Grace Gaustad – Elephant in the Room – Music Video Premiere
Ahead of her debut album BLKBX: WHT R U HDING? out at the end of the summer, rising indie artist Grace Gaustad premieres the cinematic visual for her song Elephant in the Room on 1883 Magazine.
When it comes to creating an entire universe with her music, no other artist does it better than Grace Gaustad. Throughout the entire summer so far the creative visionary has been releasing a new song and accompanying cinematic visual, completely immersing both herself and her fanbase in the world of BLKBX. This week, 1883 is proud to take part in this multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, and multi-sensory world by premiering Grace’s new video for her stunning ballad Elephant In The Room.
Diving into themes surrounding first love and grappling with the idea of it ending, Elephant In The Room quite literally features just that — Grace and her girlfriend avoiding the obvious signs of their relationship slowly deteriorating while they attempt to get rid of an ever-growing inflatable elephant that is destroying everything in its path. As Grace invites fans & listeners into the world of BLKBX, she hopes that her album — a body of work that navigates themes that impact her fellow generation that struggles with anxiety, depression, and more — to find solace in its music, visuals, and messages.
To celebrate the release of the theatrical video for Elephant in the Room, 1883 Magazine caught up with Grace to discuss her career, BLKBX, and more.
You released your first single back in 2017 — how would you say you’ve grown and developed as an artist since then?
When you’re young every year feels like a massive difference from the one before so everything about me today is different from when I was 15 years old. I’ve grown not only as an artist but as a person. I have such a different perspective on the world as a young adult than I did as a teenager and I think that is reflected tremendously in my new music.
Your music video for Elephant in the Room is incredible — your visuals are literally theatrical experiences. I don’t think any artist is making music videos like you! Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind this video in particular?
The inspiration behind this video was visually expressing the chaotic energy between two people who love each other so much but are no longer in love with one another.
Obviously visuals are very important to your music. Are visuals something you’re actively thinking about when writing and recording or is it something you figure out after?
Whenever I’m working with any sort of art medium whether it be songwriting, painting, poetry, and everything else. I’m always thinking about how it ties into every other aspect of my art so yes when I’m writing a song I’m always thinking about how it could be presented visually.
There’s also a BLKBX feature-length film — what was it like filming that?
It was so much fun! I had an incredible team and fantastic director – Van Alpert. Van and I really made this whole vision come to life and its an experience I will never forget.
You’re anticipating the release of your debut album, BLKBX: wht r u hding. I know you navigate a lot of themes on the record — from your experience as a bisexual teen who was shamed for so many things. What was it like looking back at these experiences? Did you find it difficult or was it therapeutic to an extent?
Writing BLKBX: wht r u hding was both a triggering experience and healing one. Lady Gaga has a great quote about writing music where she compares it to open-heart surgery and I couldn’t agree more. I think that in order to get the most honest art, you have to dig deeper than you are comfortable with.
You’ve been releasing songs weekly up until the final track out late August. Obviously each song is tied together in some way, like a thread throughout the album. Was that something that just happened naturally or did you set out to do that?
When I began the process of writing BLKBX I knew I wanted to tell a linear story of my life and everything I went through growing up so when I was writing the music I was very mindful about the order of the songs and their topics. It’s an album that’s meant to be listened to in totality even though all of the songs can stand on their own.
In “93 Days” the iconic Mariska Hargitay plays your therapist and helps you embrace who you are and find healing. What was it like working with her?
Mariska is a beautiful person both inside and out. I feel very lucky to call her a mentor, friend, and now collaborator. She brought so much love and light to the 93 Days music video and I feel so proud of what we accomplished together.
Your words & thoughts on “Vaccine for Sympathy” really touched me — I love when you said “Nobody is born cruel, but made cruel by a harsh world. Although its not an excuse, even the meanest of people were once kids who’s lights were dimmed far too young.” It’s not really an insight or perspective people think about. What was it like writing that song in particular?
Vaccine for Sympathy is one of my favourite tracks on all of BLKBX because of the unique and complex subject matter. My goal with Vaccine for Sympathy is to force people to ask themselves the question, “How badly does someone have to be hurting to hurt someone else?” Although there is no excuse for treating someone poorly or being unkind, I healed the most from my trauma when I put myself in the shoes of the bullies and realized how much pain they were holding inside.
Now more than ever, so many people are grappling with mental health struggles, uncontrolled thoughts, and other difficult issues. Your music very much is a safe haven for those looking to escape. How does it feel to know that your music will impact people and, in a way, create a safe space where those can find refuge in the music, lyrics, and corresponding visuals?
My only mission as an artist is to create art that makes people feel safe and makes people feel accepted, especially kids and teenagers. One of the most rewarding things for me is seeing the countless messages I receive on a daily basis of people telling me how much the music has helped them. There’s no better feeling than knowing you are helping do some good in a chaotic world.
If you could describe BLKBX as a whole, how would you describe it?
I would describe BLKBX as a linear coming of age album that tackles all the issues I feel teens face on a day to day basis such as bullying, sexuality, learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, and many more.
Was there anything you learned about yourself or something that surprised you while making it?
BLKBX brought up a lot of memories for me that I had repressed. I think writing the project forced me to look back on my life with very honest eyes in a way that I never had before.
The words “you are safe here” are all over your social posts. What do those four words mean to you both as Grace the human and Grace the artist?
The words you are safe here mean the same thing to me as a person as they do an artist. Nobody ever wants to feel like an outcast or like they don’t belong. It is the worst feeling in the world when you feel completely isolated from others for a variety of reasons and you are safe here is my way of welcoming anyone into my world and the BLKBX project.
Lastly… if you could manifest anything for yourself this year, what would it be?
I would manifest live music coming back completely. In many places we’re still under pretty strict covid restrictions and I would love to get back to performing on a stage for an audience!
Photography by Tati Greuning
Check out Grace Gaustad’s new video for Elephant In The Room now.