Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Thursday 12 April 2018

Brighton-Bound Isaac Gracie Breaks Free Of Jeff Buckley Comparisons On New Hype Busting Debut Album

Isaac Gracie's eponymous début album is the sound of an artist bit-by-bit breaking through the hype and the seeds of doubt that stem from the heavy expectation that greeted breakthrough song Last Words.

The album is also the sound of a musician realising he is cut out for this. Most importantly, it documents the warts "n' all transition from disbelief in one's own ability to displaying a subtle confidence. 

Despite existing a thousand miles from the scrappy bedroom demos that brought Gracie to prominence, you first hear the cracks, the strains and the nagging fear that tests every creative. Then you hear the pay-off.

Recorded on-and-off between mid-2015 and late 2017, Gracie says his first work captures the "darkest, the roughest and most uncertain time in my life," while managing to examine this turmoil from a distance and a safer sanctuary. 

Its journey is one of self-reflection, he says, "of asking: "What is this?" "Who am I?" and trying to amicably resolve those questions." It finds answers, too. 

After finishing the record, Gracie began to realise his place in the world: "I've been gifted an opportunity that barely anyone gets," he says. "It"s my responsibility to make the most of it." 

The softly-softly, Dylan-nodding Last Words changed Gracie's life. 

No sooner had he written it, he was subject to big figure record deals and comparisons to hero Jeff Buckley in the press. 

For someone with no knowledge of the music industry and with only a handful more songs to his name, he didn't feel prepared for this recognition, or the fabled type of hyperbole heralding him as a one-of-a-kind songwriter.

He remembers the depths of his lowest ebb, writing night after night, with mechanical repetition and with no real progress: 

"I was like, "I'm not good! I can't write a song! You've got me wrong!" It's difficult with that gaze, because they want integrity, they want truth, they want honesty. But they also want a big old smash hit." 

Plenty of new talents develop in the background before being unveiled to the outside world as a finished article. 

As well as existing outside the norm of chart-busting or introspective songwriters, Gracie didn't have that liberty, so instead he developed under a glaring spotlight.

Aspiring musicians might not take pity, but Gracie wasn't an aspiring musician. He was an everyday guy, studying Creative Writing at University of East Anglia. 

"I just wanted to be in love. At that time, you're allowed such freedom. You get your own space, your own privacy, this ability to explore yourself. I wanted to be anything," he remembers. 

Uploading songs online cured a simple itch to project his thoughts. 

"For me, at that time of writing songs, it was purely to try and do justice to the things I was feeling, or my personal desire to have a creative output," he states. 

"It's like writing on a wall. I do that in my bedroom. Why does that matter? Nobody sees it. But it's important to me. It's this idea of putting something in the world, as opposed to it being in your head or in a locked drawer."

Gracie's struggles – of sudden prominence and living up to such promise – are already well-documented. 

But his début reveals how he stepped back from the spotlight and took the time sorely required to create something remarkable.

The self-titled "Isaac Gracie" will be released on the 13th April and he plays The Haunt, Brighton, on 25th April 2018.

by: Mike Cobley


A play about the life of Manchester Arena bomb victim Martyn Hett is set to come to the Brighton Fringe almost one year since the tragic event.
Pic by Andy Sturmey

Riding the wave of success and universal critical acclaim for their most recent album, F.E.A.R, Marillion graced the stage at Brighton Dome last night (16/4/18) and served up an epic and confident display of prog.

Superorganism is a London-based, eight person collective of international musicians and pop culture junkies from Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, who have, in just eighteen months, amassed a global fan base and acclaimed début album. 

Spymonkey's Stephan Kreiss will join Scottish actor Pauline Knowles in the world première of Problem in Brighton, a brand new alt-rock/pop pantomime written and directed by Brighton Festival 2018 Guest Director David Shrigley.

He's still the undisputed champion of Superbike; the most successful rider ever in the sport's history. Now Carl Fogarty is fifteen years into a retirement that has seen him be crowned King of the Jungle and trek across Patagonia, but, as for any former champion, giving up the sport that made him a household name has been no easy task.
(c) Delaram Pourabi

TT, also known as Theresa Wayman, vocalist and guitarist of Warpaint, has unveiled lead single I've Been Fine, in the run up to début album, LoveLaws

Brighton's Sallis Benney Theatre is set to showcase Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution, the thought provoking film that aims to encourage local students and residents to consider their current attitudes and behaviour towards sex, consent and gender.

The first glimpse of Brighton Festival 2018 is to be unveiled at Fabrica this weekend, in the form of David Shrigley's interactive installation, Life Model II.
Photo by Bryan Kremkau

It was always a pleasure for The Brighton Magazine to host The Beat's Dave Wakeling, when he performed in the city as part of the 3 Men & Black collective (alongside Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers and Pauline Black and Nick Welsh from The Selecter).

Singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid, who recently played The Greys, in Brighton, has teamed up with award-winning filmmaker Brett Harvey for a music video/short film based on the poignant true story of Bill Conner, a father who lost his daughter and cycled 1,400 miles to hear her heart beating again in the body of its recipient. 

At the height of the Industrial Revolution, Falkirk's iron and steel industry bore the town three primary exports: carronades, pillar boxes, and buses. 

When people who have 'made it' are asked what they can thank for their transformation, few people would cite cancer, near poverty or isolation.

After setting up her label Seahorse Music to publish records by like-minded women and help make them more visible in a male-dominated industry, Bryde finished up her debut LP, Like An Island, flitting, between London and LA. 

The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award is reserved solely for documentary photographers working on projects which are intended to make the world a better place and which may be unreported or under-reported.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...

Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd