Soulful Pop and R&B Artist, Gracie Laboy Chats With TMI About Her Debut EP, Valencia

Hey Gracie 🙂 You just released your debut EP! What do you hope your supporters will think of the new music? & What do you hope they’ll get from hearing your new songs?

This is my debut EP, so it’s my listeners’ first taste of my voice as an artist! I hope my supporters see that I’m an artist who wants to be vulnerable and write music from real experiences and feelings for my fans. We’re all human and even though we all have such distinct and unique experiences and journeys throughout life, we can all relate to certain 

Emotions, and it’s a beautiful thing when people find solace through music and art.

Can you tell us the backstory of the new album? Is it from a real experience?

“Valencia” Is an emotive, four-track exploration of struggle, vulnerability, healing, and falling in love. It’s named after the city that inspired me and gave me a fresh new start in life and love. My lyrics and voice embrace the highs and lows of my personal struggles and finding love in Valencia. So yes, it is inspired from real life experiences from my year living in Valencia, Spain, while completing my master’s in music. 

What does this album mean to you?

As this is my first release, this EP means the world to me! I’m excited to build a fan base and have them see my growth as an artist, as they grow too.

Can you spill any details on what your supporters can look forward to from you?!?

This coming November, I’ll be releasing a Latin pop/reggaetón single that is very different from my EP, and I’m really excited for supporters to hear a different side of me  

What’s it feel like to be releasing your own original music?

Especially as a new songwriter, it feels absolutely amazing to be releasing original music. Before I was focused on my education, performing, perfecting my craft, and practicing, so I had never written my own music. In late 2017 I decided it was time to begin writing original music. Although it was terrifying, I am so glad I started writing my own songs, because there’s nothing more rewarding than sharing your thoughts and emotions through the gift of music. 

Will there be a music video for any of your new singles? If so, can you tell us about the concept of the video 🙂 

Maybe 😉 To be announced 

Is there anyone you want to thank that’s helped you get to where you are today? 

My parents and brother are my number one support system. From taking me to voice lessons from a young age and attending all my chorus concerts and musical theatre shows, to helping me choose fonts for my EP cover and listening to final mixes of songs, they have been there through it all. I owe them everything! My boyfriend, Kris, was not only an inspiration for the EP, but he has also been a huge support throughout the whole process. Lastly, my high school music teacher, Mr. Davidson and my old voice teachers Myra Tate (Rest in Peace) and Wendy Hillhouse were a large part of why I have continued to pursue music throughout my life. I’d also love to thank my friends and fans!

What do you want your message to be towards your fans? What do you want your fans to take away from your music and shows?

I want my fans to feel raw emotion from my soulful, classically trained vocals, and I want them to relate to the vulnerability of the songs.  

Are you planning any shows to promote your new music?

I am likely hosting a show/EP release party on my apartment rooftop on Saturday, December 7th, but exact details TBD. Follow my Instagram (@gracielaboymusic) or Facebook page to keep up!

What is it like performing in front of your supporters? 

I’ve actually only performed my original music once in front of people – it was an amazing experience to see how people reacted to the different songs, and to be able to tell my story!

What do you want your supporters to know that you think is important?

I want my supporters to know that I want to speak up about mental health issues and the stigma that comes with it. I want my supporters to know that after this EP release I will be focusing on writing new music and further developing my sound. I want them to know that I’m a proud Latina! I want them to know that I love traveling and learning about other cultures through travel. And I want them to know how much I appreciate them!

What’s something your fans don’t know about you?

Post-college graduation, I walked 500 miles across Spain! I did the Camino de Santiago, a historically religious pilgrimage that leads to Santiago de Compostela, in Northwest Spain. I started the journey completely alone, but I ended up becoming part of a “Camino family.” Two brothers from Granada, Oliver and Juanlu, were raising awareness for the difficulties people with disabilities face, and raising money for an association in Granada called La Ciudad Accesible. Juanlu has cerebral palsy and can’t speak or move much on his own, and they had the goal of doing the entire pilgrimage on all the original paths, no roads, with the wheelchair. Spanish press followed the story, and the arrival to Santiago was one of the most emotional moments of my life. This group of people taught me valuable lessons and they are friends for life.

Have you ever been starstruck? 

I was recently in the same room as several players from the Nationals (DC’s baseball team!) and was definitely starstruck! I’ve never met any of my musical role models, but hopefully will someday

What do you want your fans to know if they ever see you in public? 

I want them to know that I want to talk to them! My supporters are the most important thing to me – especially as I am a new artist, these people are the people that will have been with me from the start.

Is there anyone in the music business you are dying to meet?

I’m DYING to meet Lizzo, Rosalía, and Janelle Monae. These women are empowering and insanely talented, and they speak up on things they are passionate about. They’re all vulnerable in their own ways. Not to mention they each have a sense of humor and can be silly, which I love

Why do you think social media is so important for artists like yourself? 

Social media is so important to keep fans updated on my music and life, and it also acts as a platform to speak out on issues that are important to me.

What would you say is your biggest dream/goal right now?

I’d say my biggest dream currently is to be able to touch people with music by creating works that they can relate to in a very personal way and to write inspiring songs that touch on current issues in our society. I want to discuss topics like mental health stigma. I want to tour and record as much as possible, and make good music with amazing musicians and producers! I just want to sing as much as possible!

Any last things you want to tell your supporters?

Thank you so much for listening to and sharing my music, and beginning this musical journey with me!

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! 

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