Interview: Grace Carter on her single 'Why Her Not Me' and her upcoming tour
The UK’s Grace Carter released one of the most outstanding songs of the year - if not the decade - in September, ‘Why Her Not Me.’ A heartbreaking track with touches of Adele, it deals with the anguish of her father leaving her family to start a new family. With the ability to produce such stunning music as just 20, it is proof many great things are ahead for Grace and we recently chatted to her about her career, her music and her upcoming tour.
Hi Grace! Your latest single ‘Why Her Not Me’ is absolutely magnificent! Can you talk us through the emotions behind the song and what it means to you?
Thank you so much, that’s very kind of you. I wrote the song with a guy called Mike Kintish who I’ve written a few of my songs with. One day I was in the studio with Mike and I got a message and I realised that when my dad left me and my mum he’d left to start up another life with another family. For a long time I’d kind of accepted the fact that my dad wasn’t in my life, that it was just him, he just can’t have children. But then I realised he could have children, but he just didn’t want me. I was talking to Mike and I said ‘why does he want them and not me. Why can’t he be my dad? Why can he be their dad and not mine?’ I kept on saying the same thing and he just said ‘you’ve just said the song.’ The song literally wrote itself in I’d say about an hour and a half. It was just everything that I was feeling in that moment and the shock, the anger, the frustration, but also the hurt.
Do you know if your father has heard the song?
I’m sure he has. I don’t have a relationship with my dad anymore. But, yeah, I’m sure he has. I just hope other fathers who have left their children realise how much they power they have. They hold a lot of power and I don’t think they sometimes realise that their decisions really do affect those of their children.
You have spoken in the past about being a very angry teenager, but music helped you through those difficult years?
I wrote my first song when I was 13 years old. My mum had met my step dad and he’s a musician and he saw a lot of the pain that I carried through my childhood and he encouraged me to talk about the things that I was questioning and confused and angry about. So he bought me a guitar and encouraged me to write my first song. When I wrote my first song, that was the time that I really, really fell in love with singing because I meant everything that I was saying. I was used to singing other people’s songs, but when I wrote my first song that was 100% coming from me and my feelings and what I wanted to say, that felt amazing. As soon as I had that guitar and I was given the three chords that I learned and the tools to just sit in my room and talk about things I’d never spoken about before, it was pretty instant that my mum saw a change in me. For the first time, I had this thing that lifted that pain off me and allowed me to be happy and be a child and have fun and talk about things that I was feeling and release them and not have them bother me anymore.
Your songs deal with very personal issues and are at times very raw lyrically. Do you ever feel scared, or vulnerable releasing your private, personal feelings for the whole world to hear and dissect?
100% but I also think there’s a lot of strength in vulnerability. There’s a lot of strength in telling people that you’re not okay. Obviously, it’s scary putting myself out there and sharing a lot of myself and my feelings but it’s also so empowering. It’s the job of people like me or other songwriters that can write these songs that mean something to them that other people can kind of put their lives onto. For me, it’s nerve racking but it’s amazing when I see so many people relate to the feeling I have, and we can share that together.
You are about to embark on a UK and European tour this week - how are you feeling about that?
I’m feeling so excited. I have just been in rehearsals for the last three days. I have toured with a lot of people - I toured with Dua Lipa last year, I’ve toured with Rag’n’Bone Man, HAIM. The female power of the three of HAIM coming together is just the most inspirational thing I’ve ever seen. [After] touring with so many other people, it’s kind of a bit amazing for me that finally it’s my chance to have my name on a ticket and have people come and see me. So I’m really, really excited. I’m super nervous as well because I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I hope to come to Australia at some point.
There’s talk of a debut album from you next year - how is that coming along?
All I’ll say is that I’ve been working on it with two of my best friends. It’s been an amazing process. For me it’s kind of all the letters that I’ve never sent and all the things I’ve never said out loud just in one body of work that I hope people can connect to and understand me more through listening to. I don’t want to say too much because it’s not actually done yet (laughs). But, it’s definitely in the process of being made and I’m really excited to share more of myself with people.
So tour and album coming up - after that what’s next for Grace Carter?
I think just more of me, more videos, more of my stories. Of course, more music. I am just super excited to share more of myself with everyone and kind of have as many people as possible hear my music in the next year.
Grace Carter starts her UK and European tour on Monday 22nd October.
October 22 - Soup Kitchen, Manchester, UK Tickets
October 23 - Sugar Club, Dublin, Ireland Tickets
October 25 - Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow, UK Tickets
October 27 - Chapel, Leeds, UK Tickets
October 29 - Village Underground, London, UK Tickets
November 2 - Les Etoiles Theatre, Paris, France Tickets
November 3 - Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Tickets
November 5 - Botanique, Brussels, Belgium Tickets
November 6 - Privatclub, Berlin, Germany Tickets
November 7 - Studio 672, Cologne, Germany Tickets
March 28 - Electric Brixton, London, UK Tickets