Wonderland.

GRACE CARTER

The Brighton-raised singer is an open and honest narrator sharing her story.

Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland white jacket

Blazer ROBERTO CAVALLI, trousers STYLIST’S OWN, shoes NIKE, jewellery TIFFANY & CO

Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland white jacket
Blazer ROBERTO CAVALLI, trousers STYLIST’S OWN, shoes NIKE, jewellery TIFFANY & CO

“Oh god, what’s surprising about me?” Grace Carter is beaming across the room, coyly quizzing her manager. She chuckles at the response. “Literally. That’s it. A lot of people think because of my music that I’m going to be quite deep and sad, but I’m actually quite a happy person.”

And it’s true. You would be forgiven for thinking that the 21-year-old has the weight of the world on her shoulders. And in a way she does. Real tears streak down the Brighton singer-songwriter’s face in the visuals for “Silence”, her pain is perceptible as her voice soars with goosebump-inducing emotion in “Heal Me”, and then in heartbreaking ballad, “Why Her Not Me”, she works through her feelings of rejection at discovering the existence of her absent father’s new family.

“I started writing songs at 13 because I was sad, so I mean it’s crazy that I’m here right now,” she reflects. Raised by a single mother, she grew up bolstered by the airwaves of strong female icons such as Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys, and started penning her own lyrics after her stepdad suggested music as a outlet to cope with her anger. “My stepdad saw a lot of himself in me, I think he had the same experiences as a child growing up without his dad around and struggling with that,” she explains. “I mean I’m never going to fully overcome it because it’s a massive part of my life, but I’m using music to be able to deal with it and understand my emotions…”

Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland white jacket
Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland yellow coat
Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland white coat

(LEFT) Top SHUSHU/TONG, dress MISSONI, earrings SWAROVSKI, shoes NIKE
(MIDDLE) Jacket RICHARD MALONE, jumper YANG LI, earrings AMRAPALI
(RIGHT) Top SHUSHU/TONG, dress MISSONI, earrings SWAROVSKI, shoes NIKE

Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland white jacket
Top SHUSHU/TONG, dress MISSONI, earrings SWAROVSKI, shoes NIKE
Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland yellow coat
(MIDDLE) Jacket RICHARD MALONE, jumper YANG LI, earrings AMRAPALI
Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland white coat
Top SHUSHU/TONG, dress MISSONI, earrings SWAROVSKI, shoes NIKE

When she tentatively approaches the topic of her dad, her eyes go slightly glassy, especially when she reveals that she still hasn’t spoken to him in six years. But there’s no longing or resentment, in the next breath she is all smiles, reeling off all the people she is grateful to have in her life. It appears she is all too aware of the bittersweet reality that her fraught relationships are, in a twisted way, the catalyst for her success.

And to say Grace Carter is a success is an understatement. At 21, thanks to the kind of rare meaningful, mature pop she’s creating she secured third place on the coveted BBC Sound of 2019 list and has won tour support slots for the likes of Dua Lipa, Haim and Mabel. She’s been championed on social media by Lana Del Rey, and her music has even soundtracked Grey’s Anatomy (the true stamp of approval for sad bangers). She is most excited to be working on her debut album, “hopefully out this year, about the relationships I have, and the relationships I don’t have.”

And right now, most importantly, she is just taking everything in. “I would have never thought that this would be a thing ever, so I am proud, and the fact that my music is helping people in the way that I needed to be helped when I was that age is just really empowering and exciting to me,” Carter gushes, her eyes glowing. “I’m 21, so I don’t have all the answers, and I’m still figuring it out for myself. I just want to make my mum proud.” It’s safe to say she probably already has.

Taken from the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland. Order your copy of the magazine now.

Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland dress and trainers
Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland red face

(LEFT) Jacket ROBERTO CAVALLI, trousers MAX MARA, shoes NIKE, jewellery TIFFANY & CO
(RIGHT) Earrings DIOR

Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland dress and trainers
Jacket ROBERTO CAVALLI, trousers MAX MARA, shoes NIKE, jewellery TIFFANY & CO
Grace Carter for the Spring 19 issue of Wonderland red face
Earrings DIOR
Photography
Maximilian Semlinger
Fashion
Toni-Blaze
Words
Maybelle Morgan
Hair
Zateesha Barbour using Angel En Provence
Makeup
Michelle Boggs using Dermalogica and NARS Cosmetics
Fashion assistant
Shaquille Williams
Location
UniQ Studios
GRACE CARTER