tune that gave a good introduction into who I am as an artist. It’s sassy and cool at the same time, and has its own thing going on.
I love the musical backbeat supporting “Your Hands.” How did you go about making this song?
GRAE: When I started writing Your Hands I sang “Dun Dun Dun Dun” to show how I wanted the song to sound instrumentally, but my producer KYAN thought it sounded cool so we kept it as the main part in the song. He also added a lot of percussion and beat boxing over top which I adore.
Are you naturally a musical experimenter, or do you consider yourself more of the traditional singer and songwriter type?
GRAE: I’m definitely an experimenter. I love exploring different things and adding all types of influences into my music to create a unique sounding song.
This bring us to “Woman’s World,” your most personal and passionate release yet. I understand this was brought on by an experience with street harassment; can you talk about why that experience shook you so?
GRAE: Not only is it my experience with street harassment, but women in general experience these things every single day. I felt the need to speak up for us. My personal experience shook me because I didn’t understand how anyone could think it’s okay to say such horrendous things or even put their hands on me. I’ve been out at night and had men grab me, touch me in not okay places, and then when I deny them and get angry they start throwing awful comments at me. It’s not okay. Point, period, blank.
How did you get from that negative experience to the concept of being a “Woman’s World”?
GRAE: I want the title “Woman’s World” to spark conversation. I want it to be a reason women unite and start speaking up about their own experiences. I want women to know that they’re powerful, can achieve anything, and they don’t owe anyone, especially a man, anything. We have to start these conversations and we have to keep carrying them on. I hope my song allows that.
I love the line, “every single inch of my body is mine.” It’s truly the line that makes this song, for me. Can you talk about the importance of that line, for you?
GRAE: This line is very important. After having heard similar stories about harassment from women close to me, it seriously angers and hurts me to know there’s men out there who think it’s okay to touch a woman non-consensually. Our bodies aren’t for men, or their pleasure. Our bodies are beautiful, sacred, and ours. Once again, we don’t owe anyone anything and just because we’re out at night, looking good, doesn’t mean men automatically have a pass to put their hands on us.
Our bodies aren’t for men, or their pleasure. Our bodies are beautiful, sacred, and ours
What was the recording process like for this track?
GRAE: This track is one I’m very proud of. I was so passionate recording it and I remember feeling so powerful. I’m happy that I’m speaking up and hopefully sparking important conversation. It’s a good feeling.
Thanks GRAE! Finishing up, what other artists should i be listening to / have on our radar right now?
GRAE: I’ve been listening to this artist called Litany. She’s dope!
Lastly, what’s coming up for you for the rest of 2019?
GRAE: I have one more release to go! Then my entire EP will be out. So I’m excited for that.
Stream: “Woman’s World” – GRAE
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📸 © Lizzie O’Donnell
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