photo: spencer starnes
“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.”
While the Rochester-born Martin has one foot in the past and the other in the present, her music
comes across as a timeless blend of both—a stirring confluence of classic American music and
modern pop that’s brimming with sophistication and heart.
Unschooled until she was a teenager--unschooling is an iteration of homeschooling defined by
encouraging learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning—as a young girl Martin
was able to focus on creative disciplines like music, art and theatre. Along the way, she
discovered the music of Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse and Joni Mitchell, and once she did, nothing was ever the same.
By the time she was 15, she had been studying classical voice, writing her own songs and
playing guitar for several years. An elegant blend of lush pop and fantasy folk, Martin’s
compositions are rich, dreamy and emotionally exact.
Her EP Unconscious announced her arrival back in 2017 and 2021 finds the musician at a
particularly creative moment in her life, despite facing many of the obstacles that 2020
introduced for musicians.
Martin has a new single on the way--the haze-y and hypnotic “Dreams
Die.” The song is an operatic, 60’s inspired ballad, dripping in nostalgia for adolescent longing.
As for the themes she keeps returning to, Martin is rather candid. “Sleep and dreams are a big
one,” she says. “I'm very interested in dreams, stories and tropes we convince ourselves of in
waking life as well as the power of the unconscious mind when we sleep. 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
With a BFA in acting under her belt and as a former company member of Elliott Arrick’s Plant
Me Here interdisciplinary arts collective, Martin is a natural extrovert who has been known to
enjoy deep conversations with strangers. Her music is deeply influenced by her background in
theatre and as a result, her compositions are fully realized narratives that evince a true gift for
storytelling inside the framework of a pop song.
Martin admits her aim is, “To make songs feel like their own sonic worlds that can draw you in
like a play. Working with Plant Me Here was imperative in turning on my interest in music
production and coming at songwriting with an ear for sound design. Every time I sit down to
record a demo by myself or work with a co-producer to develop a track's sound, it's a world
building and storytelling exercise a lot like creating a piece of theatre.”
Even as she continues to quarantine far from the stages she is familiar with, Martin continues to
ignite her creativity at the border of fantasy and reality. Crafting dream worlds from the comfort
of her bed.
photo: jp calubaquib