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   Grace Read  

 

Grace Read is an American singer-songwriter from New Hampshire. She primarily plays the electric piano, though she writes on both piano and guitar. Her songs vary on topic and feel, ranging from a haunting lullabye-esque waltz about a dragon, to heartfelt, and heartbreaking narratives of lost youth. Grace cites the well-roundedness in her songwriting having a lot to do with her upbringing. Born to liberal, supportive parents (her father a sound-engineer, her mother an artist), and raised in what she's referred to as "The Woods" of New Hampshire, Grace was encouraged to embrace her lucid imagination in the often story-book like nature of New England. She was exposed to many genres of music, literature and art. Her influences include the lectures of Stephen Hawking, the literary works of Lewis Carroll and the Brothers Grimm, and the music of Tom Petty, Jeff Buckley and Joan Baez.

 
In the summer of 2007, she toured with Jesse Lacey (of Brand New) and Kevin Devine. The three performed separate sets, but Grace contributed to many of the other artists' songs, including Kevin Devine's ‘Brooklyn Boy’ and Jesse Lacey's ‘Play Crack the Sky’. Her live show is intimate and fun, though she professes she's shy, she often talks to the audience between songs, cracking jokes and poking fun at herself. In turn she was widely accepted and embraced by new fans, and received positive written reviews.

 
 


Q: Do you think of your lyrics as poetry?


A:  In a sense, yes. I think any time you're stringing words together with pattern and intent, it can be considered poetry.


Q:
Do you think it is important that songs rhyme and if so why?


A: I don't think it’s absolutely pertinent that lyrics rhyme. I'm sure I'm guilty of not rhyming in every song. It's completely dependent on the writer, what they're feeling, and how they are trying to convey that with their words. Sometimes rhyming doesn't come naturally in what you're trying to express. Sometimes it does.


Q: Do you think song lyrics must conform to recognised song structures such as clear rhyming schemes, choruses, refrains, hooks and bridges or that songs can also be like free verse?


A: When it comes to music, poetry, or art of any kind, I don't think conformity holds much water. The point of art is freedom of expression. While song structure can make a song more pleasing to the ear, with patterns and hooks, some of the greatest songs have completely random structuring. Radiohead’s ‘Idioteque' has a seemingly odd structure. But it works, that song is amazing.

 
Q: When you read poetry in school or elsewhere did you recognize any connection to the music you enjoyed?


A: I had one really great teacher in high school that centered his curriculum on music and poetry. He'd include anything from Robert Frost and Shakespeare, to Cat Stevens and Pink Floyd lyrics. I'd always enjoyed poetry, but I think that class helped me to listen closer to the lyrics of my favorite songs.


Q: Was there anything about poetry in books that influenced your songwriting?


A: Lewis Carroll has been one of my favorite writers since I was a little girl. I was reciting ‘The Walrus and The Carpenter’ before I'd written my first song. Something about his imagery, and the playfulness of his poems. I remember reading Jabberwocky when I was really young and being scared out of my mind. His usage of portmanteaus was so effective. Even in being so young, I understood completely the horror of the Jabberwocky and the courage and glory of the little boy. I tend to write songs involving mythical things, like dragons fighting soldiers, or sometimes I'll write something about some nightmare I had. I think Carroll’s imagination helped me to be okay with expressing my own.

Q: Why do you think songs are more popular with people than poetry is?


A: Music is a baffling force. There is something about it that evokes unstoppable emotion. Even an instrumental piece can make you feel something. You could hear a simple melody in a minor chord, and start thinking of your last love lost. When you couple that with lyrics, it becomes this really powerful thing. Poetry on it's own requires more attention. I've definitely read poetry that's affected me more than a song has, but as far as the general public goes, I think songs will always be more popular.

 

   

 

 

 

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