Behind The Shield 004 - Gracie Van Brunt
Gracie Van Brunt [She/Her] – Multi-talented and always willing to lend a helping hand, we are very excited to share some of the thoughts and experiences of Gracie Van Brunt.
Based in LA, Gracie is known for her singing, songwriting, and vocal production. After turning her passion into a career, many amazing opportunities came her way. She’s worked alongside many industry professionals including Rene LaVice, Rameses B, and been part of the music for Arknights: the video game. She was eager to share her experiences from a female’s perspective in the music industry.
“Being a vocalist in the EDM scene is tough…but being a FEMALE vocalist in the EDM scene is tougher.” – Gracie.
Gracie shares the reality of being a vocalist in the EDM scene, the adversities she’s had to face within her line of work and in her personal life, and her ways of coping with these challenges.
Q. Why are you an artist?
A. I am an artist for many reasons, but mainly because it’s my passion! I feel like I didn’t choose to be an artist, I was given a gift and a voice at birth, and it’s always been my calling to share it with people.
Q. What makes you passionate about music?
A. I have been passionate about music for my entire life! I grew up in a music family, with my mom being a singer, my dad a singer and guitarist, my grandmother a professional pianist, my brother a guitar player and my sister a singer (even though she doesn’t like to admit it). What makes me so passionate about music is how healing it can be. I can honestly say that throughout my life, music has been there for me during my darkest and weakest times and during my happiest times too. It has helped me feel empowered again and helped me process my emotions. That is all I can hope to do for others when they listen to my music.
Q. What would you say is the “harsh reality” of being a vocalist in the EDM scene?
A. Being a vocalist in the EDM scene is tough…but being a FEMALE vocalist in the EDM scene is tougher. Even though I went to one of the best music schools in the world, Berklee College of Music, where I studied voice and songwriting, I am still constantly undermined and questioned because I am a vocalist and a female. People assume that I don’t know how to produce and record myself, people assume I don’t know music theory just because my main instrument is my voice. I have had many times where a male producer has been inappropriate with me, and the project had to be halted. People assume that because my fiancé is a producer that he does all my work for me. None of these things are true and most of the time I actually know MORE than the people I am being questioned by!
Q. When facing challenging moments, what helps you stay on track with your artist project?
A. I always try to operate out of gratitude and growth. If I am having a challenging moment, I try to remind myself that it’s a learning opportunity that I need to be grateful for. Life is about the journey, not the destination, so as long as I keep chugging away, I will be fine.
Q. Do you experience stress or anxiety before a performance? If so, how do you cope with that?
A. I know this answer sounds weird, but no. I actually have never been nervous to perform. You can ask anyone in my family and they will tell you the same thing. I have always found a comfort in being on stage and connecting with people.
Q. What kind of changes would you like to see in our industry that could positively impact artists and the state of their mental health?
A. I would really like to see this “hustle culture” subside a little bit. There is so much pressure in this industry to always be working, to always be productive and I don’t think there are enough conversations happening around burnout and exhaustion.
Q. What methods have you found most effective in coping with your mental health when it’s at a low?
A. Because I also struggle with a physical chronic disease, I have had to learn to listen very closely to my body and mind. When I am feeling exhausted or stressed or anxious, I remind myself that it is okay to take a break. It is okay to rest because if you don’t, you are going to do things half-assed and not as the best version of yourself.
Lately, I have found that if I’m having a panic attack, sour warhead candies really help to suck on! It sounds weird, but was a tip from my therapist that has been working! Also, please invest in a weighted blanket, it will change your life!
Q. Can you name 3 people who have made your life better this past year?
A. I would have to say first and foremost, my fiancé, Louie! He is my rock and my biggest support system, and I don’t know where I would be without him to cheer me and my crazy dreams on!
Next, I would have to say my manager, Natasha Toves! She has been instrumental in my musical success this past year and has helped me grow so much not only as an artist, but as a businesswoman and as a collaborator! She pushes me in the best way.
Third and finally, I would have to say all of the amazing friends I have met through the EDM scene! They have introduced me to new experiences, new music and new ways of living that I love!
Q. What’s a valuable life lesson you’ve learned recently?
A. Recently, I’ve learned that boundaries are okay and actually quite helpful! You don’t need to take on every project that comes your way, you don’t need to talk to everyone who hits you up, you don’t need to show up for everyone all the time.
“ You are allowed to do what’s best for you!” – Gracie.
Q. What’s a song that makes you happy?
A. I love listening to my Bad Bitch playlist. It makes me feel happy, inspired and powerful! Link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0Lbt6XRUeUUaMEwOhaplsH?si=e70e24630e414028
Q. Lastly, please provide a mental health resource of your choice with an explanation as to why you chose it: A. My resource is a book called ‘Heal Your Body’ by Louise Hay. My mother has always been a huge advocate of mental health and gave this book to me when I was a little girl suffering from the mental effects of having a chronic disease. It has been my saving grace (no pun intended) ever since.
We want to thank Gracie for joining us today. Like her, we hope people understand the value of taking time for yourself and listening to your body. It’s okay to take time for yourself, it’s actually quite IMPORTANT!
“Mental health is a #1 priority, always” – Steph.