Gracie Abrams on Her Best New Artist Grammy Nomination

It’s a gray December day and Gracie Abrams is at Long Pond. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has been tucked away at Aaron Dessner and The National’s Hudson Valley recording enclave for a week and a half; she plans to stay for at least another week. At the time of our conversation, she’s keeping the details of her current project close to her chest. “We’re working on… a lot,” she says. “I’m really lucky to be in this space.”

Abrams released her debut full-length album, Good Riddance, in February of 2023 before setting out on a headlining tour of the same name. Later, she played a small collection of intimate shows with Dessner, and, between those outings, also spent a few months months opening for Taylor Swift on a little show called “The Eras Tour.” Add a nomination for Best New Artist at the 2024 Grammys into the mix and you’ve got the makings of a pretty memorable year.

Abrams is a writer’s writer; it’s a quality that’s clear within minutes of speaking to her. She was raised in a particularly creative household (her father is film and television giant J.J. Abrams), and writing, in all its forms, has always been intuitive for her. “As a kid, that’s just what my brain did; it was like breathing,” she explains. “I write scenes in my notes, and create two people and imagine their dialogue… I’m always writing, because if I don’t, I’ll combust.” Maybe someday down the road, she muses, she’ll see what it’s like to formally flex her creative muscles in a different space, recalling a playwriting course that felt deeply inspirational.

But for now, she’s pouring every bit of herself into songwriting. Her thoughtful, personal style, paired with restrained and raspy vocals, is clearly resonating with people — she’s accrued over 10 million monthly listeners on Spotify and has earned the praise of contemporaries like Lorde and Olivia Rodrigo. With some distance now from the release of Good Riddance, she acknowledges the sense of closure she has towards the project. “The more we exist, the more our aperture for life widens,” she says. “The more that I’ve learned about production, the more that I’ve read, and the more that I’ve met people out in the world, the more informed I’ve become to fine tune what this next album-making process has been.”

Abrams references poets like Mary Oliver and Marie Howe over the course of our conversation, and her close working relationship with the introspective Dessner makes more sense as the chat progresses. “I guess I’m just his biggest fan,” she says.

Between the moody weather, the setting, and the general state of culture, the topic of Taylor Swift is also inevitable; Abrams and I find common ground in Swift’s pandemic-era projects, folklore and evermore, regardless of the season. “It could be 95 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and I’m like — ‘my tears ricochet?’” she says.

Author: Michael

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