Upon the arrival of Pale Waves’ sophomore album, Who Am I? Heather Baron-Gracie caught up with RADIO.COM’s Kevan Kenney to discuss the release of her new album and expand on her belief that music exists for companionship and camaraderie.
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First, to understand the whole album, Heather takes us through the creation of “Easy,” and shares that the song was originally a piano ballad and adds, “the whole concept behind the song is about how love can be so euphoric and uplifting and positive, so the instrumental didn’t really suit the song and I knew that I needed to make like a drastic change. I knew that it could be like this amazing feel-good song so then I really flipped it around and then ‘Easy’ is what you hear it as now. Originally it was like this dark, emo, ballad.”
Often, the Manchester native finds herself in a situation where she needs to completely flip the script on a song. “I feel like, if you’re gonna do something, then commit to it fully,” says Baron-Gracie. “I’m the type of girl that is, you know, fully in or fully out. And with ‘Easy’ I was trying to write a really positive song, but then the music behind it was quite dark and emo, which I do love, but at the same time I was like ‘I need to commit to this. I need to commit to this positive message.’”
For Pale Waves as a whole, Heather hopes that the band’s music touches listeners in a way that not only provides companionship but also allows for a sense of community. For Baron-Gracie, Avril Lavigne was the artist that sparked a sense of connectivity and understanding for her.
“I was a tomboy, I was a girl that sort of wanted to take a skateboard and go out, and not brush your hair for a week, and not wear makeup and not play with dolls.”
The singer adds that she felt “strange and weird” for not being interested in the typical, but once she saw Lavigne come onto the scene with “Sk8ter Boi” she recognized that it was “cool to be this way, and then I wanted to do exactly what she was doing.”
While Who Am I? embodies an early-aughts, cargo pants-laden aesthetic, Heather tells us that much of the LP’s inspiration was derived from heavy-hitting female artists in the 90s, like Liz Phair. The Pale Waves frontwoman explains that she was trying to capture Phair’s “unapologetic” attitude in this new body of work.
The album’s title suggests the idea of self-exploration and prepares the listener for a deep delve into what Baron-Gracie wants us to know about her and the band.
The “Fall to Pieces,” singer shares, “If anything, with this second record, I wanted to create more of an identity and I wanted to be more open, and more vulnerable and honest to the fans. I think art is all about creating comfort for people and creating understanding for people, and so I knew that I needed to be more accepting of myself, more loving towards myself, so it was really important to me that I conveyed that sort of, you know true meaning within my art and like what I stood for as a human being throughout this record.”
Who Am I? is out everywhere. Watch Heather Baron-Gracie’s full interview above.