A common fear shared by artists is being “pigeonholed;” falling into one sonic lane and being expected to stay there for the duration of their career. How do they combat it? Let the song take a life of its own and allow influences to shine through.
With a diverse and unique set of influences, San Antonio native Marcy Grace has injected each into her music, with a genre bending and blending sound all her own, and people are starting to take notice.
After winning the fan-voted New Female Vocalist of the Year award for Big Star 97, she saw her debut single enter the top 40 in Texas, and before things were shut down, she was establishing herself as a live force as well.
We chatted with Marcy about her diverse influences, making the decision to pursue music as a career and the support she received from her parents, the success of her first two albums, her plans for the rest of the year and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Marcy Grace: I’m a 90s baby, so I grew up around a lot of different types of music: Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Matchbox Twenty, Alan Jackson and more. Really, one my biggest influences besides Sheryl is Linda Ronstadt. She has just one my favorite voices of all time, so versatile too, singing rock, country and Spanish.
PC: Your bio mentions that you’ve played music for most of your life. What was it about music that connected with you so early in your life?
MG: I was introduced to music at an early age; my dad is a musician, so it kind of came natural to me. My first instrument, and still what I call my principle instrument today, are the drums. I started taking lessons when I was about five years-old. Drove my parents crazy! [laughs]. Really though, I believe that gave me a great foundation in learning guitar. I had good rhythm and I think that is represented in my music today. I wrote my first song after learning guitar when I was 11, and I just kept going!
PC: After graduation high school, you decided to pursue a career in music. Can you talk about making that decision and if there was any pressure that came with making that leap right out of high school?
MG: It wasn’t an easy decision really. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. All I knew was I was good at music and I really loved it. I remember crying in the car on my way home from school one day and telling my mom, “I don’t know what to do. I just want to be a songwriter.” She lovingly said okay, and I started going to open mics and really enjoying performing. I really feel those were important shows in my growth. I am more of a shy person, but I felt comfortable on stage. I’m blessed to have such great support from my parents.
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release music for the first time with your album Fireworks?
MG: I was so excited! It was my first time in the studio, but I really enjoyed it. It’s so cool to hear your songs come together in a recording for the first time. It was a great experience and we all had a blast! When it came out, we had some great reviews on it and people really liked the variety it had on there. I think was a fun introduction for me.
PC: In 2018, you won New Female Vocalist of the Year from Big Star 97. What kind of validation came with earning that recognition at that point of your career?
MG: I just remember feeling so blessed and surprised. It’s a fan-voted award, and there were some other amazing artists in my category. I did not even prepare a speech, but I made it through it [laughs]. It was just an amazing feeling, and it really helped me to keeping pushing on and know that I was on the right track.
PC: Your first single from your sophomore album No Limits, “I Wanna,” reached number 37 on the Texas Regional Radio chart. What did it mean to you to have that success out of the gate with your first single? What do you think it is about the song that has continued to allow it to connect with listeners the way it has?
MG: Now this one, I really wasn’t expecting to happen. To go Top 40 on your first ever single to the scene was just so awesome. I feel so blessed and thankful to everyone that supported the song. Being new and meeting people in radio for the first time, especially for shy girl like me, was so scary, but everyone was super welcoming and awesome. I really enjoyed it a lot. You know, I think it’s just a fun, up-beat song. It’s super relatable too, being about the thoughts that go on in your head the first time you see someone you like. I wrote this after a friend of mine told me when she met her husband the first time, she knew she was going to marry him. I thought that was so cool to have a true love-at-first-sight experience. So I think people really liked it!
PC: Your newest single, “Like I Do” is a rocking, electric-driven, boot stomping song. What went into the decision to release “Like I Do” as the latest single from No Limits?
MG: “Like I Do” is really one of our favorite songs as a band to play live. The crowds really like it too, so it was an easy decision to release this song next. I’m a very positive and upbeat person, so I think that comes out in my music. This song will definitely get you moving!
PC: “Him First” is one of our favorite songs on No Limits. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
MG: That song was one I wrote that’s halfway true. As songwriters, we always have to put some sort of spin on things. I had someone tell me once, and this was totally out of love, trust me, that I didn’t express my feelings enough or say what was on my mind. I walked away thinking and knowing that it wasn’t true, but started thinking about what that would look like for someone in a relationship, and “Him First” was what came out. Funny the way songs can come about.
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from No Limits after listening all the way through?
MG: I really hope it leaves people feeling good. If I can make someone’s day or get them through something, I’ve done my job. It’s very upbeat and fun, so I hope listeners can really get a sense of who I am.
PC: With both Fireworks and No Limits, you’ve blended and featured sounds ranging from straight-forward country, contemporary sounds, and even rock elements. How important is it for you to be able to have that sonic diversity in your sound and draw from difference influences?
MG: I love being able to have something for everybody. Whether you like country, rock or even blues. When I’m writing, if I know the song is good, I’m going to write it, no matter the genre. I don’t really like to stay “in the box.” I feel it limits the potential of songs. In that though, I always try to stay true to myself, and even though the song may be more rock than country or visa versa, it’s still me.
PC: You’ve opened for artists like Bart Crow, Sunny Sweeney and John Baumann, and have played venues like The Bluebird in Nashville. What can you take away from those experiences that can help you as you move forward?
MG: I’ve been very blessed so far with the shows I’ve played and the artists I’ve played with. I try to soak up as much as I can from those other artists. I find I always learn something new whether it’s showmanship or musicianship. So I really do keep every experience and show with me and it’s really helped me grow as an artist.
PC: 2020 has altered many plans of artists so far. Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
MG: It’s been very weird. We went from playing every weekend to only a few shows. This is the longest my band and I have ever gone without playing live shows. As a band though, we are working on new music and more content. We have some awesome things planned and new music as well. We’re staying positive and trekking on!
*Images courtesy of Marcy Grace website*
**Find Marcy’s music on The Best of Pro Country Playlist!**