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Grace Gaustad talks music, makeup and mental health awareness

Grace Gaustad is the multi-faceted rising star you *need* to know right now. A Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter, Grace has released two albums and multiple singles, amassing an accruing following at just 19 years old.

As a fierce mental health advocate, Grace recently created an independent full-length debut project, BLKBX: wht r u hding. This project serves as a platform that offers educational and therapeutic resources for those facing difficulties like anxiety and depression. With the release of BLKBX, Grace is already making waves in the music industry, and we can't wait to see what's in store for her.

When Girls' Life sat down with Grace, we chatted all things music, self-expression and mental health. Keep reading to learn *everything* you need to know about this multi-facted rising star.

GL: What inspired you to start creating music?

Grace: I’ve loved music since I was born. My mom always tells this story about taking me home from the hospital and singing these melodies from The Sound of Music, and apparently I was singing them back to her. Although I was just making little noises as a baby, my mom feels that that was my first experience with music. 

I grew up in a really musical household. My parents were always playing all of the classics, like Michael Jackson, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I also started playing piano when I was five, which is where it all began for me. I started writing when I was six or seven because I fell in love with the fact that I could make something out of thin air. I used to love writing short stories as a kid, so I combined my love of writing with my love of music—and now I do songwriting! I still love music just as much as I did when I was a kid, and I can’t really imagine doing anything else with my life.

GL: How do you hope people feel when they listen to your music?

Grace: I hope that people respond to my music the same way I responded to my favorite artists’ music when I was younger. I used to listen to a lot of Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Adele, and their music has comforted me in the darkest of times. I hope my music can do that for other people. I want my music to be a place where people can be vulnerable and get to know themselves.

GL: What inspired your song "93 Days?"

Grace: I wrote that song with a frequent collaborator and one of my best friends, Scott Effman. It all started when I was telling Scott about having a hard time and starting therapy, and he was like “that’s the song we’re going to write today.” The song is about taking the first step and starting the healing process for yourself. It’s really easy to get trapped into bad habits and bad people, and sometimes taking time to reflect and give yourself the love you deserve is where a lot of answers lie. There is a line in the song that discusses medication, and for me, as someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, I am an absolute advocate for medication for people who need it. I have personally benefited from treatments like that, but I also didn’t realize how much you can do for yourself by surrounding yourself with people who love you. Sometimes my best medicine is my mom, my grandma, my girlfriend and my dog. "93 days" is just a really positive song about healing. 

GL: Why is mental health awareness so important for teens?

Grace: Mental health awareness is so important for teens. I think it’s really important for young girls to be aware of the fact that their bodies and feelings are going to change as they enter their teen years. As you get older, you are going to start experiencing a lot of new things, and it is really important to prioritize taking care of yourself and acknowledging your feelings.

If you ever feel like you need help, there are so many wonderful resources out there to support you. I always encourage people to talk to a parent or someone they trust, because one of the hardest things you can do is attempt to deal with a mental health problem alone. Use the resources available to you and make sure that you are checking in with yourself from time to time.

GL: Tell us about the makeup looks that you’ve been working on! How have putting those looks together helped you express your emotions?

Grace: I work with an incredible makeup artist named Jo Baker. Jo and I did our first project together on my new album, Blkbx, where we created different makeup looks to represent each song I had written for the project. Jo and I always want to present to the world what we are feeling on the inside, so each of the looks we created matched the vibe of the song's meaning. For example, the song “93 Days” had very dark and gritty eyeliner, but was paired with a neon rainbow. This allowed the look to represent both the smooth and the rough parts of going to therapy and seeking help. Jo and I are always really vulnerable when we start our process. We begin by talking about how we’re feeling, and then we turn that into a beautiful makeup look.

GL: Do you have a fave makeup look that you recommend people try?

Grace: I recommend trying something fun and abstract. Jo and I have played quite a bit with abstract makeup. One of my favorite looks was the Creature makeup look. Jo opened up a colorful palette and started working her magic. It ended up looking like a Picasso had been painted on my eyelids! I don’t think you have to follow a specific mold or anything, just use your face as a canvas and just see what you come up with. 

GL: Now that it's officially fall, do you have any back-to-school advice?

Grace: For high schoolers, just remember that it doesn’t last forever. When I was in high school, I got trapped in the mindset that it was what my whole life was going to look like. As someone who was openly out with my sexuality in high school, I really struggled. Once high school ended, I met a whole community of LGBTQ+ people who were there to embrace me for who I am. High school is just one of those periods that you have to get through and make the most of!

Another piece of advice I would give is one that I got from my mom. She always says that you really just need one good friend to go through high school with. Take those high school years to have fun, yes, but also get to know yourself and think about your future. Find something you love to do outside of school and pursue it. For me it was music, but for a lot of my friends it was sports or writing or art.

 

Want to keep up with Grace's latest adventures? Follow her on IG @gracegaustad.

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by Katherine Hammer and Claire Hutto | 9/22/2021
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