At just 14 years old, Baker Grace was already professionally releasing music under the moniker Bitter's Kiss, with an acclaimed self-titled album in 2015. Fast forward to four years later and a drastic name change, Grace has honed her utterly transcendental sound that's both dreamy and sharp. Heavily influenced by Carole King, Grace showcases her truest self through her genuine lyricism, as we see in her brilliant new EP, Girl, I Know.
The five-track collection represents Grace's concept of a five-day work week in which each day and song evokes its own atmosphere. The opening title track, "Girl, I Know" is Grace's promise to herself to never lose her sense of curiosity and invincibility. Balanced with stirring electronics and charming guitar strokes, this uplifting tune is a generous hurrah to all the young women listening. The ethereal "Wrong Kind of People" touches on Grace's experiences with unrealistic expectations and societal pressures that led her to question what she really wants.
Grace then switches up the tempo with a twinkly, upbeat tune about confidence and taking ownership of our lives called "Numb." Advocating for self-care, "Numb" features bouncy instrumentals and Grace's charismatic vocals that we're spoiled with throughout the dynamic EP. Taking Girl, I Know into a completely different soundscape, "Illest" is a trap-infused banger in which Grace reassures people to not seek validation through other people. The uplifting closing track, "Handcuffs" begins with delicate pianos and leads into Grace's vibrant vocals as she chooses love over hate amidst the acts of violence we see on the news every day.
Enter Baker Grace's world of pop melodies with Girl, I Know below:
In anticipation of her fantastic new EP, Ones To Watch recently chatted with Baker Grace about stage names, music production, and of course, Girl, I Know.
OTW: You grew up listening to greats like Carole King and Tupac Shakur and eventually taught yourself how to play piano and guitar. How else was your childhood shaped by music?
Grace: My father is a musician and a songwriter, and I grew up surrounded by instruments and music. He used to sing me to sleep at night, and I began singing with him. I always admired his talent and his songwriting. It inspired me to sing and create myself and I fell in love with it.
OTW: Before releasing music as Baker Grace, you performed under the name Bitter’s Kiss. Why did you change your stage name and how has your career grown because of that shift in direction?
Grace: Bitter's Kiss was my first project I created with my father when I was 14. It will always hold a special place in my heart but I have grown a lot since then both personally and musically. Bitter’s Kiss was made at a time when I was in a jaded, darker place, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Baker Grace represents an empowered women staying graceful in the chaos, holding her own weight.
OTW: Just a few years ago, you were discovered by Scott Harris (Shawn Mendes, The Chainsmokers), who got you making music with Republic Records. What was this experience like?
Grace: I learned a lot from working with Scott and Republic. I learned how to structure a song and make it digestible for listening. My mind can be all over the place so learning how to focus my mind into creating a message other people can understand was key. I also learned a lot about the industry and what I want for myself. I realized how little fame, money, or praise was ever gonna mean to me if I can't be myself, share my message, and use my power to empower and help others.
Photo Credit: Chuck Willis
OTW: You have an incredible energy and inviting soundscape that fans seem to respond very warmly to. How would you describe your sound to new listeners in five words?
Grace: I would describe my sound as "an escape into your truth."
OTW: You’ve already released four singles off your stunning new EP, Girl, I Know. Which one is your favorite track off the EP?
Grace: I like them all for different reasons. It's hard to judge because they all mean something unique and special to me. I think lyrically and melodically I am most proud of "Wrong Kind Of People." It is the one that made me the most emotional when I first heard it.
OTW: What was your creative process like for Girl, I Know? Were there any songs in particular that you struggled with?
Grace: The songs on the EP all came to me very naturally, and I think that's the way the best music is made. It can't be forced or trying too hard. Some songs started with poems I had in my notes and some just singing random melodies and lyrics over a guitar or piano and some writing over produced out tracks. I like to just start singing how I feel and creating a story out of it.
Photo Credit: Chuck Willis
OTW: Girl, I Know focuses a lot on themes like self love and confidence. What inspired you to create this reflective EP?
Grace: I wrote the songs on this EP when I was 16-18 years old. Being a young woman today isn't easy; the pressure, judgement, and expectations on how we are supposed to look and act had me very overwhelmed. How about happiness? How about self worth? Self love? They all seemed to get lost in a sea of "who looks better" and "who has more." I didn't wanna live like that. This EP helped me gain the confidence to create my own definitions and standards and not let society determine how I see myself. I'm still learning, but I know who I am enough to not let anyone else decide for me.
OTW: As you’ve been crafting Girl, I Know, you’ve also taken it upon yourself to explore music production. What have you learned so far?
Grace: I am starting to learn how to create instruments and tracks and how to add effects. I'm getting familiar with the software. Mostly getting into basics so that I can explore more freely in the future.
OTW: If you could collaborate with anyone in the industry, who would you want to work with?
Grace: I would definitely want to collaborate with J Cole. His lyrics have always spoken to me and I love his vibe. I would love to see what we could say together and how my vocals would sound over one of his beats.
OTW: Who are your current Ones To Watch?