In the latest installment of Music Journeys, Grace Weber explains her knack for chance meetings, the nickname she’s acquired, and how self-discovery became the theme of her new material.
Although she's been living in New York the past decade, Grace Weber's Midwest routes remain. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Weber recalls always being around music around. There were ten kids on her mom's side of the family, and her grandfather made each one learn an instrument. So for Weber, music felt like family, like love. The power of music reached another level during a school talent show Weber performed in.
"I sang Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion," Weber recalled. "Afterward, my teacher came up to me and was crying. She said your voice moved me, the music moved me. I remember this light bulb going off, but not being able to process what it meant exactly. That's when I felt music is really powerful and affects people in a really important way."
At around 12 or 13, her family became friends with soccer star Mia Hamm, taking part in a cancer benefit for Hamm's brother. Hamm would later ask Weber to sing at her wedding.
"That was kind of the first celebrity-ish moment of getting to sing in a fancy setting in California,” Weber said. “I actually haven't even told this story before because I forgot that this is actually part of the random entrance to meeting industry people."
She has a knack for those random meetings. Weber's recognition reached a high last year when she won a Grammy for her writing and vocal contributions on Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book release. That collaboration came by happenstance while she began putting together her own collection of songs, scheduled for release later this year. The 29-year-old describes the process as a journey of self-discovery.
"Not in a cliche' way at all, but actually really finding myself, Weber said. “In the past year and a half, I finally learned how it feels to really like yourself, really love yourself, and really know yourself. I got that through the process of writing these songs and making this music.”
As her 10-track debut release nears completion, Weber unveiled a couple bonus songs from the sessions including the song Space Jam, which inadvertently gave her a nickname.
“Technically the only way to time travel is through black hole gravity, so this is what I was telling the guys,” she laughed. “They started calling me Space, and it stuck. So my nickname is Space because of that song.”
For Weber, music means different things at different moments in her life.
"Sometimes music feels like survival for me,” Weber said. “Other times it feels like family and love. Music is this thing that connects us. When I’m performing live, it's this incredible gift that I get to be a part of bringing people together through music. I love getting the crowd singing with me. All these strangers are coming together in one room, and we’re all singing together."
That's partly why she started a non-profit in her hometown of Milwaukee. The Music Lab has three points of emphasis: providing free access to music education, offering opportunities for young people to express their unique selves, and brings people of different backgrounds together through music. She wants to extend her organization's vision in other cities too. Sharing music, creating community and lifting people up with the platform she creates - that's the mission of Weber and her team.
Music Journeys is dedicated to sharing good music and compelling stories from musicians in central Ohio and beyond. For comments, questions or to share your story, contact Mike Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://twitter.com/RadioFoley