If one wanted to describe 18 year old Grace Mitchell in a nutshell one might say she’s a post-Yeezus, highly aware pop disruptor with a lifelong reverence for Tori Amos and a frenetic, fiery sound that raises a middle finger to the zeitgeist while possessing the power to reshape it- but that’s just the beginning.
“We’re always trying to innovate and make pop music sound fresh,” she declares. “It’s never standard or formulaic. It’s experimental, and I’m telling stories.”
In order to properly convey that style, the Oregon native locked herself in a Los Angeles studio with Mark Foster of Foster The People back in 2014. When they emerged, she came armed with an explosive sonic concoction that’s as danceable as it is deadly.
“What I hear naturally and what he hears naturally are two very different things, but they complement each other,” she goes on. “The more time we spent together, we identified something very articulable. It’s more creative, but still poppy and at a really fast tempo.”
On her 2015 Race Day EP, the schizophrenic slap of “Jitter” shifts from a skittering vocal sample into an eerily catchy harmony and funked-up break with lines like, “We don’t care if you can see, everyone’s jittering.” Over a hyper kinetic backdrop, Grace weaves together a different kind of take on that “high school party set piece” from your favorite movie.
“We originally wanted to make it a ballad,” she admits. “Then, it just got faster and faster with that vocal sample. We decided to make it about that idealist young adult party situation. However, it’s high energy, reckless, promiscuous, and provocative. It’s a good indication of what I’m doing.”
(There was another character from the Pacific Northwest who sang about teenage disillusionment like this say 25 years ago or so, and it worked out for him…just saying!)
Elsewhere, “Breaking Hearts and Taking Names” is what she dubs, “a classic party song, but more empowering and thought-provoking.” Then, there’s the title track, which nods to her hometown of Eugene, OR nicknamed “TrackTown USA.”
Signed to Republic Records in 2013, Grace officially entered the race with her cover of “Maneater,” which appeared on the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Her debut EP, Design, got the blogs buzzing in 2014 with tracks like the single “Broken Over You.”
Ultimately, you’re going to have a lot to say about Grace once Race Day drops. “With this EP, I’d like for people to be able to relate to the music in a direct way or even on a more subconscious manner,” she leaves off. “These are my observations of what I’m seeing. You can take the stories or the ‘fuck you’ from it.”