Grace Mitchell‘s music will never put you in a bad mood. The Los Angeles via Portland, Oregon singer-songwriter creates immensely moving songs; whether they are sad or happy, they create warmth. An early-blooming talent (she’s 18), Mitchell has already worked with Foster the People’s Mark Foster (co-producer of second EP, Raceday) and contributed music to the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty). She also had a pretty cool opening gig for the Weeknd in the United Kingdom. Of most significance to readers right now, Mitchell begins a tour with St. Lucia on March 1st in Vancouver, B.C. And this Wednesday, March 2nd, Mitchell makes her first Seattle appearance ever when she opens for St. Lucia. Get to know Grace Mitchell!
Q: How did you learn to sing?
Grace Mitchell: My mom was really good at singing. I think singing in the car with her and hanging out with her inspired me for singing. That’s how I learned. She’s super supportive.
Q: The video for “NoLo” is very cool. Where did you film it?
GM: I filmed that at Echo Park in Los Angeles.
Q: And where did the video’s cat come from? The cat has a pretty adorable role.
GM: The cat was the director’s cat. I’m allergic to cats.
Q: Starting out, had you put your music up on SoundCloud, and got discovered that way?
GM: It kind of happened the opposite way. I was working with someone and he put the songs up on SoundCloud. We did the same thing with the first EP and second EP, although we had a full internet stream on iTunes and spotify for the second EP. I’d been working with producers for a while before I released the first EP.
How did you get onto The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack? Your cover of Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” is great.
GM: It was suggested to me by their label. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was looking for someone who could cover it (“Maneater”). They chose me. I made my own rendition of it, and it ended up working really well. Luckily I already really loved Hall & Oates, and especially that song, so I felt honored and excited to perform it.
GM: The Internet. He’s a French artist. We were scouring the Internet, looking for an international artist to feature on my songs. He fit the bill.
Q: One of the producers of Raceday is Foster the People’s Mark Foster. How did you and he meet up?
GM: I first met Mark in Los Angeles; he and I have the same publisher. We immediately had a good connection. We continued to write music together, and ended up writing an entire EP.
GM: I really like that song and appreciate him as an artist. I think it turned out pretty well. The guy who’s on tour with me right now – the guitarist and DJ – helped me produce it.
Q: The cover photos for both and Design and Raceday are lovely. How involved were you in that process?
GM: I was adamant about what the covers were going to look like. It’s got to be a good representation of who I am. I think they’re very raw.
Q:When you’re not working on music, what else are you interested in?
GM: I read a lot. I try to do a lot of other creative mediums as well, like watercolor painting. I do a lot of hiking. It’s kind of a bummer, because I wish I could get into movies more. I just realized, recently, that movies kind of give me anxiety. I don’t know what that’s about. Maybe it’s the sitting in one place.
Q:You’re really into art.
GM: I’ve been focusing lately on self-portraits. I heard once that it’s healthy for artists to do at least one self-portrait every month. I like to read a lot of Beatnik poetry and history. And the Factory in the 1960s; the prairie in the 1800s West.
Q: How terrifying was opening for the Weeknd?
GM: I was really sick, so I didn’t feel the full anxiety of the situation.