Grace Pettis‘ debut single for MPress Records, Landon, a true story-song written as an unabashed apology from the artist to her gay best friend for not being there when he came out. With much to unpack with this release The Fountain caught up with Grace to discuss the track in more depth.
TF: You have a new single out, what reception has Landon received thus far?
It’s been wonderful. Across the board, people have by and large responded positively. I’ve been playing Landon at shows for a few years now. There’s always somebody in the audience who comes up to me after the show or at the break to tell me how much it means to them, or how it moved them. I’ve witnessed firsthand the ocean of pain across this country when it comes to families and friends divided by prejudice towards the queer community. There is a profound need for reconciliation and understanding. There are many queer people who are rejected and misunderstood by their friends and families. I’ve heard a lot of queer folks tell me that they’re still waiting for their apology. Being made to feel wrong for being yourself, by the people you love most, the people who should be “safe,” is a deeply painful experience. I’ve hugged a lot of crying people, as they were recounting those experiences. And there are many straight people with baggage too; wrongs that need to be righted; apologies that they know they need to make. I’ve had quite a few friends and family members tell me that they have their own Landon, somebody in their life that they dismissed and let down; some relationship they broke and never fixed. The song has inspired some people to reconnect and to take ownership of their own prejudices. I’m so proud of that. Of all of my songs, Landon has been the one to do the most good in the world. It started as a very personal song and an apology to a friend that I wasn’t sure anyone else would ever hear, let alone relate to. Turns out, it speaks to a lot more than Landon’s and my experience. We’re very excited about being able to turn our own story into someone else’s happy ending.
TF: How would you sum it up in one sentence?
Landon is an apology song for my best friend – an attempt to understand my own complicity in, and to make amends for, the harm I caused in not fully embracing him when he had the courage to come out.
TF: Who do you look to and idolise when it comes to influences?
My dad has always been a major influence. I still think he’s one of the best writers in the country. In general, I am drawn to singers and songwriters who are courageous. People who take risks and say what they mean. And women with big voices. Some of my major influences are Lauryn Hill, Joni Mitchell, Brandi Carlile, the Dixie Chicks, The Beatles, the Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt, Leonard Cohen, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, and Beyoncé.
TF: What is your plan for the remainder of the year, after this single release, can we look forward to more music releases?
Like a lot of us, my plans for the remainder of the year largely involve working from home. I’ll be writing songs, playing webcasts, and spending a little more time with my husband and my dog and cat. (I’ve got plans to start a podcast too, so look for that!) I’m also in the early stages of planning to record a brand new record. So there’s a lot in the works. There may be more track releases this year, possibly from my own solo catalog as an artist on Mpress Records and possibly from my band Nobody’s Girl (with BettySoo and Rebecca Loebe) on Lucky Hound Music. My amazing management and label teams are working every day to iron out the logistics of the smartest/safest/most ethical ways to make and release music right now. We’re getting creative, taking it day by day, and pivoting when we need to. There will be new music! When and how you will hear it being figured out; we’re not ready to announce anything just yet. We’re kicking around a lot of ideas. In the meantime, you can find me every Friday at 6:30 PM CT playing a virtual co-bill show with a musician friend, Till We’re All Immune. We broadcast live on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/gracepettismusic