LARUICCI X FAULT MAGAZINE
Grace VanderWaal FAULT Magazine Covershoot and Interview
Words: Miles Holder
After many years spent in the public eye and yet so little time to express herself fuller, Grace VanderWaal is priming up to release some of her most personal and vulnerable music to date. While the 18 year old artist has spent much of her career in the pursuit of perfection, she now feels ready to tell her story and blaze a whole new trail with her art. We caught up with Grace to find out more about her process, her new music and of course, her FAULTs.
As you gear up for your upcoming releases are you one artist that understands when your art is complete and ready or are you always second-guessing?
I’m definitely really messy with the process. I really wish that I was more put together, but I’m a chaotic person, so I feel like I’m very chaotic professionally but that’s what makes it so fun. I feel like I’m always just doing things on the fly and changing it up…it drives the people who work around me crazy!
LARUICCI Silver Bracelet and Gold Soul Earrings
How has your songwriting evolved for this upcoming project compared to your previous releases?
I think that I’m in a really interesting place in my career and that’s why I’m so excited about what I’ve been writing and what I’ve been working on. I’m 18 years old and I’ve been through a lot and I feel like I’m more unfiltered and vulnerable than I’ve ever been before. I always felt like I had to file down my feelings and experiences but now I’m just putting it all out there for the first time, which is very nerve-wracking, but it’s different.
Your musical journey has been very exposed and in the public eye, it sounds like you are now finally having the space to experiment with your sound and musical evolution.
I’m also just telling a story that I haven’t really told before, I’ve always hidden it. I feel like I’m finally coping with that and I really want to invite fans into what I haven’t said about my life with all the good things and bad things I couldn’t really speak about before.
Is it ever worrying that some of your fans won’t resonate with the new messages and might prefer the music they came to expect from a younger you?
Yes, absolutely. That’s what I’m most nervous about because vulnerability and honesty are very intimidating, scary things. I think that life hasn’t always been cherry blossoms and rainbows. To tell that story, I’m definitely worried that people are going to be taken aback by the honesty of it.
At the same time, does it feel like something you had to do?
Absolutely. I couldn’t have worded it any better. I felt like I had no choice, but to show this side of me and tell these stories that I’ve wanted to tell for so long, but just haven’t been ready to. I’m very much the type of person that when it’s time to do something, I can’t do anything else no matter if people like it or not.
When you look back on your sort of musical journey thus far, what would you say has been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to overcome creatively?
I feel like people don’t take into account that I had all these people that looked after me while still being insecure and feeling pressured to be perfect. I feel like this translated into my music as well because I just wanted to be what I thought everyone needed me to be.
What’s the best piece of musical advice?
I think the best piece of advice would be to embarrass yourself. I think that that has followed me throughout my entire career and completely shaped the way I write. I just throw it out there, test out a line and that’s the best way to work through it. You never know, maybe it’ll be good or we keep reworking things. Sometimes it’s absolutely awful and it’s better in your mind but we all just laugh and keep moving forward.
when you are in sort of writing mode, are you someone that likes to sort of shut off completely from the world or do you let it come fluidly?
I think that it comes fluid and I need to stay open and not take it too seriously. It’s funny when you start writing with people, you can separate writing the song about the most messed up sad, depressing, and intimate thing ever and then pause for a second and be like, “it’s time to eat a cheeseburger!” Staying open and throwing out ideas is just my absolute favourite way to work.
When you are in that process and you’re writing, do you ever write with your end listener in mind or is the goal just to tell your story?
I always think it’s best to use music for expressing myself and, having a healthy outlet to dump out all of those overwhelming or bubbling over emotions. I think that if you let too many things influence or tarnish that, then it takes away from that magic of intimacy. At the same time, I think that as a writer there is a strategy to it just telling the story and, and making it make sense. I want to tell the story satisfyingly, but at the same time, I also find the process satisfying.
With gaining so many accolades early in life, did you always feel pressured to outperform your previous achievements with your releases?
I think so, especially because I was so young and I was thrown so deeply into everything. It was an immediate explosion, there was pressure to touch that goal again and again. I think that gave me a lot of pressure growing up. There were so many times that I cracked and I couldn’t handle it in the right way. I have learned a lot of lessons from how hard it was growing up. You’re going through puberty and you’re already at that age where there’s just social pressure to figure out yourself and be perfect. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I’ve coped with that and I’ve understood my priorities and what I find important is the quality of my music to myself and my creative experience rather than winning awards.
Have you ever really stopped and reflected on your musical journey and how far you’ve come as an artist or has being so busy caused it to pass by in a blur?
It can pass by like a blur because I’m constantly making music, whether it’s personal or professional. So I’m always in the moment of what I’m doing, but I’ve definitely reflected recently because this whole project is very reflective. Every song tends to be reflective because I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I am healing and I’ve been looking back more than I have before. I’ve done so many things wrong and I’ve done so many things right.
Photographer | Zac Stone
Fashion Editor + Stylist + Producer | Chaunielle Brown
Makeup Artist | Christynakay @ Art Dept
Hair Stylist | David Cruz @ Tracey Mattingly
Manicurist | Fleury Rose @ Bryant Bantry
Photo Assistant | Campbell Brown
Fashion Assistant | Marissa Kruep