Meet the 24-year-old Canadian newcomer concocting smooth, sensuous R&B for your listening pleasure.
Take a dip into the ethereal pond of Toronto-based rising star Grace May. The 24-year-old singer-songwriter has spent the last three years carefully forming some of the most transcendent R&B we’ve heard in, well, forever. Tracks like “Angel” or 2019 offering “Quiet” could easily be playing on shuffle as you approach the pearly gates, so to describe her work as anything other than heavenly and mesmeric would be a total disservice to her.
This transcendent oeuvre even carries over to her latest single, “Rose Coloured”, a track that’s about missing all those red flags that crop up in the early stages of a relationship as if a chunky blindfold was strapped firmly to your head. Perhaps you might’ve caught some of those rather unsavoury moments yourself, brushing off all the let-downs and telltale signs of chaos in a partner because you had faith they might prevail.
As the first taste of her upcoming EP – “L.V.R.” – which stands for la vie en rose, or lover, May delivers a sensuous mix of buttersmooth harmonies and luscious instrumentation, capturing a vibe that’ll take you places you’ve never even thought of. And though she’d never truly be able to tell us her favourite track from the EP – she does admit that “Rose Coloured” is her dream song, a taste of how diverse and adventurous her new project will be.
Check out our interview with the singer below…
Hi Grace – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity?
It has been a journey to say the least over the last year. One of my all-time favourite things to do, and ways for new people to hear my music, is to play live. So when that was first taken away in 2020, it had a pretty big impact on my music and creativity. Fast forward to 2021, I think like many others, I’ve found reasons to be both grateful and ungrateful for this past year of complete uncertainty. For the time that it’s given me to put my creativity into the rollout of this EP, I am grateful. I’ve put everything I have into this EP over the last year, I can’t wait for people to hear it.
How did growing up in Toronto influence your music?
Growing up in one of the most diverse cities in the world had a huge influence on my sound and musical style. The culture and creativity of Toronto is what I pull my inspiration from every single day. It influences my songwriting and vocal technique, and drives me to push the boundaries of what Pop, R&B and Soul can sound like.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
My biggest music inspirations include Etta James, Lianne La Havas, Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston. To name a few.
How would you describe your genre?
I would describe my genre as singer-songwriter R&B, or romantic pop.
Congratulations on your EP L.V.R. – what does it stand for?
Thank you so much! L.V.R. stands for La Vie en Rose and/or, lover. La Vie en Rose means to see life through rose-coloured glasses; a life appearing to be seemingly better or different than what it might actually be. L.V.R. was actually going to be the song title for “Rose Coloured” but I realized the meaning behind it encompassed every song, not just one.
And your new single “Rose Coloured” is on it – what was it inspired by?
My new single, “Rose Coloured”, was inspired by a past relationship. I’d missed all the signs telling me that the relationship wasn’t a good one, because of how much I loved that person. It was about a year later when I came to that realization, and then “Rose Coloured” pretty much wrote itself in one night. It’s the letter I always wished I had the courage to write.
The music video is really beautiful and simple – what did you want to evoke with it?
The music video for Rose Coloured was essentially done in one take because we wanted it to be raw and somewhat unedited, to mirror how I felt when I wrote it. For me, self-reflection isn’t glamorous or flashy, it’s a quiet, at times lonely, and long process. So with this music video, I wanted to evoke a sense of solitude, pain and peace. All stages I’ve gone through while processing my emotions from past relationships.
Do you have a favourite song or lyric from your EP that you hope will really resonate with listeners?
My favourite song from my EP is “Rose Coloured”, because it’s the most honest song I’ve written. Oftentimes I find it harder to be honest with myself than to anyone else, but whenever I am, I learn and grow more as a person and an artist every single time. I truly believe that the relationship we have with ourselves, is the key to being able to love someone else. I hope Rose Coloured resonates with listeners and encourages them to not be afraid to trust themselves.
How cathartic was it for you putting together the EP?
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being most cathartic)… 100. Being able to turn my past (the beautiful and the ugly parts) into music, was incredibly freeing.
How does it feel releasing music at such an uncertain time? What do you hope it brings your listeners?
If you had asked me a year ago, I would’ve said it felt strange and unknowing. But as we’ve just entered another 4-week lockdown in Toronto, it feels… right. Like releasing this music is what I’m meant to be doing at this very moment.
I’d like my listeners to know that however long it takes you to process emotions you may have buried, is the perfect amount of time. I hope that this music brings them reassurance, in whatever form they might be looking for.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021?
I can’t wait to play live again. I will play anywhere and everywhere I’m allowed in! I’m also in the early stages of writing my first album.