For the past two years, Grace Gaustad, 17, has been steadily building momentum on two fronts — to finish high school and launch a career in pop music. While her diploma is on lock, a run at the top of the charts takes the right combination of talent, image, luck, timing, savvy, connections, and the drive to do the hard work, constantly up your game, and take the gold medal in overcoming hurdles.

While Grace has written more than 300 originals, she’s been primarily posting covers online to date, and that strategy seems to be working. More than 550,000 people are following her on Instagram, she’s training with Lady Gaga’s vocal coach, Don Lawrence, and now ONErpm is preparing to release four of her original tracks this year.

Popdose proudly presents the lyric video world premiere for Grace Gaustad’s first single of 2019, Best Self’’:

To celebrate Best Self’, Popdose asked Grace to tell us more about herself:

POPDOSE: You’ve been posting digital singles steadily since 2017 and have a new batch slated to release in 2019, starting with ‘Best Self’; how does the new material compare with what you’ve put out — both in terms of songwriting and production? 

GRACE GAUSTAD: Most of the previous releases have been acoustic originals and covers while the next set of songs set for 2019 are fully produced originals. The newer songs have a much more mature and dynamic feel which I think resembles my growth as a musician and artist. 

As you close in on 560K followers, your digital empire is both a tremendous achievement and responsibility. When you interact with fans and followers, do you mainly talk about music, or other topics like your personal life, activism, fashion, etc.?

So far I have kept my page primarily music based so that there are no distractions from the music but in 2019 I’d love to be able to really open up and allow my fans to see a more personal side of me. 

I try to interact with fans as much as possible without getting into the negative energy I’ve seen in the comments section on certain videos. The best way to do that is just disregard negative comments and move on. I love seeing different posts from fan pages and answering direct messages when I can. It’s so fun seeing and reading reactions.

In addition to honing your craft as a singer, songwriter, and performer — how are you learning about the music industry, especially how to monetize and forge a bankable career? The digital age is still the wild west in terms of promotion — your direct access to millions of potential fans was unheard of 20 years ago. 

I’m still learning everyday about how the industry is changing. Although digital platforms have created much easier access for smaller artists, as most people know, it is very difficult to make a living on streaming platforms. I am hoping to see bigger artists take a stance in a changing industry to help the next generation of artists thrive.

Will you be touring or playing showcases to promote the new music?

So far, I haven’t played more than a few charity events and small gigs but after I finish school in June, I’m looking to really start working on live performance.

Do you envision spending much of your career on the road?

I’d love to be an opening act on the road for a reputable artist! As my career progresses I imagine a lot of my time will be spent touring and promoting new music. I’m very excited for what the future holds. 

What have you learned from your idols — like Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse — in terms of what you can accomplish or avoid as your career unfolds?

I feel like the biggest thing I have learned from many of the people I look up to in the industry is the importance of putting your all into your art and sticking to the our core beliefs and values in an industry where it’s easy to lose sight of who you are, especially if you reach tremendous success.

Which artists would be on your wish list to open for in the year or years ahead?

I would love to open for Halsey, Khalid, or Taylor Swift. I think there are many similarities in my music and these wonderful artists. 

Who would you love to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, and Halsey to name a few alongside Max Martin who is one of my favorite producers. I’m really looking forward to meeting new writers and producers as I continue in the industry. It’s always amazing to meet new people and artists to see what you can create together. 

Tell us about ‘Best Self’ — is this the theme song to Melanea Trump’s “Be Best” campaign?

Actually, ‘Best Self’ is a song I wrote about a relationship I was in where the person thought they were winning with their best self by winning with the devil aka going down dark paths they didn’t realize were dark. It broke my heart as I loved who they were, not who they had become. Their version of this their best self wasn’t what I thought it was at all. Part of the message of the song is that bad actions lead to worse consequences.

‘Best Self’ is available for download and streaming on all major digital platforms. Connect with Grace Gaustad on Instagram.

About the Author

Keith Creighton

Keith is a music correspondent for Popdose and an advocate on women's empowerment, gender identity and gender liberation issues. He is a monthly new music contributor to the Planet LP Podcast and is a marketing writer by day for Sudden Monkey.

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