Michael Hartman, Reading Magazine’s music contributor recently sat down with local singer/songwriter Stephanie Grace at Sulia Studios to talk about her life and new music.
Mike: I’m just wondering, how did you get involved with music and more specifically country music?
Stephanie: Yeah, so I guess most people when they hear I’m from Pennsylvania they think Philly or the big cities but I’m from Berks County, like Douglassville to be specific. Country music is actually really big here, so I grew up listening to a lot of country music but I also grew up a really shy child. I never really thought I could get up there in front of people but when I was in first grade I came home from school and I told my mom I want to sing in my first grade talent show and she was like okay yeah sure, if you think you can do that let’s let’s do.
So I started practicing every night after school got a little more comfortable performing in front of my mom you know and then came the night at the talent show and I was backstage crying I was so nervous I saw my whole school I was freaking out but I got up there and three minutes on stage was all it took for me. The music came on and I started dancing I got real into it and three minutes is all it took for me to fall in love it’s performing.
Mike: Absolutely, I would assume that getting out there and doing it for the first time that’s probably the most nerve-wracking. So I know that you were telling me recently that you were in Nashville recording your new EP can you tell us a little more about that?
Stephanie: Well I can’t tell you a whole lot now but the EP probably won’t be out until the middle of next year. I can tell you that we are releasing a new single in February and I’m so pumped for that, we’ve not put out any new music since 2014 so it’s long overdue and I’m really pumped for everyone to hear it.
Mike: That’s awesome, so what was the motivation for the new EP?
Stephanie: The last time I was in the studio I was 16, now I’m 21. I feel like people are like that’s nothing but when you’re 16 you’re still a teenager awkward high school kid and recording was so new to me. I didn’t really have a voice then I feel like, you know. I mean I did but I didn’t know how to express it. Now I just I came in the studio ready, I know what I want to say, I know how I want to say it, let’s get it out there. It was definitely a really neat experience for me.
Mike: I’m looking forward to hearing it. I have to tell you one of my favorite songs you ever wrote was loser. I believe that was from your last album and you know there’s a quote in there that says ‘sometimes losers turn into winners in the end’. I’m all about positivity. I’m a big believer in that’s where people get their start you know, sometimes they’re the shy reserved kid that just becomes the twinkling star out there so that’s so cool.
All right so one question I was dying to ask you is what are your goals for the next three years five years. You said this is the first time in five years that you’re actually out recording again, so where do you see yourself five years from now?
Stephanie: That’s always a tough question, you can’t predict the future but I can say what I hope to be doing. I hope to be touring, I hope to travel the world. I try really hard to make my songs positive and put a really uplifting message in them. I want to deliver that message to as many people as I can, so touring the world, that’s what I hopefully see myself doing in five years.
Mike: You’ve also done some School Assemblies where you help kids with positivity. Tell us a little more about that?
Stephanie: I do school assemblies for anti-bullying. You mentioned my song loser, that song for me started the whole movement. I love getting that intimate time with kids to just perform for them and take them away from class for a little bit and just loosen up and have fun, but at the same time deliver that positive message.
We’ve done so many Berks County schools, Boyertown, Daniel Boone, Muhlenberg Oley, Hamburg and Conrad Weiser. I think it’s so neat how the area has embraced it and I’m very blessed to be able to do it.
Mike: I love that anti-bullying. That’s something that really is important and we need to embrace that as a culture.
Stephanie: You know music is a great way to deliver that message. I feel like especially kids really resonate with music. I feel so blessed to be able to combine the two.
Mike: I know you’ve opened up for some really big names in the industry, people like Taylor Swift, Hunter Hayes, Charlie Daniels, can you tell us a little bit more about that and what one of your favorite memories would be?
Stephanie: Absolutely, I’ve been so blessed to take the stage before some of these artists. brothers Osbourne too and Scotty McCreery and Taylor Swift was the big one for me.
When I was nine years old I entered a singing competition, again this was in the early phases of my career, somehow won the competition and the prize was to perform at Fall Fest in Lancaster before the opening act who was Taylor Swift, back in 2006. So that for me was incredible one getting to perform at such a big event. The radio station that put on the event brought me in the little tent to meet her and she knew exactly who I was. she’s like ‘you’re were awesome up there’ and was so incredibly sweet to me. I carry that with me forever. She’s like ‘here you’re gonna stand right here’. She let me stand right next to her while she signed autographs.
At the time she was just getting started so as I’m someone who’s just getting started I’m inspired by the way she treated people, the way she carried herself and just how incredibly kind she was to me.
Mike: Wow, I seriously got goose bumps when you were talking that story that is so cool. I have one final question for you, I want to know what your favorite song is to play and if you have any messages you would like to deliver to your fans while you’re here.
Stephanie: Favorite song to play is hard. I have two answers because I feel like there’s original music and then there’s cover material which my shows I incorporate a good mix of both. I would say my favorite original song to play is probably a my song loser. Probably because of the reaction we get from people. It’s really cool to look out in the audience and see young people and adults chanting the words to the chorus with me. It’s just so empowering and that’s what I always envisioned when I wrote that song so loser is the favorite original song. My favorite cover song is probably Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani, most people don’t recognize it by the title but any song that gets the crowd involved it’s my favorite.
A message to my fans, I love you guys, thank you so much for all the support. I always tell people when I’m in Nashville or wherever I’m at that you really need a strong support system to to fuel what you do and I’m blessed to have that. Thank you all so much.
Mike: So where can your fans find your music?
Stephanie: My website which is Stephanie-grace.com. You will find links to my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I have music on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora so there’s all kinds of places where you can listen.
Mike: We have one of the album’s right here.
Stephanie: This is the Life’s Okay EP. This was the last release I put out, like a full project and I’m pumped to be putting out another one of these next year so but for now you got to get the Life’s Okay EP.
Mike: Stephanie was so great having you here thank you for joining us and thank you Sulia Studios for hosting us. Go see Stephanie Grace this spring and summer somewhere near you, I’ve seen her twice and you will not be disappointed.
Stephanie: It was such a good time, thanks!