This is Valencia Grace: straight off the UK coastline and a fresh-faced 18-year-old newcomer on the scene. She’s just moved to London to follow her dreams and things seem to be going well. Having also just inked a deal with Ministry of Sound/Columbia, she dropped her debut single and video “It Was You” just a couple of weeks ago and it’s a raw and riveting ode to having the last word.
It was actually penned about two years ago on her grandmother’s piano, before Grace’s expert navigation of the musical side of TikTok saw her amass over 2.6 million followers and an avid fan base – all before debuting a thing. We talk a lot about how TikTok has slingshotted musicians into the limelight, and say what you will about our addiction to social media, but it has brought some scintillating talents to the fore.
Lockdown spawned a prolific phase of songwriting for Grace, TikTok simultaneously did its thing, and here we have “It Was You”: packed with every bit of angst and mournful teenage whimsies as you might expect – but, also, not quite in the way you would expect.
At its core, beneath the searing simplicity of her chosen mournful acoustic guitar line, the track is really the result of a self-therapy session, as she puts it – a cathartic creative process in working through some trauma.
Bold and earnest, penning lyrics whose insights stretch beyond her years, she delivers a poignant message – though perhaps a familiar one. (“Now I’m left with your mistakes/ […] so I have to start again/ You gave me all your pain/ made me run away.”). The video echoes the sentiment, featuring Grace in a darkened room, bathed in reddish light as she despondently reflects on it all.
With a solid repertoire of tracks backed-up and slated for release later this year, Valencia Grace’s journey might be right at the start, but this girl’s got legs – and pipes – and she’s about to use them.
Feature pic by Joe Magowan