Grace Potter Opens Up About The 'Painful' Road That Led to Her GRAMMY-Nominated Album 'Daylight,' Performs Two Tracks in Celebration of GRAMMY Week
As GRAMMY Week kicked off on Monday, March 8, rock singer-songwriter Grace Potter sat down for an introspective conversation with the GRAMMY Museum about the cathartic experience that led to her GRAMMY-nominated album Daylight—a project she claims was a total accident.
"If you listen to the lyrics, you can hear why I might not want people to hear them," she said. "They're beyond personal, and I'm not a confessional writer. I usually try to write in this very universal way. This record was these intimate journal entries that turned into songs, because that's what I know how to do."
Potter recalled the "painful" process that led to Daylight, which included the disbanding of her group Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and divorce from her former bandmate Matt Burr. But as these songs came to life, Potter said she went from feeling angry at music to fully embracing it as a source of healing. As she pointed out, that has made a super-personal project become just as universal, if not more so, as anything she's ever written.
"I realized I'm giving everyone a hall pass to share the really painful, ugly parts of themselves," she said. "Or the parts that they thought were ugly—which may actually be incredibly transformative."
Another realization Potter said she had along the way is that rock 'n' roll has changed, noting that the genre has become one of the most raw, real and honest in music. "Rock has had its revolution, and it is now serving as a narrator, if you will, to the film of our lives," she asserted. "I saw something happen where I was like, 'I don't need to be at the center of everything, as long as I'm speaking to true human experience.' I think that's what rock 'n' roll is there for."
In addition to her interview, Potter delivered burning renditions of Daylight tracks "Shout It Out" and "Release," changing into a draping, stage-ready gold gown for the performance. It was just Potter and her guitar for both songs, with the singer stripping down "Shout It Out" on an acoustic and belting out "Release" over an electric. The emotive performance brought Potter's revelational journey to life and reminded why Daylight has not one, but two GRAMMY nominations—for Best Rock Album, and for the title track, Best Rock Performance.
Daylight is up for Best Rock Album and its title track is also nominated for Best Rock Performance. Although her Kenny Chesney duet "You and Tequila" received a nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance in 2011, these honors mark Potter's first solo nods. Considering her latest album wasn't something even Potter herself had expected to create, she called the nominations a "truthful moment" in her career.
"It is in those moments you're not paying attention that the best things happen," she said. "In my early career, I was so ambitious that I figured, 'I'm just going to be amazing and someone's gonna notice me.' But that's not actually how it works. It's really about taking away the nuts and bolts of how one becomes recognized, in any capacity, and truly stripping yourself down to the raw form of yourself that people can perceive and understand and forget about the packaging.
"It's organic creativity at its greatest being recognized in a moment in time when I didn't care about it being recognized," she added with a laugh, "and that's just really a beautiful way for it to happen."
You can watch Potter's full interview and performance on the GRAMMY Museum's official streaming service, COLLECTION:live. The video will be free and all-access for anyone who clicks into COLLECTION.live for 30 days after each event. For more videos, sign up for COLLECTION.live.