"It's funny how much it ended up relating in quarantine because I wrote my last EP about letting go of peoples' expectations of me and not determining my worth off of what other people thought of me. But then I discovered that I have all these negative feelings about myself and frustrations with myself on my own." For New Jersey native Baker Grace, honesty has never been a policy she's found hard to keep. Her songwriting often delves into self professed narratives, laying out her insecurities and empowering mantras like cards on a playing table. But with her new EP, Yourz Truly, she flips them over, eager to learn their secrets and determine their one and true meaning.
"Each song is kind of a letter. Either a letter to me, or to somebody else," she explains, her sweetened voice's calming effect just as potent over my phone's speaker as it is over studio speakers. "Everytime I was writing a letter, it was to solve a problem or to discover something new about myself. It allowed me to be more poetic with my lyrics, because in pop music, a lot of the times they like to be minimal, and make it sound pretty and always make it rhyme perfectly. The melody has to be like this, and the structure has to be like this, and you know...I just wanted to write beautiful lyrics." Using introspection as the wheels that keep on turning, she teamed up with an innovative production team that includes Cautious Clay, Stefan Accardo and Scott Harris to keep the foot on the gas at all times. On "Bottle of Wine," glimmers of tropical pop sparkle like faraway lights calling you home, easing the pain of her modest confession—"How quickly I forget over a bottle of wine / That you love me" —while the more neon colored "Keeper" manipulates distorted guitar riffs in an effort to sharpen her edges. "I write a lot of poetry on my own and how that translates into spoken word and lyrics is a very hip-hop style of writing, so I think I wanted to bring some of that grittiness out in the production." She pauses slightly before continuing, "It is kind of to also represent the chaos that goes on in your head. It's interesting how when I was writing about external things, everything was put together and pretty and polished and then when I started looking at myself and writing music from that point of view, it kinda naturally got more intense."
Of course, booming drum kicks and slick synths are only background noise when it comes to the dominant vocalist and lyricist. Her debut EP, Girl, I Know, established the 19-year-old as a self-aware young woman on the path toward life's trials and tribulations. She sounded ready, wiping herself clean of all the external perceptions and doubts others reserved. On Yourz Truly, she finds herself not quite on the other side, but trudging somewhere through the middle. Between pursuits for something true and meaningful on "Real Love," tokens of appreciation for her supportive father on "Pops", and even a moment of flipped perspective on "Up All Night," Grace is only just starting to scratch the surface of what it means to be human. "There's a part of everybody that's like, 'just tell me what to do, how to do in life and I'll do it.' But with music, there really is no right or wrong way. It's a beautiful thing and it allows me to be creative and to grow and be myself." She's quick to admit, though, that just like everyone else, she still has her moments of doubt. "But sometimes, I would love to be given a roadmap. That would make life a lot easier but it would also make it less rewarding."
No matter the path she takes, whether it leads her toward more sultry, trap pop anthems, or perhaps even deep into Taylor Swift's folklore woods, there is one thing for certain: Chloe Baker Grace's sound may change, but her spirit will never yield.