Gracie Abrams: The internet feels like a place to die these days. You have to challenge it”

100%: The LA songwriter talks poetry, Percy Pigs and escaping to the forest.

Gracie Abrams – would you believe it – is jealous of the temperamental weather us Brits have been dealing with over the last few weeks. I love London so much, even the rain,” she says with a laugh, calling in from home in Los Angeles. I guess that shows I don’t live there year-round, but it really is one of my favourite places to be.”

Luckily, Gracie might be back soon. The 24-year-old pop superstar has spent the past two years supporting both Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift on tour, her introspective vulnerability earning her millions of new fans. Surely she’ll be touring her brand new album, The Secret of Us, which includes a song featuring Taylor, sooner than we think.

Making the album was a really fluid process,” Gracie says. I was inspired by seeds of truth from the relationships in my life, my friends’ lives, being young and navigating love in all its forms. There are lots of firsts, lots of grappling with feelings and reflecting on that.” Crushes and unrequited love are at the heart of The Secret of Us. The album’s lead single, Risk, sees Gracie playfully nosedive into a potentially damaging fling; Close to You, meanwhile, is an updated relic from 2017, its anthemic chorus begging for some kind of intimacy from a partner.

Many of these songs came together through conversations Gracie had with her best friend and housemate Audrey. We’d sit on our couch at home, getting caught in a tornado of catching up, which ended up naturally making its way into songs,” she says. There was so much physicality to all of our debriefs, which made it really exciting to incorporate into guitar playing.”

But there’s also an element of extroversion to The Secret of Us, which Gracie is eager to take with her on stage. It’s a sense of guitar-fuelled intensity and openness that was inevitably influenced by the Eras tour,” as she puts it. That was a very lucky environment to be a part of.” Later this year, Gracie will join Taylor on the road again, for another round of Eras dates.

But as far as milestones go, The Secret of Us is especially huge for Gracie – writing the album has taught her to deal with discomfort by expressing it out loud. There’s something strangely powerful about that,” she says. I used to shut myself out and write in complete silence. Through the strength of friendship, I’ve been able to let go of the pride and ego around sharing my insecurities. Now I’m sharing them loudly, and it’s changed my life.”


Congratulations on The Secret of Us, Gracie. Is it all new songs on the album or did you pluck any from the vault?

They’re definitely mostly all new songs. The first one we wrote was Risk, last August. The turnaround has felt really speedy. Felt Good About You, I had the hook and the melody for a couple of years; Let It Happen, I had the verse and melody. They never left my brain, but the lyrics I wrote for them years ago never felt right or compelling. It was sweet to accidentally fall into those again for this album. They clicked differently.


What’s your favourite British snack?

What are those little pigs called? Percy Pigs! I love those. The last show I played in London, the audience members were kind enough to bring many different versions of Percy Pigs. I’ve tried every type under the sun. I’m a hardcore fan. We also always go to Dishoom when we’re in town.


What were you reading at the time of making The Secret of Us?

I read a lot of poetry. There’s one poem in particular by Jane Hirshfield that I love so much, It Was Like This: You Were Happy. She wrote it in 2002 and it feels like she holds all of life in her palm in this poem. I remember reading it while writing this album. There’s something so human about it while also being big picture in a very gentle way. I found that to be very grounding and forgiving. She has a book called The Asking which I recommend.


Can you recommend something for us to watch?

Something I recently watched – also while making the album – was the Joan Baez documentary, I Am a Noise. She’s always been so intentional about her platform and her words. She’s so aware of her place in the world and I’m deeply inspired by her.


Is there a piece of advice that changed your life?

I get this from my mum: nature is incredibly important. The internet feels like a place to die, these days. It’s everywhere, it’s everything, and you have to challenge it – it takes work to make sure you get away from it. I need nature to create overall balance in my life. For myself, I sometimes feel like I’m dying a bit inside spending so much time on my screen.


What’s something that helps you get out of your own head?

I walk where I can, I hike. I love being underwater and deep in the forest. That always feels really radical and soothing at the same time. I love being out in the world in that way and being intentional about it.


If you were cooking to impress someone, what would you make?

There’s a steak I made for my friends the other day. We had quite an emotional day hanging out, there were lots of tears. I made this steak with garlic butter, and I’d never made one before. It was so nourishing – there was something [about it] that felt very important to the three of us. I’d recycle that. It felt so magical.


Is there a bad habit you wish you could kick?

Which one to pick?! I’ve gotten much better at protecting myself from this, but there’s a weird thing where you have to neutralise every kind of comment you get online. If you value the good ones, you have to value the bad ones” – that’s a dangerous way to think. The easy solution is to not read or engage at all. I have a super sincere relationship with my audience, which is the reason I love touring. The human-to-human connection has changed my life. So a bad habit is sometimes conflating the internet with real life. Taking space and reminding myself of what’s real is something I’m constantly trying to get better at.


What is your favourite song of all time?

So Far Away by Carole King just sprung to mind.


What can artists do to help save the world?

Talk about what’s happening in the world. To be an artist is to be an empath, and in order to be tapped into people’s feelings, it’s required that we listen and speak about it.

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