Ahead of his UK tour to celebrate the release of his debut self-titled album, we spoke to up and coming troubadour Isaac Gracie about his influences and his dream to have a cocktail bar on tour.
Hi Isaac! Let's start at the beginning shall we? You went from recording demos in your bedroom to being noticed by a major label fairly quickly - when you were clicking upload on SoundCloud did you ever imagine you would be where you are now? Was that even a thought in your mind?
No not at all, I had no conception of the industry and I wasn’t doing it for that reason either. I just liked having a place to put the songs I was writing so I didn’t forget about them and lose them somehow.
Many of your songs are characterised by addressing, even pleading with, a loved one. Would you say that the new album is going to be a continuation of this thoughtful, passionate dialogue?
Yes I guess so, I guess it’s just working through different negotiations of that dynamic. I’d like to think throughout the songs on the record a fair amount of ground is covered with regards to the different avenues of that dialogue.
What aspect, or part of your life would you say you draw the most inspiration from for your music?
I like art and film, and music (obviously!), but the personal relationships I have with people are probably the most inspiring.
What keeps you inspired, both in your life and in your music?
There isn’t really a constant inspiration, which can make it hard work, but rewarding when there is something inspiring that you translate into something worthwhile.
You went from a solo performer to a man with a band - what has the experience sharing and creating your music alongside supporting musicians been like?
It’s been the best thing. It’s something I always wanted to do, so I’m just glad that door has opened. They’re such brilliant players as well, so the sense of unity is even greater.
You have quite an exciting line-up of shows coming up in the UK and throughout Europe - any places you’re especially excited to visit? Why?
All of them honestly. I really enjoy touring, just rocking up in a new city every day is always a buzz!
If you could have a dream tour rider with no limitations, as ridiculous as you want, what would the top three items on the list be?
A cocktail bar, because… cocktails! An awesome barista guy to make real good coffee, maybe some sort of studio set up? You have so much time in green rooms, would be cool to make music there if I could.
Bringing it back to reality, what are three things currently that you can’t live without on tour?
Beer, coffee, my laptop. That’s pretty much all I have on tour too, I’m not too fussy, nor organised.
You’ve already been compared to industry greats like Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen. Do you have any fears as a newer musician on the scene that come from being compared to such iconic names so early on?
I used to be swamped with self-doubt, those comparisons freaked me out. I thought people were going to realise I was a fraud and hate me because I had tricked them into believing I was more than I was. Then I realised that that was quite silly, people attach their own significance for their own reasons, I can’t control or negate that, I can only appreciate the warm place it comes from.
Fast forward seven years, you’re 30, where do you hope to find yourself?
Jeez, I don’t like thinking that far ahead too much. I just hope I’ve put out some good music and that I still find the will to write from someplace. If I could stay true to myself and still be doing it and playing shows I’ll be a happy guy.
Don’t miss your chance to see Isaac Gracie on tour this spring:
O2 Institute Birmingham: Friday 20 April - Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Oxford: Saturday 21 April - Buy Tickets
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