With her Conversations EP, singer and songwriter Grace Graber is continuing to open up a dialog about faith, mental health and her own story of survival.
“The Conversations EP was written from a place of finally sharing with the world how much I was struggling with my own mental health,” Grace Graber offers candidly. “I felt like people knew me as the girl who was excited and passionate about Jesus and church, all the stereotypes of a Christian woman. In reality, I was still hurting a lot. I turned to drinking and other ways to self-medicate.”
That bracing honesty served as the starting place for a collection of songs that offer a lifeline to anyone experiencing the same shadows. Title track “Conversations” was born from that place of secret struggle. Grace had just written the song “Do it for Me” with Holly Halliwell, clinging to the track record of a God who is constantly “making new things out of the dust.” That session led them into a raw conversation in which Grace admitted that she knew she needed to go back on medication for anxiety.
Paired together, “Do it for Me” and “Conversations” are the compass points that orient the collision of personal pain with God’s comforting light. This is carried through in “The Light,” a hopeful song that is indicative of Grace’s venture back into her punk pop roots. For Grace, dialing up the guitars is an act of freedom, a return to her more authentic self.
After all, Christian pop punk started everything for Grace.
When Grace Graber was a suicidal teenager struggling with PTSD, it was music that gave her the ability to survive— specifically, a Hawk Nelson song. That’s why when Grace wrote the testimony song “This One’s For You” with Chris Cleveland (Stars Go Dim) and Tony Wood (Colton Dixon, Big Daddy Weave), it felt like having original Hawk Nelson singer Jason Dunn guest feature would bring it all full circle.
Fortunately, she knew a few people who offered to make the fall. Soon Jason was recording his part on “This One’s For You” from Canada, lending his voice once again to Grace Graber’s story.
“I’m literally singing my story with the person who saved my life,” Grace reflects, her voice full of emotion. “The lyrics that Jason sings are just so perfect because verse 2 talks about how he’s got a long way to go. He had a whole life with Hawk Nelson, and now he has a whole other life with his family. I think it represents so perfectly how much I can still learn from him.”
In the same way that musicians like Jason Dunn have modeled a life of candor and faithfulness for Grace, the rising songwriter is now doing the same for her own listeners. With every story of brokenness made while in her own life, Grace hopes to communicate the way that’s possible for everyone.
“These are all my thoughts, these are all my words, but it’s all just a representation of what God is able to do in anyone,” she concludes, reflecting over the divine personal touches God put all over the project. “This is anointing that I cannot take credit for. It’s about what God wants to do in His people, specifically through mental health. I’m not doing music for me, to get on radio, to get signed. I’m doing music to save lives.”
With that heart held front and center, Grace has seen the right people come around her to support her vision— even as an independent artist. In addition to her co-writers, Grace worked with producer Blake Cross in Nashville to record the songs. She’s working with Faith Artist Agency to book concerts and speaking events. And she is keeping the conversations going with a second season of her podcast on the NewReleaseToday network.
From Grace’s view, “Staying independent for this project and still seeing God move is a miracle in itself.”
“Emotionally, it’s been very healing,” she adds, looking at this new era of her music and ministry. “Eye-opening. It’s guiding me in what I know I need to say for the rest of my life. This has sparked a conversation that might never end.”
You can stream the Conversations EP by finding it at https://slinky.to/Conversations starting March 31. For more from Grace, follow her on Facebook and Instagram, where her authentic discussion of her story has given her widespread reach.
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