Campus Celebrity: Grace Fuisz '19

Name: Grace “Gracie” Fuisz

Year: Freshman, 2019

Hometown: Washington, DC

Major: Possibly physics, possibly music, definitely undecided

Activities: Chasers, Musical Theater and Opera Workshop (Op Shop), cooking class at the craft center

 

Hello Grace! When did you start writing your own songs?

Well, I have these stupid journals from when I was 5 or so, and I didn’t understand how to actually read or write music. Everything looks like weird stepping stools of when I should change pitch instead of actual notes. I think there was something about a bird and a ring in there...the subject matter has transitioned a little bit…

 

What is the difference, do you think, between the younger you songs and older you songs?

Fun fact, this is basically the college essay that got me into Kenyon. Younger me only really knew four chords that sounded good together, so every song pre middle school sounded exactly like the same.

 

And that progression was?

C major, G major, A minor, F major. And then middle school was slightly more complicated, more angsty, and high school was learning the power of a bridge.

 

Now that sounds symbolic.

It’s really not. Well...except it kind of is…

 

What are some reactions to your music?

I’ve heard that my songs are relatable, and my grandmother likes to comment on my Facebook page, which is always positive! Aside from that, I did win the American Songwriting Award Teen Category in 2014 and attended the award ceremony in Las Vegas.

 

What?! I didn’t know that!

Yeah, it was great! Got to meet with a lot of other songwriters and hung out with friends on the strip... it was a mini extravaganza, if you will.

 

That’s amazing! What song did you win for?

Inishbofin, which literally means island of white sheep.

 

Sheep, you say. What was the inspiration behind that song?

When I went on a writing trip to Ireland, around 2013, I was among lots of angsty teenage writers. There was this guy on the trip who was interested in me, but I wanted to reject him in the friendliest way so I just told him I had a boyfriend, which was completely untrue. But I had to continue with that lie, as to not be an asshole. Then I found a guitar one night and someone said I should write about my boyfriend and I was like uh...so I wrote a song about a fictional romantic interest. The whole song is totally a lie. And then I won that award with it and it’s really awkward every time I have to explain it. I tell this story at my concerts and sometimes people laugh, and sometimes people don’t, and it’s uncomfortable either way.

 

I have insider information that you have a song topic list. Can you tell me three things on it?

Some of them are based off of conversations with people, but generally I like singing about people changing, new environments, the first Kenyon party I went to, and you, dear friend! Also a shout out to service Pre-O: one current idea is about an ant and a grasshopper.

 

Any cool inspiration tips for those struggling?

I do this thing where I listen to albums all the way through and summarize, not exactly what the songs are saying, but the root of it. I did this with Lake Street Dive’s album “Bad Self Portraits” and narrowed down the concept to something simple, as in, “he left and I am trying to move on” versus, “I am taking pictures of the world and being sad.” Interpreting what has already been written in your own way is a good way to find your own topics.

 

And of course, who is your favorite musical artist?

Ben Folds, no question. My favorite album of his would be his most recent, “So There.”

Also, the Ben Folds Five album “Whatever and Ever Amen” is incredible.

 

My dear, talented Grace, where can we find your work?

My bandcamp is outdated, but my first LP will be released this year. It’s being mixed right now! I’ve been doing this challenge in which I write one song a week, so I have a Soundcloud for that. 

 

Thanks so much to Grace for talking with me! I’ve been a fan for a while and I recommend checking out her stuff either on her Soundcloud or on her Bandcamp. You can also check her out at gracefuisz.com! I have a lot of faith in the future of this one; Grace, you rock!

 

Image sources: Grace Fuisz