Born and bred in New York City, Alma Grace is an actress, activist and musician. Only 20 years old (as of today), Alma is already building a strong reputation and following in the pop industry. We sat down with this lovely lady to discuss her new single ‘Fine Lines’ (set for release on May 29th), collaborations and much more!
Why did you decide to become a musician?
A love for music definitely runs in the family – my mom sand to me all the time as a kid. She would make up songs to get me to clean up or go to bed. Her favourite stories are about toddler-me standing on boxes and demanding everyone listen to me sing. I was lucky that I grew up in New York City surrounded by the arts and could pursue a professional theatre career at a young age. I definitely credit theatre with sparking my passion for music. However, if it wasn’t for a chance encounter on the subway with an artist named NISHA I probably would not have become a singer-songwriter.
You are about to release your single ‘Fine Lines’. Can you tell us about it?
I wrote ‘Fine Lines’ during my year off from college. It’s definitely my most vulnerable song to date and tackles the topic of sexual assault on college campuses. Over the years, I heard so many stories from my friends about their own experiences with “grey areas” when it came to consent. In reality, these fine lines shouldn’t exist – consent should be unequivocal.
As a survivor, I wrote this song to overcome my own misplaced feelings of guilt and to truly heal and process what happened to me during my first year at college. It’s my rejection of people and systems that made me feel as if consent was some murky, unclear line – it isn’t.
How do you feel ‘Fine Lines’ differs from your other songs, if at all?
It’s a lot darker than my other songs, not only thematically but also sonically. There’s a witchy vibe in the production that pairs nicely with the minor melodies and lyrics. The media often addresses sexual assault allegations against powerful people as “witch hunts” and I wanted to incorporate that imagery in the song. I’ve also always been fascinated by the Brujeria ingrained in Mexican culture – my roots always inspire my music.
What themes do you focus on when writing music?
I try to make my music as socially and politically relevant as possible. I want my art to call attention to issues of injustice that are most important to me. ‘Adios Maria’ was a homage to my Mexican immigrant family. ‘You Are Here’ called out our stress culture and lack of mental health awareness. ‘Fine Lines’ aims to combat the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses. That’s not to say I don’t write songs about heartbreak, but right now my goal is to spark conversations and make an impact with my voice. I’m going to be donating a portion of the profits from ‘Fine Lines’ to RAINN – an organisation committed to supporting survivors. This was especially important to me after reading about the nationwide spike in sexual violence during Covid-19.
What is your creative process?
My process is largely driven by my emotions. Whenever a feeling surfaces, and most of the time I’m not sure what the feeling is, I’ll hole up in the corner of my room I’ve designated as my “studio space” and start singing the melodies that come to me. Usually, a word will stick out in those melodies and that becomes my hook. Sparks of inspiration can also strike at random times – eating strawberries outside on a hot day, walking through a strange fog. Some moments inexplicably compel me to write.
You were working in the US Senate when you were a teenager. Do you feel this experience influenced your music?
Yes! Working in the Senate ade me sure that I wanted to make a difference in the world. I worked on issues ranging from environmental justice to criminal justice reform and immigration policies. There are so many systems that are not working in the US and that job showed me just how badly I want to be part of fixing them. For a while, I thought I could only do that through legislation or traditional advocacy, but I’ve seen now that music and art can be effective mediums to promote justice.
How would you describe your music?
Evolving, genre-bending and drawing inspiration from many different places. My songs are very lyrically driven and I melodically live somewhere in the pop, indie and Latin worlds.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would that be and why?
Frank Ocean. He’s a true genius. Bad Religion is what first inspired me to write my own songs. Production-wise he’s also so innovative and bold. I also love Jessie Reyez – her song ‘Gatekeepers’ was a big reference for me in making ‘Fine Lines’.
Do you have any messages for our readers?
Changing the world is such a big, impossible-sounding mission, but if you can make a positive impact in even one person’s life you’re changing their world for the better. I hope for three minutes my music can make that impact.