iNTERViEW: Grace Joyner


We sat down with Grace Joyner, who recently released two wistful singles “Vampira” and “Lovers Do“.

If you haven’t heard of Grace Joyner yet, you’re in for a special treat. Joyner’s music takes its listener on a whimsical journey with her breathy haunting vocals, and divinely beautiful instrumental accompaniment. She is one of those artists that does simplicity so well, with the focus on her craftful lyricism and effortless melodic vocal styling.

COLLiDE chatted with Grace about her songwriting process, her music community, how the pandemic has affected life as a musician, and more:

1. What influenced your new song?
A: The song was inspired by the story of the late-night horror host from the 50’s Vampira, Maila Nurmi, and James Dean. They had somewhat of a fling before his passing, and after it ended she couldn’t really let it go. She was an amazing woman and visionary and the song is meant as a reminder to try to remember your worth in the face of rejection. 

2. Describe your creative process while writing “Vampira”.
A: I wrote the song on my piano. It was one of those songs that just flowed out naturally. The story had been on my mind and writing the song was a way for me to process my thoughts on it. 

3. If you could have lunch with any musician – living or dead – who would it be and what would love to ask them? What would you talk about with them?
A: Wow, what a question! I think I will have to go with Jeff Buckley. I would love to ask him what he valued most in life, what made him excited to write music, and what was his favorite way to spend his time. He was a huge influence for me and seemed like such a kind and gentle human in addition to being an incredible musician and songwriter. 

4. What is the Charleston music scene like? Are there distinguished music communities there? Are you a part of one? How has it been affected by the Pandemic?
A: The music scene in Charleston is very collaborative and supportive. There certainly are distinguished music communities and much crossover between them. I would say I have been part of the indie scene here for a long time, but I have had crossover and collaboration in other genres as well. The first year of the pandemic was rough on the music community in Charleston as it was, I assume, everywhere. With the vaccine and time to adjust to safe show practices, it has picked back up and is starting to thrive again. 

5. Any plans for releases, shows, tours, etc. for 2022?
I will continue to release singles over the next few months and will be playing more shows. I took a pretty aggressive break from shows to promote safe practices during the pandemic. More recently, I have started booking more considering there are now responsible ways to play a show. 

6. How did you get your start playing music (your musician origin story)?
A: My mother is a musician so she always encouraged my musical endeavors. I had more formal voice training as a kid, and then when I went to college I became involved and sang with some local indie bands. Probably around 20 or 21 I started writing more music and found my sound. Through friendships and collaboration, I formed my band and took it from there! 

7. Who are some of your biggest influences?
A: Jeff Buckley, Leslie Feist, Fiona Apple, Neko Case, Rufus Wainwright. 
8. Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety?
A: I thankfully don’t experience too much performance anxiety. I try to stay present and thankful that I get to play music with my best friends. I approach it with less pressure and more gratitude. 

9. Who is your dream artist/band to collaborate with?
A: That is hard but probably Fiona Apple. She is a freaking genius and I love everything she has done. If I could write a song with her that would be a pretty amazing experience for me. Now, if that happened I would have some serious performance anxiety… 

10. Anything else you’d love to tell us that we may not know about you! Fun fact, etc.
A: Let’s see…I am starting law school in the fall of this year. I always really loved school and I am excited to go back. I intend on practicing child advocacy.