We met up with the multi-talented Grace McLean and recorded a private performance of her latest song, just for Show-Score members! Check out our Q&A below to see where Grace gets her unique musical inspiration, her involvement in "Comet", and to find out how you can catch her performing live next week at the Rattlestick Theater.
Your music has such an incredibly unique sound! How would you personally describe it?
What'd my boyfriend call it? "Blue-Eyed Soul-Funk". I like to call it "Loopy-Soul-Pop" because looping is a big part of it, and I guess I just want you to know what you're getting into.
So, why a looper?
Well, I'm not a very good instrumentalist, and I'm trying to continue to learn — I grew up playing the saxophone, but you can't sing and play the saxophone. I just wanted a way to be self-contained, so I wouldn't have to have other people with me all the time, and to be able to perform and write with a more layered texture.
My voice is the instrument that I know how to play the best, so I figured that if I could harness that, that would cool.
I was introduced to Reggie Watts in 2007 when I was at Williamstown: this playwright, Tommy Smith, who had been working with him a lot showed me some videos of Reggie and I thought, "This guy is so weird and cool...I wanna do it too!" So that sort of first gave me the idea of using a looper, and when I wanted to get one as a birthday present for myself, I just googled, "What kind of looping station does Reggie Watts have?" and I got it.
Congrats on your upcoming Broadway debut! You've been with this production of "Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812" since 2013: what has that experience been like?
"Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812" has changed my life. I saw it in 2012 when it was at Ars Nova: on the last night, I went on the waitlist line and knew two of the people at the front of the line, so they let me be their plus one. The three of us got in, and nobody else got in! It was so cool, I was just drunk on the carafe of vodka that they gave us, just laughing and crying.
And later that year, it was my tenth year in New York, and I didn't really like what I was doing, which was being a nanny. I had my band, and I was doing cool projects, but it wasn't a sustainable career and I was tired. So I let go of whatever I thought a career in performing looked like, and then a couple of weeks later, I got a call from the "Comet" people asking me to audition. And I thought, "Oh, I don't really do that anymore," but I really loved the show and just wanted to tell them to their faces how much I loved it.
And then a couple of auditions later, they offered me the role of Marya Dmitriyevna, and I thought, "Well, I guess I should take that, because I really do love this show". And since then, I haven't stopped working as a performer.
Grace's first full-length album comes out next year, but you can check out her EPs Make Me Breakfast and Natural Disaster.
You can catch Grace on Wednesday, August 3rd, performing at the Rattlestick Theater! She will be appearing with Max Vernon as part of the New Songs Now unplugged summer concert series. Click here for details.