It’s been almost an entire year since I went to a show. Back in 2019, I saw over 100 performances, going to shows at local, independent venues throughout Chicago multiple times a week. Little did I know that what was coming would, unfortunately, put that experience on hold for an unfathomable amount of time that has yet to come to an end. These experiences will come back…eventually…and it’s even more upsetting to think about the countless amount of musicians whose livelihoods depend on touring having to recalibrate their career paths and put so many plans on hold. Many musicians have (seemingly) taken this unique time in history to create incredible bodies of art, but not all of them are so lucky to have the resources to do so. For some, the concept of creating from bed isn’t an unfamiliar one.
Rochester-born Gracie Martin has been working on her craft during quarantine (from her bed) since finishing college with an MFA in acting. By the time she turned 15, Martin had been studying classical voice, writing her own songs and learning how to play guitar. Thanks to her experience growing up being “unschooled” (a concept of homeschooling defined by the learner choosing activities as a source of learning), Martin became quickly inspired by artists like Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, and Joni Mitchell.
“I thrive on the tension between the past and the future,” says singer/songwriter Gracie Martin. “It’s similar to my interest in capturing the acoustic/analogue warmth of 20th century artists I love while producing it in context with the music that’s been popular in my lifetime.”
Martin’s first EP, Unconscious, was released in 2017. Since then, she’s released a couple of singles and has continued to work on her craft, despite the chaos that unfolded for the world in early 2020.
“Dreams Die” was inspired by Martin’s fascination with dreams and how they impact our lives, consciously or not. “I’ve had dreams that have helped me work through real life traumas as well as day dreams that have taken me dangerously far away from reality. Sometimes I trust my sleeping mind more than my conscious one,” she says.
The song reminds me of music from Maggie Rogers, Molly Burch and a little bit King Princess. The production is layered with horns, electro-pop synth, and beautiful harmonies that show off Martin’s strong vocals. It’s clear why she studied acting in college, her ability to showcase emotion in her voice is a talent hard to come by.
Missing about something you once admired and looked at as hopeful is a sentiment as clear as ever, but even more relevant during a time where it’s crucial to put your plans on hold and pivot on how to live your life. For those of us who are lucky enough to have the privilege of working from home and relying on an income that won’t disappear, these are far less dangerous circumstances of living. But uncertain times can cause a sense of feeling unstable, unsure, and unfocused, looking back on a cloudy concept of what you thought you once wanted that is no longer possible. What does it feel like to no longer feel the desire to long for something when there’s nothing left to long?
Be sure to keep up with what’s next for Gracie Martin here.
“Dreams Die” is available to stream on major platforms now.