Addison Grace has fast proven a phenomenon with their one-of-a-kind brand of intimate songcraft, a seemingly irresistible melding of mesmerizing bedroom pop, sharp humor, and an utterly individual online persona. The 21-year-old UT-based singer, songwriter, and social media star – who is non-binary and uses he/they pronouns – drew immediate attention with their breakthrough debut EP, IMMATURING, earning acclaim for their
character-driven tales of unrequited love and teenage uncertainty, all etched with candor, wit, and originality. Songs like “I Wanna Be A Boy,” “Sugar Rush,” and “Makes Me Sick” proved Grace’s pop breakthroughs, affirming the gifted young artist’s own human and artistic identity while offering a distinctively anthemic voice to the voiceless. The latter track earned praise from Billboard as “a heartbreaking anthem dedicated to self-sabotage,
where Grace details their exploits in navigating the lovesick feeling they’re caught in.”
“Grace makes queer indie pop anyone can appreciate,” raved Shondaland, “rooted in deep emotion and powered by his gloriously evocative voice.”
Things have moved at lightspeed for Grace since the spring 2022 release of IMMATURING, from the snowballing popularity of their social media platform to an ongoing string of live runs that has included treks alongside such like-minded artists as cavetown and Ricky Montgomery as well as their first ever US headline tour – a sell out at nearly every stop. Each new adventure has seen Grace’s music reaching more and more people, their seemingly private songs now ringing out in increasingly larger venues.
“In my head, I still see myself as this 21-year-old that played at coffee shops and just kind of wrote music for themselves,” Grace says. “But now, rather than just being another face in the crowd, I’m the person on stage. That’s still so jarring to me, but also really exciting, and I can’t help but be so grateful to have gotten there relatively fast.”
Grace demonstrates the many lessons learned over the past year with their ambitious sophomore EP, THINGS THAT ARE BAD FOR ME. Songs like “If Nobody Likes U” and the unorthodox first single, “Pretty Girl,” exult in Grace’s own journey of personal growth and self-evolution while also pushing the boundaries of how that story can be told. Grace has spent considerable time working with rising producers and co-writers, including Andy Seltzer, Cameron Hale, Alex Wilke, Jake Aron, and songwriter Charli Adams, but the often provocative results are unquestionably all their own.
“I like to test the waters of typical things that you don’t talk about,” Grace says. “I think I’ve tested it before with ‘I Wanna Be a Boy,” but that was still leaning into a very stereotypical queer story. And now, as I’ve gotten more comfortable with my identity and just being who I am without apology, I’m really lucky to have an audience that lets me talk about these intricacies of queerness.”
Indeed, Grace’s songs touch upon themes previously unheard in modern pop. “Pretty Girl” in particular stands out, its irresistible energy and powerhouse hooks carrying one of Grace’s most candid lyrics thus far, stirred by “the grief that happens after you come out.”
“Usually you get these really happy or dramatic stories of coming out,” Grace says, “where people are finally living as themselves and so happy. And that’s true. For me, personally, I was happy to finally exist as someone who was trans masculine. But I was also sort of grieving that some people that I loved, and were very close to me, still wanted me to be the girl that they knew. There was one really prominent person I had been in love with,
a person who still to this day I consider a soulmate, but the thing was, they weren’t attracted to men, they were only attracted to women and I kind of almost blamed myself for them not being able to be attracted to me anymore. It’s this weird feeling of wanting to be a guy for me, but also wanting to be a girl for them. It was so thoroughly confusing. The whole point of ‘Pretty Girl’ is to emphasize that I know, to them, I’m always going to be that pretty girl but I’m not going to get back into that closet of self-hatred just to be with them. It’s like a weird conflict of, "I miss you but I don’t want to change myself.”
As their unconventional journey to approach new terrain, Addison Grace admits time feels both condensed and moving faster than they had ever previously imagined, their sense of self constantly colliding with their perpetual motion as a artist. Having come so far so fast, Grace is more eager than ever to test their adventurous spirit as they grow into their own skin like all of us, expressing it through what is already a truly inimitable personal chronicle told through glorious song after song.
“From when I was 19 to 21, those two years are such a drastic difference,” says Addison Grace. “The first music that I released and how my style was then, it’s completely different to how it is now. And it’s going to keep doing that. When I’m 23, I’m going to look at my 21-year-old self and be like, it’s the same person but drastically different.”
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