BEFORE heading on to a new feature...
I have been speaking with TRACE about her new song, All My Friends, and the story behind it. She reveals the music that matters most and how her own work has evolved since the start – TRACE recommends some rising artists to keep an eye out for.
I wanted to know if there are gigs coming up and whether there is more material afoot; what it is like to be revealing and open in songwriting and how she spends her time away from music – TRACE selected a great song (or two) to end the interview with.
Hi, TRACE. How are you? How has your week been?
Howdy. I’m actually pretty exhausted but very well. The week has been crawling but I think it’s only because I’m releasing my new single on Friday and the butterflies are flowing right now.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hi, everyone, I’m TRACE. I live in Los Angeles and the current weather is super-grey which makes me super-happy. My music is consistently centered around my emotions and my hope is that it makes you feel a little less alone when you hear it.
What can you reveal about your new single, All My Friends, and its story?
I wrote All My Friends from a place of contemplation. Initially, it was about my move to Los Angeles a handful of years ago and feeling like I chose a path to follow that was different than most of the people around me. I had to accept that friendships and relationships change and that’s ok. All My Friends is also a commentary on what true friendship means and a questioning of intimacy and connection: how we are to foster these things in our lives.
In a world of social media and easy access to people, it’s almost ironic that we are a ‘lonelier than ever’ generation. So, with this song, I want to ask the listener ‘Who are your friends?’.
Is there going to be more material coming later in the year?
Absolutely. Hopefully, very soon and I cannot wait to share what I’ve been working on for the past year and a half.
How important is it to write songs and ‘put yourself on the page’, as it were?
It’s pretty crucial for me to not overthink when I write: meaning, I’ve learned the more I TRY to be ‘real’ or honest, the more obvious it is that I was trying - and it doesn’t actually feel real or honest. ‘Putting myself on the page’ happens the most naturally when I take the pressure off and just am. It’s easier said than done, but it’s important because I know writing music is an opportunity to share something about myself…and I want to grow deeper relationships with my listeners as I continue to write music.
Looking back, how do you think your music has developed and changed?
I think the biggest thing is that I’m writing more candidly with more of an understanding that people will hear what I’m going to write and sing about. In the beginning, I wouldn’t say I was careless but I didn’t really think anyone would be listening to what I had to say. Now, there’s a weight that I feel honored to hold, so I’m finding my music more intentional and purposeful.
Being based in L.A., how important are the people and the general vibe regarding your music and creativity?
This city has a distinct air that is definitely dreamy and that has definitely benefited me and inspired my music. People, in general, inspire me but Angelenos are a specific kind of people and, at the very least, are so interesting. I love being surrounded by what this city has to offer.
What plans do you have for the rest of 2019?
I plan to release more music for sure and hopefully more live performances!
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
My first headline show at the Echoplex was SO fun. Also, meeting a fan and her whole family who she brought out for her birthday was a really special moment that I will never forget!
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Gosh, there are a lot of bodies of work that have changed my life. But, three I could share off the top of my head are:
The Reminder by Feist
As one of my favorite artists, her raw and distinct vocals and the way it was engineered was so distinct and felt so special (similar to how Dylan recorded vox), paired with her writing, really made me feel a deeper love for music than ever.
Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
The production of that album was the main reference point for my first E.P. in 2016. They perfected what feels like combining an Indie-Folk-type of writing with an electronic sound and vibe, which I find so impressive.
Pure Heroine - Lorde
This changed Pop music for me. And inspired me with my own writing.
Shoot, bonus? For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver was the soundtrack of my life for a few years.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I love these questions. First, it’s a toss-up. I’d say Frank Ocean or Feist.
Secondly, my dream rider would for sure include palo santo and a lighter; wet wipes, spearmint gum; San Pellegrino, Yola Mezcal; dried mangos, fresh fruit; jalapeno potato chips, beef jerky; RX bars, pistachios and peanut butter cups. I LOVE snacks.
What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?
There’s still some mystery around it; but I do hope to be able to hop on the road in the near-future.
Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?
Surround yourself with good people you respect and know that no one will or should work harder for your music dreams than you.
IN THIS PHOTO: Emma (Men I Trust)
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
It depends on the season of my career I’m in but I definitely make time for myself outside of work to maintain a balance. I really enjoy traveling, visiting art museums and galleries; exploring nature in L.A., watching films; writing (outside of songs) and cooking.
These things definitely help me to unwind.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Fade Into You by Mazzy Star or You’re Not Good Enough by Blood Orange (sorry, I cheated)