Since Isaac Gracie released his first demo, Last Words, in 2016, the softly spoken singer-songwriter from Ealing has been turning many heads; his unique blend of intense, introspective folk-rock, wrapped in a rich, husky voice has earned him comparisons to the likes of Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen. ‘To compare myself to them would be massively egotistical’ he tells me. ‘People like to imagine these things, because it’s special to them, but it’s not true’.
His first EP, Songs from my Bedroom, was exactly that; a collection of 5 tracks, recorded by himself at home, on GarageBand. I enquire as to what he enjoys most about the process; ‘performing and song writing, I think, are incomparable, both are amazing, I love the producing process as well, producing music is great’. These 5 songs sparked immediate interest, and demonstrated Gracie’s obvious talent, both to a growing fan base, and to those in higher places, attracting the attention of some of music’s biggest names.
He quickly caught the eye of one Sir Lucian Grainge, the CEO of Universal Music Group, who raced across the Atlantic to hear Gracie play at the Lexington in London. Soon Virgin EMI had secured his signature and with them, Gracie released several EPs and singles across the next year. These included reverie and all in my mind, 2 breath-taking tracks which showcase the true extent of his phenomenal range.
The son of a poet, Gracie began writing at 14, crafting the lyrics which seem to nest in the mind, comforting and elegiac, they come from everywhere and anywhere, ‘it always depends, I’ve found recently that being in love has given me a lot of inspiration for writing’. This is indeed the case, with lines like “I’m sick of standing by your window, tracing silhouettes of you” resonating with plaudits far and wide.
His debut album will be accompanied by a 2018 tour where fans can glimpse him in action at intimate venues dotted up and down the UK, in what promises to be another successful year for an artist who continues to rise. Nevertheless, on the phone he appears grounded: ‘you still don’t get used to it’, he admits. This summer will also see him touring across Europe, to places like Berlin, Maastricht and Hilvernabeek for Best Kept Secret festival, where he will be playing alongside some of music’s biggest names, including The Arctic Monkeys and Tyler the Creator. He tells me, ‘I’ve never really played abroad before so it will be a new experience for me’.
With a jam-packed summer to come, there will surely be plenty more in store for everyone, but especially for Gracie himself. Perhaps, we are witnessing only the start of a very long and exciting career for the man who began with his Last Words.
Isaac Gracie’s self-titled album is out on the 13th April.
You can listen to Michael’s interview with Isaac for University Radio York here.
For more interviews, check out @URYMusic on TwitterBy Michael Parr