By Taroue Brooks
Photos by Trenity J. Thomas
When did you realize that you had the voice to sing/perform professionally?
My love of music started very early and I absolutely knew I wanted to be a professional performer and singer for the rest of my life by the time I was 6.
Share with us your experience playing musical instruments?
I actually started to learn how to play guitar from YouTube when I was 16 while I was doing a school year abroad in France. My host brother (of the French family I lived with during that year) had a broken classical acoustic guitar and I snuck it into my room and would practice in secret and hide it in my laundry bin! I wanted to learn a bit before I told anyone… Then later on my mom bought me some production equipment for Christmas one year and I taught myself how to program and produce, the rest is history!
Tell us about your most proud performance.
There have been a few and honestly the one I’m most proud of I can’t share the story about. But I would say singing for my dear friend Lyric’s memorial was a true honor, her mother asked me to sing what would’ve been her wedding song, and just practicing brought me to tears… I take the honor of performing for important moments in people’s lives and legacies very seriously, big stages are amazing and I LIVE for grand shows and putting together a spectacle, but those intimate moments remind us just how generous God is for sharing the gift of music with us musicians.
What stage or event do you desire to perform and why?
ALL OF THE BIGGEST STAGES, EVENTS, AWARDS CEREMONIES & FESTIVALS IN THE WORLD. I want to have performed on them all because each is its own unique and perspective altering experience.
The entertainment industry is very competitive. What keeps you motivated?
I won’t lie, this has been a long journey. It has not been easy, and without management, a label, big money, or a set team the past decade or so has been a battle to stay motivated through the hard times. But maintaining independence has been important to me for a while and I finally am seeing it pay off, the team for my music-based production company, The Culture Krewe, is really coming together. There have been stretches of time when I felt my gift was not valued, questioned if the vision I’ve had for so long was even valid anymore, got burned by bookers and let down by so many people who gave empty promises… I have also gone through stretches where I pushed hard and didn’t take no for an answer, but being independent can make you burn out, paying everyone but yourself can take its toll. And I had to learn that lesson early, that balance and valuing your worth is essential. Staying in tune with my spirituality has been my saving Grace and in those moments of doubt. When I dust off the disappointment and pick up my guitar to sing I’m refueled by the melodies and lyrics, then when I share them with audiences and see how they are impacted and inspired by the music, I can’t help but keep pushing because I’m reminded that this is all bigger than me.
Tell us about Rock Noire.
For years I’ve made rock’n’roll music and for years I’ve been met with awe and confusion that a black woman could even do such a thing… This made me begin to do my own research about the roots of rock’n’roll and what I discovered was that the genre was initiated by black people, specifically black women. This led me to create, found, and define Rock Noire: A Genre, community, and movement dedicated to the black roots that created, sustained, and continue to revolutionize rock’n’roll. There are a slew of projects I have in the works for it. And for now we are building awareness about these amazing black rock musicians and creating a wonderful community of like minded people. In April we will launch our live interview series and we have some amazing guests on the roster. Can’t wait to share! You can follow us at @rocknoire and stay tuned and things develop!
What advice would you give someone who seeks to become a performer?
I’d say get philosophical about it, ask yourself “why do I want to do this? What do I want to say? What can I specifically bring to the table? Who am I really? And how do I translate that to performance and music?” Then get your hands dirty, put your head down, and humbly do your research on all facets of the craft… Then get to work, practice, rehearse, and once you’ve committed never give up.
What’s next for The Grace Gibson?
My first single “Steampunk Blues” just dropped! It’s a manifesto and call to action for everyone out there, especially our brothers and sisters of color, to go after your wildest dreams unapologetically! It kicks off the first part of my 4-part debut project River Queen which we are finishing up now… Rock Noire has a lot on the horizon and there is SO MUCH MORE in store! Follow me on Instagram @thegracegibson to stay tuned. Thank you so much.
Grace Gibson has a powerfully rich voice, timeless original songs, a distinct electric guitar tone, and a self-produced debut single “Steampunk Blues” that has the potential to project her to the forefront of rock’n’roll, and set her up to reclaim &revive the entire genre.
Helming from Louisiana & England, independent rock’n’roll artist Grace Gibson (Founder of Rock Noire) blends blues roots of the Deep South, her Berklee College of Music & Columbia University training, with high-powered energy of the “BritishInvasion” creating an authentic sound & musical philosophy all her own. She produced, wrote, sang, and played guitar on her hard-hitting debut single”Steampunk Blues”. It sets the tone for Gibson’s sonic landscape, one that’s influenced by the rock legends of the past, yet with its fat drums and 808s it sounds like the future. Steampunk Blues transports us to the smoky New Orleans venuesGibson has packed for the past 6 years and simultaneously prepares the listener for her forthcoming 4-part debut project RIVER QUEEN. It’s fresh, it’s rich, it’s rock with mainstream appeal. “Steampunk Blues” demonstrates that young black women likeGrace don’t only produce, play instruments with gravitas, and sing soulfully, it also proves just how much they rock. Welcome to the one-of-a-kind musical universe ofGrace Gibson, the journey is just beginning!