Grace Gonzalez won Third Place in the International Songwriting Competition in the “Christian” category for her song “Faith of a Five Year Old.” I had the chance to interview Grace about her music.
Where are you originally from? Where are you located now?
I am originally from Mequon, Wisconsin. I grew up there in a tight-knit family of 6, then made the move to Nashville at the age of 18. I moved because I got into Belmont University, but I always knew I wanted to be in Nashville to pursue music.
When did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career as a musician?
I knew of my love for music from a young age. I have been writing songs since I was 5 and always tried to force my cousins to form a band with me. I think I have always wanted to be a musician and songwriter. My dad was a professional drummer at one point, and he really encouraged us to take piano lessons, explore different instruments, etc. I come from a very musical family. As for deciding to pursue a career as a musician, I would say that started in 2018 when I started to really take things seriously (recording songs with Trina, etc.)
Who is your biggest influence/inspiration to become a musician?
My biggest influence/inspiration to become a musician is probably my dad. He introduced me to Simon and Garfunkel, The Eagles, Jim Croce, etc. and I really fell in love with all of those artists from a young age. I wanted to do what they did and tell stories that made people feel alive and feel emotions deeply.
What genre of music do you consider yourself to be?
I consider myself to be Americana/Folk/Alt-country/Christian. It’s hard with genres these days, but I’ve been compared to Brandi Carlile, Judah and the Lion, and others that fall into those worlds.
What was your inspiration for writing the song that you submitted for the International Songwriting Competition?
My inspiration for writing “Faith of a Five Year Old” was a personal health crisis in 2017. That song was really a prayer asking God to help me get through all of the unknown, and for increased faith in Him and His purpose.
What do you hope for listeners to take away after listening to your song/music?
I hope that listeners walk away feeling closer to their purpose and closer to whatever they believe in. For me, that’s Jesus. I also want people to feel things deeply, so I hope that comes across through my songs. Emotions are beautiful and we tend to shut them off. I think music is a great catalyst for emotion.
What is your favorite song that you’ve released and why?
My favorite song that I have released is “Red and White Blues”. I think it’s a little risky lyrically, and just a commentary on the United States and all the violence. However, I have a lot of songs coming soon that I am SO excited about, including Faith of a Five Year Old!!
Who were your favorite musicians growing up? Do you feel that they played a role in influencing your music today?
I had so many different musical influences growing up. It ranged from vocal powerhouses like Demi Lovato and Alicia Keys, to beautiful folk bands like The Head and The Heart, The Avett Brothers, and Needtobreathe. I also had a massive reggae phase where I was obsessed with Bob Marley. Strangely enough I did not listen to much Christian or classic country, even though I can’t seem to get the country out of my voice. Anyways, I think the variety of music has made me feel more flexibility in genre and the songs I can put out as an artist in the future. If it’s a well written song and there are vocal harmonies, count me in!
If you could collaborate with any musician throughout history, who would you choose and why?
What a difficult question. I have thought about this a long time and don’t know!! Joni Mitchell? John Prine? Chopin? Matt Maher? The Avett Brothers? I want to collaborate with all of them for different reasons. So hard to answer this.
Do you have any new projects that you are working on?
Yes, I am releasing a song this Friday on the 18th called “Oh Music”. It’s been a work in progress for years, but I can’t wait for you all to hear it! I also am planning to release “Faith of a Five Year Old” with an awesome music video in the next few months. Can’t wait!
Are you planning on touring/performing any shows in the near future?
I have a show June 24th, 12 pm at Church Street Park. Analisa Gallo and Paulina Jayne are playing a round with me to benefit Musicians on Call in partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame and their Troubadour Advisory Committee. We are super excited for that!