EXCLUSIVE: Emerging country artist Harper Grae Scrapbooks Past Heartbreaks with the premiere of new single “I Think About You”
Groundbreaking artist and brilliant member of the CMT Next Women of Country class of 2021, Harper Grae, presents her new single “I Think About You” ahead of its October 8 release.
The retrospective track is a product of the pandemic. An unprecedented time for reflection lent itself well to Grae’s touching tribute to the broken relationships that have shaped who she is today.
As he enters his ninth year in Nashville, “I Think About You” comes at a pivotal moment in his professional career. In 2015, she released her first single, “Hell or Highwater”, under her birth name Shanna Henderson. But in 2017, she had renamed herself Harper Grae – the first name in honor of the last name of her maternal grandparents, and the last name that serves as an acronym for “God redeems all also” – a personal mantra. . She deposited her first full album, Break your crowns, under his new nickname. In 2018 Grae released a four song EP, Buck Moon Melodies, with “Monster” and “Bloodline”. These two tracks channel the adversity of his troubling childhood in Alabama into a characteristic sonic force.
“I’ve been in town for a very long time, and songwriting is so special to me,” Grae told American Songwriter over the phone. “There are stories that you might have written a long time ago, but you come back to them a few years later and you’re like, ‘Maybe I could have said this better or said that differently. “And that’s where ‘I Think About You’ came to the fore in my songwriting process.
The initial idea goes back even further to meeting his wife, Dawn, a year and a half before the start of the pandemic. “At least in my story, I’ve found that when you find someone new, all of your exes start to fall out of the woods,” says Grae. “And maybe they want you back, or it’s like this weird corner.” So when I met Dawn, I had so many exes come back to my space saying “You never think of me” or “You don’t even talk to me anymore”. It’s true, but it’s not true either – I’m thinking of you, that doesn’t mean I’m picking up the phone to talk to you. And I had a lot of friends who had had similar experiences, so I was like, “Maybe there’s something in there.”
“I Think About You” came to fruition by dedicating every word to a former lover with a specific thing or moment that Grae associates with that person or their relationship. For every ex who has approached Grae to accuse him of not thinking about them, there is a poignant line that proves them wrong. “I was like ‘you can refer to this song now, and this can be your happy place,’” she laughs. “It’s kind of indicative of how many people I’ve dated because there is a lot of lyrics in this song.”
Each line unfolds like a nostalgic vignette. The first one, When the rains fall and the sun is still shining is a living memory associated with a person from their past. And the second, When I see a silver civic on a side road driving is symbolic of another. “They really jog my memory of different people, and you can listen to it and know the secrets behind it or you can listen to it and think it’s a person,” says Grae.
The stillness of the pandemic put things in perspective for the artist, as for many others. Now, as a new mother living through the disturbing experience of the past year and a half, she recognizes the invaluable elements in her life. “For me, what’s important is my family and my career, my music,” says Grae. “I think being in this industry women are being pushed aside. Like when you decide to get married or have a baby, it’s almost like you become damaged property – I hate that. But having a family started a fire under my feet and I started to create opportunities for myself. ”
Bypassing typical co-writing protocols, Grae instead reached out to his dream collaborators on social media. Most recently, she sent an Instagram DM to Joy Williams, her “songwriter in love” to work together in the future. The worst she could say was no, but to Grae’s delight she said ‘yes’.
“I don’t think I would have had that perspective on my career of just asking for what you want without the pandemic,” she says. “Plus, my perspective on what I’m writing about has changed, where I write from the experience that comes with it, delving deep into your stories, and being bold and unapologetic. I’m going back to my roots of storytelling songs, incorporating a lot of visuals – I think I’ve strayed from that a bit.
This experience of going back to basics through storytelling was born out of necessity. Social distancing banned her usual co-writing session, and for the first time in several years, Grae found herself writing alone. She adds, “As beautiful as the co-writings are, sometimes you should go back into the space of a room with yourself and a piano and let whatever comes out.”
The shifting perspective has triggered essential components of his creative process that make songs like “I Think About You” possible.
“It goes without saying that it is such an honor to be part of the country of the next generation,” she said. “And I think the best way to honor being a part of that class is to be one of the women in country music who have families and inspire others to recognize that you can do anything; you don’t owe anyone an explanation of how important it is to you to be a mother. And you can really do it all with the right assistance system.
Today (October 7) marks Grae’s first show as part of Josh Kelley’s tour of Nashville. With the help of a loving wife, the new mom will continue for the 16-stop race that ends Nov. 20 in Seattle.
Tickets and tour information are available at Grae’s site. Listen to the exclusive premiere of “I Think About You” below.
Photo credit: Dire Image