We had the chance to chat with rising country star, Mariah Grace. She couldn’t have been sweeter and opened up to us about everything from songwriting to releasing her first EP to her faith and her musical inspirations. Despite an impressive resume that includes magazine features, high-profile performances and acclaim, she remains grounded, humble and thankful for everything that’s come her way so far. Without further ado, meet Mariah Grace.
KIC: For those readers who may be ‘meeting’ you for the first time in this blog, can you give us a little bit of a back story as to how you began performing?
MG: I have been singing my whole life. My family has always said I was singing before I could talk. When I was only a few months old I was humming and singing twinkle twinkle little star with my Mimi who was an amazing singer, and My Momma said she knew then that God had blessed me with my gift to sing. I first stepped out onto a stage to perform at age 2, and have been performing ever since. My whole life I have been in front of the camera, in front of a crowd, and singing everywhere and anywhere I could and for everyone and anyone. The stage is my home.
KIC: You list Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton as your biggest inspirations – What do you take from them and are there any current artists you idolize?
MG: I have looked up to Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton my whole life. They have both taught me to go after what I love, and to never give up. I idolize anyone who goes after their dreams. As for an artist right now that I idolize, That would hands down be Carrie Underwood. I am so blessed for all of the country music artists before me who make it possible for girls like me to be living out our dreams. I have certainly been blessed with the best of them. My fellow artist friends and mentors have helped me so very much.
KIC: What is the writing process like for your music? Where do you get your inspiration from?
MG: Writing music for me, is like breathing, it has always come natural and been in my soul. I get inspired by the littlest things. I cannot tell you how many songs I have written. Each song I write truly comes from my heart. Every time I write a song, I thank the Lord for allowing me to have had the pen and paper in my hand to bring the song to the world, because when a song is meant to come to the world it will come no matter who is writing it. If I can touch at least one person’s life, I will be the happiest girl in the world. I want to share my music with the world, and inspire others through my music to follow their dreams and to never ever give up.
KIC: How do you, as an up and coming country artist, balance music, school, friends, and the other aspects of life?
MG: Music is my life. I eat sleep and breathe it. My parents took me out of public school when I was 16, and I graduated a year early as a junior, so I could focus just on my music. Education is very important, and I worked hard and finished early. I spend a lot of time with my family, and am so blessed to have them. Everyday I sing, perform, and write. I am so grateful to be able to do what I love everyday.
KIC: You’ve done musicals, talent/modeling conventions and shows, pageants, singing competitions – how did you decide country music was the real home for you?
MG: I grew up listening to George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Dolly, Loretta, Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, and every other country artist in between. I always knew Country music was what I wanted to do, but always loved trying new things. When I was 2 I had seen a movie with Dolly Parton in it and she was singing “Happy Birthday” and I said, “Momma there’s Dolly,” and I know I was young but in that moment I knew my heart and soul was and is in Country Music.
KIC: You released your debut EP on iTunes last year – What was that like?
MG: Releasing my Debut EP last year, was such a blessing. Each song on the EP, I co wrote with my amazing producers Keith Follese and Adrienne Follese, and we worked so hard. I got such amazing reactions to the EP, and fans from all over the world listening to my music and reaching out to me and telling me how I inspired them. My EP is now being played on radio stations across the US, and in England, China, and Norway. God has blessed me so much and I am so thankful for everything.
KIC: If you could tell people to download just ONE of your songs, which would you choose and why?
MG: If I had to chose just one song to tell people to download, it would be my song “Beautiful”. This song is about how I believe that everyone is beautiful in their own way, because we all are. God created us all different and unique, and beauty comes from within. I want to show the world that we are all special. I want to take a stand against bullying, and show every girl and every boy that I believe in them, and they are beautiful.
KIC: What’s been the best moment of your career thus far?
MG: Everything that has happened in my career, has been so amazing. From the artists I am friends with, to the legendary mentors I have, to each fan, friend, and person I have touched. The most amazing honorable moment thus far I would say would have to be when I met the legendary Rock n’ Roll hall of fame member Percy Sledge, and he asked me to sing for him. When I sang for him, he told me that he had not heard a more amazing voice, and felt in the presence of a star since the first time he met and heard Charley Pride sing. He then told me that God has blessed me with such a gift and I will make it so far. For someone like Mr. Sledge to say that to me, meant the absolute world. He is a great friend and I’m so blessed God put him in my life.
KIC: You can tour with two other artists – who do you put on the bill with you?
MG: If I could choose two artists to go on tour with, I would go on tour with Wynonna Judd and Dolly Parton. Wynonna has been so sweet and supportive to me with my music, and Dolly has been my inspiration from day one. They are both unbelievably gifted artists and I would love to tour with them! I am blessed to have worked with so many artists, and there are many collaborations in the works. Anther artist that we have talked about collaborating is Colt Ford, he is such a great artist and I look forward to working with him someday!
KIC: It’s obvious that your faith is an important part of your music – how do you combine the two?
MG: My faith means everything to me. I am where I am today, because of God. Whenever I write a song, I write it to give back to God for all he has done for me. I am a Christian-Country artist. I grew up singing at my church every Sunday, so Gospel has always influenced my music. My music and faith go hand and hand, and each song I write in some way shows my relationship with God.
KIC: What does the rest of 2013 and 2014 hold for Mariah Grace?
MG: I am working on a lot of new music to put out, and I will be in the studio a lot more, working with some amazing people! I have a lot of exciting shows and radio interviews coming up, and cant wait to share more information soon. Growing up in Massachusetts I have been traveling to Nashville for so long, and once I turn 18 in January I will be living there full time.
KIC: What’s one thing you’d like our readers to take away about you after reading this interview?
MG: I would like the readers to know, I am a believer in everyone! I have never met a stranger and treat everyone I meet like family. I am very genuine loving, and work hard towards everything I do. I am so passionate for music, and will always go after my dreams. I would do anything for anyone, and will always be there for anyone who needs me. I love love love meeting and talking to my fans, and I will see them all on the road someday!! I also want them to know that their dreams can become their reality, if the just believe and set their minds to it!
Favorite Country Song: Stand By Your Man- Tammy Wynette
Favorite Country song to sing: I Told You So- Randy Travis
For more information on Mariah, follow her on Twitter @MariahGMusic, visit her Facebook or official website here.