Grace Valerie got her start with Randy Jackson, but she's finally establishing her own voice. Her upcoming single, a dance love-ballad called "Magic," is the first track Grace wrote and released herself. She couldn't be more excited; in our conversation, she talks of how "Magic" is the definition of her sound, an expression of a lifelong passion for dance music. You can hear it in the club this summer, along with Grace's yet to be released album. In the meantime, check out our conversation where we talk "Magic," New York, dance music, and her favorite things.
GGM: You’re about to hit New York City. Are you excited?
GV: I just love New York. Every time I’m there it’s always an experience!
GGM: Are there some spots you have to visit every time you come through New York? Any restaurants?
GV: I love to go to Cafeteria. It’s one of my favorite spots. It’s open pretty much the whole day and whole night. You can meet really interesting people there. There’s a lot of great fashion there, a lot of musicians. I love the vibe. I love the food. It’s definitely my spot. Other than that, I love to hang out. My vocal coach and I go to the studio and write. It’s always a great time in New York.
GGM: Your new single, “Magic,” is coming out. I read an interview where you said you feel like that song “defines” you. Why is that?
GV: We’re dropping "Magic" in a couple weeks and I’m really excited about it, because I want people to hear this side of me. This is actually the first song I wrote by myself and released. It’s a great love song with amazing dance rhythm. I love the whole production. It is my sound. I finally decided for myself what exactly I love to do and what I’ll do with my album this year. “Magic” defines what you can expect from that. All the other songs are different, of course, but they have a similar style.
GGM: Your music is electronic, geared towards the club. Do you ever have an itch to branch out musically?
GV: Since my first US single produced by Randy Jackson, we were doing pop dance music. I feel like I grew as an artist and musician, and music develops in time. My new sound is more up to date. I’m still in the dance world. I’m still doing love-dance ballads and that’s what I really love to do. I love listening to dance artists and hitting the gym with different DJs. That’s what I love, and that’s my passion. I love to listen to older genres, but I can’t see myself as a female rapper or rock singer. I’m sticking to my roots and what I’m passionate about, even though I respect all kinds of music and other musicians.
GGM: You mentioned you listen to dance music when you go to the gym. Can you tell me some DJs or songs you’re listening to when you’re working out?
GV: I like to mix it up. I listen to everything, new stuff, old stuff, favorites. The best thing to listen to I think is Calvin Harris’ new album. It’s really dope for working out and running on the treadmill or doing some kind of cardio. It gives me that mood of pushing harder. I also love Chris Brown’s album F.A.M.E. Some of the tracks are really hype. Other than that, I mainly put on a dance station from Pandora or iTunes and listen to those upbeat songs.
GGM: Do you have a favorite album of all time?
GV: Hmmm… I think it’s Beyonce’s I Am… Sasha Fierce because that’s when I think we first heard Beyonce’s style, know what I mean? I’m a huge fan of hers and Destiny’s Child, even when I was back in Russia. That album showed us, her fans, that that was her signature sound. It established her as this strong leader with amazing vocals and great lyrics. I definitely feel it’s one of the greatest albums ever, but that’s my opinion because I’m a huge fan of hers.
GGM: Any good movies you’ve seen recently, or do you have a favorite?
GV: My favorite movie is Titanic. A lot of girls love this movie, and I can watch it almost every day, pretty much. My favorite funny movie is He’s Just Not That Into You, which is also cool for girls. Of course, I watched Fifty Shades of Grey when it came out, but I enjoyed the books way more. I’m really excited to see the second part of the movie, because that’s when the whole action starts. I’m really excited to see Furious 7, because I hear it’s really good.
GGM: You mentioned you liked the Fifty Shades books more than the movies. Are there other books you like?
GV: I can recommend, especially for young girls and boys, The Love Playbook by La La Anthony. It’s a great book about relationships and how to treat yourself and other people right. I applaud her. She did a great job. I’m also really into Christianity, and I love reading books by Joel Olsteen and other great pastors. I’m buying all the Christianity books I can at the store.
GGM: Do you watch TV shows?
GV: Oh yes! The latest hit for me is Empire. I feel like everyone’s watching it. It captured me in the first episode and it was so awesome. It was so great watching it because of the music industry I’m in, the great actors, and the whole story. Can’t wait for the second season!
I also love Scandal. Definitely my favorite since the beginning. Also, How to Get Away with Murder. Shonda Rhymes is one of the best writers out there right now. And of course Friends, the legendary TV show. I’ve been watching all the seasons, and it’s great for my mood whenever I have free time. It’s incredible to see how Jennifer Aniston and other great actors started their careers there.
GGM: What’s the look you anticipate for Summer 2015?
GV: I feel like this summer is gonna be all about colors. Brights, pastels. Do not be afraid to experiment! I love to experiment with different designers, brands, clothes. I will rock neon red and orange. I will rock all-white outfits. You can never go wrong with white. Just put it with great sandals, and you’re good to go. Experiment, and be yourself! Be different! That’s my advice.
GGM: Is there a certain brand you find yourself returning to when you’re experimenting?
GV: I really love to come back to Topshop because they have great clothes in terms of quality and price. I also check out Urban Outfitters. Other than that, I’m really open to any brand. I have two dollar tank tops and expensive clothes. It really just depends on how you wear your clothes. They don’t make you stand out. Your personality does that. If you’re confident, you’ll look great, and people will notice.
GGM: What’s the last thing you splurged on?
GV: It was shoes. I’m really into shoes. I can’t go past a pair of expensive shoes. I can’t help it. And it’s a great investment! Everyone will understand if you have a great pair of shoes that fit perfectly, you can conquer the world! The last pair I bought was Christian Louboutin. I’m a shoe addict definitely!
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