Grace Joyner became Charleston’s own indie darling with the release of her Young Fools EP in 2014. Beforehand, she had been the demure background vocalist making appearances with Wylie (Brave Baby), Elim Bolt, and on Johnny Delaware’s solo record. The initial EP was not necessarily weak but arguably just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe Sometimes in C, her first full-length album, is an affirmation of Joyner’s love and willingness to be a musician.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Grace in the small mountain town she now calls home – a dramatically different atmosphere from the bustling coastal city of Charleston. While the album was almost entirely written in Charleston, Grace credits her initial time of self-reflection after the move as the final piece of the puzzle. It was within those few months that she wrote “Knees,” rounding off the collection of nine tracks she was aiming for to finish Maybe Sometimes in C.
What track is your personal favorite from Maybe Sometimes in C?
I am really proud of “Kid.” I don’t think I changed any word from the first time I wrote the lyrics.
How would you describe your relationship with writing music?
For the most part, I am pretty introverted but with music I’m able to be more honest with myself and other people. I’m never one to air my dirty laundry but I can be more straight-forward through music. Music has always been a really important part of my life — it’s definitely something I always want to be doing. I also saw a lot of people let it become a source of frustration and stress. So, I inherently didn’t have high expectations. I don’t want to do anything halfway but it’s not my goal to become a career musician and support myself only off of that.
The act of creating a ‘brand’ has become synonymous with being a musician. Is that something you enjoy?
I love that part of it. I tend to overdress a little bit, and at first people said ‘Oh, you look so nice.’ Then after a while, it was just the way I dress so nobody says anything about it. I try to keep that theme in the music as well – it is just the way I am, but I do exaggerate it a little. We recently had a review of “Dreams” that said it sounded hazy and that is exactly the idea we had went for in the music video — it’s hazy as shit.
Is that what led to your decision to go by Grace Joyner rather than Amber Joyner?
I wanted it to be different than my first name — I guess I just don’t think my first name is very musical. I was hoping it would be a separate entity from my personal life, but now I just have a bunch of people who call me Grace.
Maybe Grave Joyner would have been cool.
Who would you consider an influence on your music?
I listened to Keane a lot when I was younger — before I started writing music — and I sometimes think his style was an influence. Not the instrumentation but the melodies that he writes. I didn’t really know it was an influence until I heard one of the songs later on and noticed similarities.
If you had to eat one type of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Breakfast food – poached eggs, sautéed greens, peppers and mushrooms, some sort of toast, and mimosas.
There is always a beer sitting on your keyboard. What’s your go-to beer?
I like Pale Ales a lot, (Sierra Nevada or Pisgah for her local favorites) and IPAs. It’s annoying to have to bend down, [and] there is a perfect space for it on my keyboard.
Friday May 27th | New Brookland Tavern | Columbia
Saturday May 28th | The Royal American | Charleston
More photos from our shoot with Grace Joyner: