Riveting Riffs Logo One Ciara Grace - Debut Album
Ciara Grace Interview Photo One



A few months back, a publicist friend of mine Mike Farley sent me some information updating me on the artists he represents. I scrolled through the list, some names familiar, others less so and I happened upon the name of Ciara Grace. I was intrigued by the release of an album, Write It Down, that at that time was still three months away. I gave a listen to the music of the blonde, blue-eyed young woman, who I guessed to be late teens or very early twenties and found I was pretty close.

Ciara Grace’s music is earthy, edgy with some of the vocals and music being staccato in nature. The themes we want to say mostly dealt with relationships, but that would not be true, because the songs were all about relationships! Even though they were written between her high school years and the summer immediately prior to entering college, whether you are sixteen years old, twenty years old or forty-two years old, there is something here for everybody to sink their teeth into, both musically and lyrically. Yes, we are hearing the expression of feelings from what was then a teenage songwriter, and from a female perspective, but we think we are correct in saying that many women out there are going to listen and say, ‘I knew a guy just like that!” or ‘I remember that guy who treated me poorly,” and “I can’t believe I fell for that guy.’ Now, just so we do not give you the wrong impression, while some of these lyrics do bear the signs of feeling jaded or angry at the time, it is important to note that these are not angry songs, at least in our view. There are enough images and metaphors that keep this from becoming a dark brooding album and you can sink your teeth into the uneven beats and vocals.

We requested an interview and Ciara Grace was gracious enough to accept our invitation. Sitting on opposite ends of a phone, thousands of miles apart Ciara Grace proved to be a woman wise beyond her years, very poised and very affable. Although the musical styles are different her sense of knowing who she is, being comfortable with who she is and being professional reminds us a lot of actor, singer, songwriter Maya Hawke at the same age. We wondered if that comes from both young women growing up with parents in the entertainment scene. Maya is the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman and Ciara is the daughter of singer and songwriter Lizanne Knott and well-respected producer and sound engineer Glenn Barratt. Alas, we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves, so we will revisit Ciara Grace’s musical connections in a minute or two.

Ciara Grace Interview Photo ThreeThe first single released from the album is “Lost Cause,” and well we will let Ciara tell us about this song, “Oh god he was awful. He was a boy I met in detention. You can tell right away, especially in high school, when a boy has a particular aura about him and that he is not going to care about you very much.

This is kind of a weird story, but somebody deserves to hear this. I went to his house for the first time, and he lived in this really rich neighborhood. He had some kind of bet going on with his neighbor about who could steal more things from each other’s properties without getting caught. He had stolen an inguana. This big ass lizard and it was running around his living room. His brother was with him, and they were acting like idiots and I am going what did I get myself into?

He eventually proved that his romantic intentions were just as I thought, and I was really mad about it. I thought what could I write that would be really mean and rude? His dad was an awful person as well, so I thought I should throw that in there,” she says.

We promised you this is not a dark collection of songs and trust me and trust us when we say the true events told to us through this song are more bizarre than anything else.

Now Ciara there was that mention of being in detention when you met this guy, are you a rebel with an edge?

Without hesitation she replies, “Yeah’ my parents can tell you that. I did my fair share of things.”

The song “Choices,” is a song that a lot of people can relate to whether you are a woman or a man or a teenage boy or girl. Many people, if they are honest with themselves, at some point in their lives they have been involved in a relationship that was not healthy, made the break and yet felt somewhat emotionally attached.

Ciara Grace expands on those thoughts, “I would say a good deal of the album is about that concept. “Choices,” is about a relationship or as much as you can classify (something) in high school as a relationship. I was in a relationship with a boy, and I saw him every day for two weeks until I left for college. I was there (college) for a month or so and I saw him posting pictures with another girl, which is a little bit of a shocker. I reached out to him, and we talked about it.

I wrote “Choices,” as kind of an accusation. We are still talking, and we have all of these connections in my life that you are exploiting, and you still didn’t choose me.”

Let’s take a bit of a break and talk about your music in general, how would you describe it Ciara?

“This is a good question. I have given a lot of thought to this. When I originally started working on this album, I was sixteen. My dad owns the studio, and he was begging me, please just lay some tracks down and we will put some production behind it. We will see how you feel.

The whole time that I was working on this I was drawing inspiration from everything that I listen to in my life. It spans so many genres. I listen to Rock, Pop, Alt and so many things. I wasn’t thinking of making a cohesive sound. It was more exploring what felt right. Now when I listen to it I would classify it in the Pop / Alt range,” she says.

Sometimes the children of people who earn their livings as performing artists or in some other aspect of the entertainment industry, run as fast as they can in the opposite direction, but that was not the case with Ciara Grace.

“I have been writing songs forever, whether they have been about relationships, or some other random stuff and I would play them for my parents, because I valued their opinions. They used to beg me to come and record stuff, but I always felt like it was too easy. I have this at my disposal and so many people who are maybe more talented than me don’t have this opportunity. I felt like I was taking it away from them somehow.

I told everyone when I was little that I wanted to be a criminal psychologist, which I am in psychology for school right now. I was writing either way and my parents were begging me, please just come and lay something down. I recorded a few songs. We have so many bands coming in here and my dad was playing it for everyone. He would say, please tell my daughter she is great, and she needs to continue doing this. Enough people convinced me, and I had enough songs, so I was like let’s have a go!

My mom has been making records since I was born and I sat in on so many of her sessions and watched the process. I watched her write the songs, record them, get the band in and everything. It felt familiar, but having my opinion matter was interesting. I had people turn to me and say do you like this? What would you prefer to hear? It was surreal,” she says.

Having two parents whose careers are in music also helped to prepare her for the business aspects of her own career.

“Absolutely. My parents were dragging me out to concerts probably since I was three or four. I am sitting in an office in the studio right now and there is a picture of me on stage with a microphone in my face. I am probably three or four years old. I was very prepared by them. I think I am very good at making small talk with people I don’t know, being able to carry a conversation and accept compliments or to say the right thing or what not. I am not the best at it by any means, but I had a little practice,” she explains. 

Ciara Grace acknowledges that her father gave her a lot of space to be herself when it came to producing this album. She muses he could have taken advantage of the fact that she had little experience, but also wants to make sure we understand, that it is not in his character to be like that.

There is a song, “Stalker On the Internet,” has a title far more sinister than the content of the song, which is more about a blend of longing and I do not get why it is not me still.

Ciara Grace explains, “This guy Mr. Lost Cause, we had been hanging out for a few months and then we stopped hanging out. He started dating (another) girl named Ciara right after, with blonde hair and blue eyes (Dude that is just weird, our Ciara has blonde hair and blue eyes and the same name! In fact, it is spooky.) It was very interesting. Then he broke up with her and he started dating this beautiful brunette girl. I was so jealous of her every time that I saw pictures. I was thinking of this other Ciara, and I wondered if we were feeling the same way.Ciara Grace Interview Photo Four

There is a specific line, “And if I see I won’t say a thing, because I agree / You are watching from your window / Hoping and praying hoping that they bleed / And if I see I won’t say a thing, because I agree.”

That was me being the omnipresence watching over this. It is in general about stalking someone and going oh god, why aren’t they with me.”

Now to some and maybe those who have been stalked (raises my hand), that may give you a bad vibe, but if you put yourself in the shoes of a teenage girl, still dealing with feelings of what was or at least what she thought was, maybe not so much.

The Alt / Pop, “Lover Dearest,” is our favorite song from the album, Write It Down.  It also gives us a better showcase for Ciara Grace’s pretty vocals, with the instrumentals being fairly stripped down for the first one-third of the song, introduced only by slowly played keys. The melody is lighter and juxtaposed to lyrics that are angry with herself for fighting to stay in the relationship and at other times realizing she is better off, but still “in the ashes” she misses part of that time and person.

She reminisces, “When I wrote “Lover Dearest,” it was originally a poem. I hadn’t spent much time at a keyboard, because I much prefer to play the guitar. I wanted to construct something that was sort of like a ballad. I was feeling a lot of things and I wanted to examine the romantic situation that I was in from a story perspective. It wasn’t very long, and it was kind of slow and quiet, so I really wanted to have that build up at the end, when all of the harmonies come in and it is very emotional. I wanted a rising action to this type of climax.”

In a previous conversation with someone else, Ciara Grace had referred to weaponizing her feelings, so we asked her about that.

“I love this question. When I write it is almost always with the full purpose to make myself feel better in my mind. I tend to leave out everything bad I did, and I like to exaggerate how awful I was treated. It makes me feel better. It is very cathartic. It felt good to throw back to the universe for anybody else to read about how they (previous relationships) had made me feel,” she says.

Ciara Grace refers to the song, “Play Pretend,” as, “the most cathartic song on the album. It was smack dab in the middle of that two-year relationship. (Describing her feelings at the time she says), It isn’t real. We are kind of acting like we are dating, but we aren’t dating. I wrote that song, two weeks after I had snuck out on Christmas night to go see him. I swerved my car into a sidewalk, and I shredded my tire. I had to call my parents to come and get me (editorial comment: so much for sneaking out).

I am especially proud of the production on that one. I am proud of everything, but it was the first time that I felt my opinions mattered in production. I hadn’t given any thought to anything past writing the song. My dad and I would spend hours flipping through sound catalogues and he would ask does this sound right? Does this sound better? He really let me take the lead on that. I am incredibly grateful for that.”

Talking about the song “Summer Interlude,” she says, “This is the same person that I wrote “Lost Cause,” about and I continued to be on and off with him for the next two years. I wrote “Summer Interlude,” during the summer, before I went to college. It felt like an ending, and I was barely going to see him, once I went to college, so I thought I might as well make the most of it.”

The one thing you enjoy about having a conversation with Ciara Grace is her sense of humor, as we say this guy is doomed if people ever figure out who he is and she responds, “People are getting their torches ready.”

The album Write It Down is a collection of songs you want in your music library, because this is only the beginning of the story and of a fabulous career that Ciara Grace has ahead of her. There has been a lot of anxiety expressed in the music community and arts in general about what Artificial Intelligence will change about the way people perceive art. What it will never be able to do is recreate the heartache, the anger, the weaponizing of feelings that a real live person experiences, and that is what you experience when you listen to these songs.

Please take time to visit the Ciara Grace website and you can find the first single released from Write It Down, the song “Lost Cause,” on YouTube here.  Return to Our Front Page

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This interview by Joe Montague  published April 4th, 2024 is protected by copyright © and is the property of Riveting Riffs Magazine All Rights Reserved.  All photos and artwork are the the property of  Ciara Grace unless otherwise noted and all  are protected by copyright © All Rights Reserved. This interview may not be reproduced in print or on the internet or through any other means without the written permission of Riveting Riffs Magazine.