I am honored to be here. I have to admit that I don’t get interviewed often. It’s still something I am getting used to. Talking to a former winner of the Band Search does help ease the anxiety though.
Not at first, but singing was something I really enjoyed doing. After a few years in the school choir and getting to the age when I needed to seriously think about my future, that’s when I decided I wanted to pursue singing as a career. I think I was 15 at the time. Yes I was still young, but that’s how passionate I was. Singing was such a large part of my life, if I had given it up, it would have felt like a piece of me had died.
My parents were very supportive. When I approached them, I was not expecting them to understand. However, they could see the passion in my eyes and the next day they hired a voice coach for me, and helped me get some of my first shows at churches, fairs and talent shows. They never pushed me to be anything more then who I was. They understood how much it meant to me. They also didn’t want to ride on the back of my fame which helped reducing the pressure I was under. They are just normal, loving parents who wanted their little girl to achieve her dream.
To be honest, I never considered formal training that Juilliard could have offered. Although my parents are well off, I wanted to achieve my goal through other means, and that meant venturing out on my own. I was forever grateful for the voice coaching my parents had provided, but this industry is difficult to break into, and I didn’t want to put them or myself in debt. I also felt I could only get the hands-on experience if I jumped in head-first. I never knew exactly what type of music I wanted to sing until I started working in clubs. If I were to go back and had known what I wanted to pursue, I might have considered getting formal training. But I am here now, and haven’t done to bad for myself.
One of my first proper jobs was at a little bar on the west coast. It was called The Blue Room. They had a roaring 20’s theme. Beautiful gowns, flapper hair styles and glamorous songs, what more could you ask for? I was on a trial run, but after a few months the owner approached me to discuss regular performances. He said that the passion I had for the music was evident in t he way I sung, and how it drew in more patrons the nights I was working. After that it went from there. I started to pick up other work at different establishments, performed different styles of music, but my passion for the 920’s never went away. Whenever I am approached to perform that style of music, I jump at the opportunity. The era was unlike any other, and no other era before or after could reflect the opulence and glamour of the people, places and music.
When I first left home, the jobs available locally were limited for singers, and those that were looking, expected to pay you next-to-nothing for long shifts and poor working conditions or expected years of experience and a long list of references. After some time and a move to the west coast, I ended up picking up some irregular work. It took a good 4 years to get a reputation amongst bar owners to get enough jobs to have a regular income. I think luck had a hand in breaking into the club scene as well. I consider myself lucky; I was in the right place at the right time. If I hadn’t moved to the west coast, I have no idea where I would be now.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the club scene. There is so much to take in, so much to do and so much I have yet to experience. However, I felt like I had gotten too comfortable. I wanted to achieve more, to reach a new level and be known to a wider audience. I saw the Band Search as my opportunity to share more of myself with an audience that has never heard or seen me perform before. It’s scary and exciting all at the same time, that’s how I felt when I first started singing. I thought I would never experience that again so I am happy I took the plunge and signed up.
It’s a song called “Young and Beautiful” and is very glamorous and probably the most romantic song I have ever performed. “Young and Beautiful” talks of love, about experiencing a lot, but the uncertainty of whether the man of her life truly loves her, or would leave her when her looks have faded. Towards the end of the song, she comes to realize that he loves her for more than her looks. It’s very romantic song. The video reflects the lyrics and depicts the romance, from when the couple first meets to the very end. I shed some tears towards the end and you should see what the makeup department can do to make a 25 year-old look 80! It was like looking into the future. And damn did I still look fine! (laughs) But I don’t want to give too much away so I should probably shut up now.
Chase and I were childhood friends. When I returned home to Southampton we reconnected. I had heard he got into public relations and I was looking for someone to help me out. I always had a crush on him so as we got closer, those feelings came back. When I got the idea for the video, I told him I wouldnâ€™t do it with anyone else. Reluctantly he said yes, so the chemistry you see on screen is real, and adds another layer to the video. He will also be accompanying me down the red carpet on September 15. He is my shining jewel, and I am lucky no one else snapped him up. Its hard to find a caring, talented man these days.
Down time? What down time? (laughs) Well I don’t get much, but I used to make sure to see my parents when I got a long enough break when I lived on the west coast. If I didn’t get a week or so off, I would just stay at home and veg out on the sofa watching chick flicks. Just a bunch of girly stuff I guess. Now I am back in Southampton most of my spare time is spent with Chase and promoting myself to a wider audience. My time is taken up mostly by work, but I enjoy what I do so much, it doesn’t wear me down. I do miss having lazy days in, but I wouldn’t give up what I have achieved for them. I will just cuddle up next to Chase and all is well.
Wow! I wasn’t expecting that question. I am not sure I should be giving out advice, there is still so much I have to learn and experience. But if I was talking to my younger self, I would tell her not never give up, work hard, that miracles can happen, that you are the only one that can give up on your dream and the only person that can make it happen. I think that would have made me even more certain that I did the right thing and pursued my dream. If it helps just one other aspiring singer, I would be very proud.
Thank you for having me. You really know how to put a girl on the spot! (giggles)
Fall 2013 Rising Stars - Battle of the Bands Edition - Grace De Luca