Addison Grace talks about the evolution of his music and online career

This week we caught up with Addison Grace (@graceful.addison), a singer-songwriter who uses TikTok to market his music and grow his following.

Grace’s music has a personal, denominational indie pop style. Earlier this year, the 20-year-old artist released her debut EP titled Queer Coming of Age. Immaturewhich revolves around themes of growing up and entering adulthood.

Grace has attracted a strong following on social media: they have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, YouTube, Twitch and Twitter; Millions of listens on Spotify; and over 3.8 million followers on TikTok, where he was particularly successful. Her TikTok account features song and tour promos, content about her experiences as a trans artist and creator, and the occasional funny video unrelated to his music.

Grace’s latest videos revolve around his new EP and live performances, including supporting the likes of Cavetown, Tessa Violet and Penelope Scott. Grace also recently announced his own live tour in August.

Grace spoke to Passionfruit about the evolution of his online career, why he doesn’t consider virality when writing music, why he thinks TikTok is a top notch app for being real online, his advice for other artists hoping to share their work to market online, and dealing with the uglier side of social media.

How has your online career evolved from the beginning to the present day?

So much has changed! I used to be just a teenager recording videos of my original songs and covers online, not even editing. I didn’t have a professional microphone or editor so it was all raw and with my half broken iPhone. Nowadays I work with real producers, release music on major streaming platforms, announce headlining tours and finally feel like I can call myself a real singer-songwriter. I’ve always been one, but now I feel I have the experience and confidence to call myself one. I think that shows on my social media too – the confidence I’ve grown. I’ve grown from a bumbling, inexperienced “influencer” who wants to make music, to a full-fledged artist who uses social media to connect and share.

How would you describe your style of music?

I like to think that my style of music is always different. I don’t mean that in the sense of ‘I’m so unique and different from everyone else’, I just think I never quite know what I’ll end up doing until it’s done. Overall, I’ll always fall into the indie-pop realm, but I’ve always been told that the big similarity between all of my music is my voice and my writing. My friends and family like to joke that someone could sing my songs and they would be able to tell it was my song. Or else the same, I could sing something I didn’t write and you could say I didn’t write it. I think it’s sweet and complimenting that “Addison Grace’s Music” is just that – Addison Grace’s Music!

How has social media influenced the kind of music you create?

I think I’m a lot more honest in my music because of social media. I don’t like the idea of ​​writing a “TikTok viral” song or anything like that because it just feels superficial to me. I think social media is beautiful and amazing, but it can also be so annoying and wrong. I think that’s why I will always write about something that is true and meaningful to me.

Why do you think TikTok in particular has seen such massive growth (as opposed to other apps)?

I think TikTok is just the god of social media right now – like Youtube and Vine used to be. I think I joined at the right time when it was still “weird” to have TikTok. I hate editing and TikTok allowed me to do that in the easiest and fastest way! I loved not having to sit at my computer for hours just to upload something. It allowed me to be the most authentic version of myself as quickly as possible. Instead of just “being someone who sings,” Addison let me be Grace in his “full uncompromising form.” People really seem to like that.

How has it been with live performances since you’ve become more and more popular online? What have you learned about how online fandom translates to in-person events?

I was absolutely terrified when I started performing live. I remember calling my mom in the bathroom and just sobbing because I didn’t know what I was doing. I had played in cafes before, but actual music venues are a different matter. Once I got through all the hard stuff, I learned that I absolutely adore performing live! I love seeing people in real time and not just on a screen. I love hearing them sing my songs, joke with me and cheer on even the smallest things. I always emphasize that I want to be the truest form of myself, and performing live really lets me do that. There’s no editing, there’s no filter, it’s just so raw and exciting. I think it reminds me that those “numbers” I see every day are real people who love what I do as much as I do. I could cry how much it means to me!

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist who wants to use TikTok to market their music?

Don’t fall into the trap of “doing what’s popular”! You are enough just the way you are, and TikTok is just a tool to share that with others. The right people will find you if you just let yourself be there. Also, people want to know who you are! So take a break from the constant ads or gaming every once in a while and just make a real video about something funny that happened or a thought you had. The more people know who they’re listening to, the more excited they’ll be to listen. Just don’t be wrong.

What are your most valuable social media tools? (This could be, for example, in-app functions, software or devices)

I love the Shure MV51 microphone I use! It’s great when I want to quickly make a cover video or sing on any of my social media. Ring lights (with dimming capability) are also a godsend when the sun just isn’t playing along for a video. I also think the “green screen” filters are my best friend because I use them so often.

What do you do to keep in touch with your fans?

I try to always check my mentions or my starred stories/posts! I may not get to everything but I really do my best to reply to everything because I really love to see it. I like to joke that Twitter is my secret club because it has my smallest following and it’s the easiest app to “talk” to me – I tend to see things there. I also love live streaming and try to do as much on Twitch as possible whether it’s singing, chatting or trying to beat Kirby levels. Live streaming is truly the closest interaction I can get with them – just below in person appearances.

What was the hardest thing about being a creator?

I don’t like that some people are just terrible to you. I hate being sexualized by predatory people or being “ravaged” by people who for whatever reason don’t like me. I also think that “cancel culture” has become something dangerous and gross instead of what it should be used for. Some people on the internet are so quick to think that you are a terrible person because you made a completely ignorant mistake! I think I’m incredibly fortunate to have a fan base that knows I’m a 21-year-old who still has things to learn and really want to be the best person I can be. I think more people just need to realize that some people really don’t deserve a platform and other people are good people who sometimes make/have made stupid mistakes.

What advice would you give to other YouTubers who are struggling with the same challenges?

When you’re real online, you create and find real audiences. If you make an unknowing mistake in front of a real audience, you’ll get good criticism, advice, and acceptance (that is, if you make sure you correct yourself, apologize, and learn from what you did). Also – just ignore the goosebumps and unnecessary hate. The block button is your best friend when someone refuses to help keep your social media/audience a safe space! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help if things get too out of hand.

Thanks Addison for talking to us!

Are you an artist who uses social media to advance their career? Email us at Gracefulness.[email protected] for the chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter.

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