Grace Lachance exudes fearlessness. At just 18 years old, this Stittsville singer-songwriter is very much an artist on the rise. After winning RBC Bluesfest’s contest She’s The One back in 2015, Grace has wasted no time fine-tuning her skills and making the most of every opportunity she is given. With a new EP just released in February, and a huge network of support, Grace has plans for 2019 to be another year of hard work and success.
What are your favourite memories from growing up in Ottawa?
There are so many. I would have to say that most of my memories are with the people that I’ve been fortunate enough to have met here. Ottawa and especially Stittsville, where I live, is a pretty tight-knit community. Growing up here has been incredible. I have loved performing at Ottawa Bluesfest. Performing on stage always gives me a huge adrenaline rush. It’s amazing to have so many people come out to support my career… I am very lucky.
When did you get into music and what got you hooked?
I started singing at around age 3. I started writing songs when I was 9 and I picked up the guitar at 11. One way or another, music will always be a part of my life. I don’t think that there was anything in particular that got me hooked. It was instinctive for me from the beginning.
You really got your start after winning RBC Bluesfest’s contest She’s the One,in 2015, which led to you releasing your first single under Universal Music Canada. You’ve come a long way since then – what has the experience been like working with various musicians and producers along the way?
The experience has been unbelievable. There are so many lessons that I have learned as both an artist and as a person in general. At age 15, I trusted my singing abilities, but I had not yet had the chance to explore other aspects of music. Now, I trust my instincts, I trust my ear and I understand that I have abilities within music that extend beyond just singing. Once I started viewing myself as a writer who happens to sing, rather than a singer who happens to write, the quality of my songs significantly improved. The musicians and producers that I have worked with along the way have helped to strengthen my mindset and to inspire these changes. Julie Kathryn, who produced the majority of my EP, has been a real mentor for me. She welcomed every idea with enthusiasm and she pushed me to trust my instincts, even when they seemed eccentric. Every day in the studio was a creative challenge and that was my favorite part about the creation of this EP.
Your debut EP album was just released in February. How would you describe your new music?
The inspiration for the songs come from the name of the EP, “When Lightning Strikes”. The title suggests that this EP is a new and perhaps unexpected energy. Each song is a response to my life and my experiences. When lightning strikes, it’s a culmination of energy that eventually combusts. I think most importantly, it’s not the calm; it’s the storm. I would describe my new music as layered and punchy with singer-songwriter tones and urban blend mixes. My new music is still within the realm of pop, but it’s darker thematically.
We know you’re a big fan of jiu-jitsu. Tell us the story behind your martial arts themed video “Strong”, released in January.
Yes, I’ve been doing martial arts since I was 5 or 6. I will admit that originally, I was very skeptical about being filmed doing martial arts. After doing some more thinking, I came to the conclusion that “Strong” is an empowering song which marks a coming of age. I needed to push myself and attempt something that felt slightly out of my comfort zone. This song is important to me since it’s a reminder that it’s not vain to understand our own strength; it’s rather important in acknowledging our own ability to influence change, both within ourselves and outwardly as well. This song was a chance to showcase something unique. I was able to do the only other thing that I feel is just as ingrained in me as music which was great.
What’s your favourite local venue to play shows at?
Ottawa Bluesfest for sure! Bar Robo, Quitters, and Live on Elgin are some other venues that I really love.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in terms of reaching your goals with music?
I remember a few years ago I was telling my great-grandma about how I was worried about making a mistake at a live performance. I went on to say that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I made a mistake on stage since there wouldn’t be a huge crowd. My great-grandma said that if I wanted to succeed at anything in life, everything had to be a big deal. She said that as soon as you consider something as “not a big deal”, you automatically set yourself up for failure. Since then, every opportunity has been a big deal for me. Both in music and in life, that was a piece of advice that has really stuck with me.
What are your goals for 2019, and what’s next for you?
I always try to consider goals in a broad sense. In 2019, I want to work as hard as I can and hopefully succeed to whatever extent I can manage. Truthfully, I never know what’s next for me as things always have the potential to change so quickly and drastically. I am also a very unpredictable person so it’s hard to know for sure where I’ll be next month, let alone next year.