EP RELEASE: Grace Carter – ‘Why Her Not Me’

WORDS: MATTHEW PYWELL        PHOTO: SHOT BY PHOX

Why Her Not Me is a record steeped in tragedy. Brighton based singer-songwriter Grace Carter draws on personal experience to create deep and impactful RnB ballads on her first EP release, which bookended a great year for the artist. Signed to Polydor Records and boasting a voice which has all the hallmarks of influences such as Lauryn Hill, the future looks bright for Grace Carter.

Why Her Not Me, is the question Carter found herself asking after finding out at age 18 that her estranged father had left her mother for someone else. This song was written on the day she received that news and it shows, her vocals express such hurt and sorrow, that it feels like a kick in the groin, you may need a long shower and have to adopt the fetal position after listening to this one. It’s a stunning single that sets the tone for the rest of this EP. The second track Silence is very similar to the first track and rides off the back of Why Her Not Me’s emotional wave. It’s a little bit too similar to stand out on the EP.

Silhouette is a beautifully haunting track, where Carter’s vocal high notes linger in the air and float around an echo chamber of soul. In terms of lyricism, Carter has a thing for creating emotionally anthemic chorus’, “There’s a fire in your eyes when you’re holding a cigarette, but you won’t hold me, no you don’t hold me. You keep blowing smoke till you fade like a cigarette”. That part of the chorus alludes to her relationship with her father, a reoccurring theme throughout the EP, which becomes more of a testimony/summary about how growing up with a single parent affected her and made her the person she is.

For Ashes, Carter worked with legendary producer Mike Dean (Frank Ocean, Kanye West) and this track is a little bit different stylistically to the rest of the EP. Carter’s vocals are still at the forefront but instrumentally, there’s a more electronic element. The piano is taken away and replaced by a backing track with a beat-driven drumming pattern and there are some synthetic effects which sound like ghosts whispering in the background. The final track of the EP, Half Of You (Demo) sees the themes of the EP come full circle. Until now, Grace was reflecting on how her dad leaving affected her life but Half Of you sees her rising triumphantly from the ashes of that relationship, “Cause you’re the one who’s lonely, I know you’ll be calling on me now I’m somebody. The best thing that you’ll never have”. It creates a really satisfying narrative for the EP.

Grace Carter has put down a marker with her first EP. She’s presented us with some absolutely stunning vocalisation and some fantastic lyricism. The narrative over the seven tracks is really interesting, it’s nice to see Grace grow from a place of frustration and anger to a place of acceptance and renewal at the end. You could say that instrumentally, the piano-driven tracks can be a little bit similar and maybe a couple of them should be a bit more distinguished from one another, but in the context of the EP she just about gets away with it. This is a pretty firm stepping stone to greater things for Grace Carter.

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