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INTERVIEW: Open Up The PILLBX With Grace Gaustad

INTERVIEW: Open Up The PILLBX With Grace Gaustad

You know that feeling when you realize your fave is one of the most talented people out there, in music and beyond? Yup, Grace Gaustad keeps giving us that feeling over and over. They’ve blown us away with their music, their visuals, and their TikTok-ready vibes, but they continue to find new ways to impress us.

If it isn’t Grace’s distinctive vocals or unique take on traditional pop music that charms you, it’ll be the attention they pay to the world they create around each of their songs. Their music videos will catch your eye and get you thinking, and one of our recent favorites is the video for ‘Beauty & The Beast,’ which comments on beauty standards and self-esteem with a cameo from Loren Gray.

We got to talk to Grace all about ‘Beauty & The Beast,’ their upcoming PILLBX: whts ur fantasy? album, and more about their artistry! Tune into the ‘Beauty & The Beast’ music video below and keep reading to check out our conversation with Grace.

Congrats on your latest single, ‘Beauty & The Beast!’ How does it feel to finally share the song with the world and see how fans are reacting?
It feels wonderful to finally have the song out in the world! The music video for ‘Beauty & The Beast’ premiered on Rolling Stone and that was a childhood dream come true. The fan reactions have been so positive, and as an artist having your art appreciated, celebrated, and supported is all you can ever ask for.

Is there a particular lyric on ‘Beauty & The Beast’ that you’re particularly proud of?
The bridge on ‘Beauty & The Beast’ has some of my favorite lyrics off the album. I love how brutally honest these lyrics are and I feel that they summarize the song’s theme in just a few words. “Crying to the old me, the new one treats me badly. Living long enough to see myself become the bad dream. Where the inside is ugly and the outside is lovely.”

‘Beauty & The Beast’ and its music video are a commentary on beauty standards and how social media has altered our perception of ourselves, and we love that you’re speaking up about such an important issue! What was it like planning out the video and figuring out how to tell that story on screen?
The video was a blast to work on and so much fun. My incredible director Van Alpert and I spent a lot of time conceptualizing it. We spent hours working on visuals, color themes, choreography, and so much more. Every little detail was planned in advance and that’s my favorite way to work! We knew we wanted to portray an extreme version of beauty, so we brought in an incredible prosthetics team to help us display what it looks like when narcissism takes over and vanity goes too far.

Another song of yours that we love is ‘GAGA,’ which was inspired by Lady Gaga and got a nod of approval from Mother Monster herself! What was it like to get Gaga’s support on that release?
I’ve been a little monster since 2008, and getting a nod from Mother Monster herself meant the world to me. It brought me to tears knowing that once upon a time I was a little kid in my bedroom doing all the choreography to Gaga’s music videos and now as an adult, I feel so honored to call her a friend and mentor.

We can’t wait to hear the rest of your PILLBX album in 2023, everything we’ve heard so far is incredible! Is there a certain unreleased song you’re most excited for fans to hear?
The song I’m most excited for everyone to hear is track 8. The video is epic and the song is an absolute revenge anthem. It’s all about taking your power back and owning your narrative, two things that I think are so important. Everyone loves a song that makes you feel alive in the best way possible.

Who were some of your influences on PILLBX’s sound?
The most obvious influence is Lady Gaga. I’ve spent years studying her catalog and singing her songs, so naturally, my music is very inspired by her own. I also have loved Taylor Swift for many years and I consider our writing styles to be very similar. I admire Taylor’s ability to take you on an emotional rollercoaster in just a few minutes and that’s something I always try to do in my own music. My next track, ‘Old Ways,’ sort of reminds me of a song Taylor may have written back when she was my age.

Something we love about the PILLBX era is that each song and video work together to tell a story, with each video offering a different pill with a different power to change an aspect of your life. How did you come up with that concept?
It all started with a question: What do you do when you can’t change the unchangeable? You fantasize. I remembered the pillboxes I’d collected since childhood. When you opened them up, there was always a fantastic little surprise inside and I found myself fantasizing about being able to open one that would fulfill my wildest dreams and darkest fantasies, so I created my own world ‘PILLBX’ and wrote songs about all of the things I wish I could change.

You’ve said that one of your proudest moments was getting to help so many fans feel secure and accepted in their sexuality with ‘Red,’ and we love that! What has it been like for you to see your music have that much of an effect on listeners?
Whenever I receive messages from fans talking about how my music has helped them, it always brings me such a tremendous amount of joy. I remember music being one of the most important things for me when I look back at my younger years while exploring my own sexuality. I depended heavily on my favorite artists and songs to help me through that period in my life, and I love being able to do the same for other people.

We love how one of your goals with your work is to turn the pain you experience into something artistic that can help others! What advice would you give to someone struggling to do that with something they went through?
The most important thing you can do with your pain is channel it elsewhere. I happen to use mine to fuel my music, but there are so many different outlets you can use to turn pain into something beautiful. I would encourage anyone who is going through a hard time or experiencing trauma to write, cook, paint, sing, etc. Any activity that calls for creativity/self-expression is a great place to work through your struggles.

How do you feel you’ve grown as an artist since releasing your BLKBX album in 2021?
Although BLKBX came out in the year 2021, most of the music was written in 2019 and was heavily delayed due to Covid, so as a writer and singer I’m in a very different place with my craft. I’ve had so much more time to really hone in on my sound and my message. I feel very comfortable in my own skin and that isn’t something I could say I felt during the BLKBX era.

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For anyone unfamiliar with your music already, which of your songs would you recommend to them to get a feel for who you are as an artist?
If you want to dance, listen to ‘GAGA’. If you want to cry, listen to ‘Jupiter’ or ‘Code Black.’ And lastly, if you want to vibe, listen to ‘Red’ or the ‘PILLBX’ title track. I’ve got a song for everyone’s taste!

At THP, we’re all about discovering new talent and finding the next big hit before it blows up. Who are some up-and-coming artists you’re digging lately?
I found an artist recently by the name of Kevin Atwater and I think he is a phenomenal lyricist and writer. I was scrolling on TikTok and came across one of his videos and was immediately hooked!

What can your fans look forward to in the rest of 2022?
The rest of my album, PILLBX: whts ur fantasy?, songs and videos will continue rolling out throughout all of 2023! I can’t wait for everyone to see all of the incredible music still to come.

We don’t know about you, but we at THP are ecstatic for the incredible music still to come! Thank you so much to Grace for answering our questions and pouring your heart out into your work!

Now we wanna hear from you! What do you think of ‘Beauty & The Beast?’ What’s your favorite Grace Gaustad song? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! And for more exclusive interviews, click here.


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