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INTERVIEW: Grace Piper Fields

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Alice”?

My song, “Alice”, is the first song on my debut album, Just Dreamy Idea, and is based on symbolism from Alice in Wonderland. I recently made a music video to this song as well. My version of Alice has my own twist and relates Alice’s time in Wonderland to situations we all face. I go back in forth in the lyrics from first and third person to give the impression of telling the story about someone else, but also relating to that person as if I am them. Alice is dreaming during this song, so her experience down the rabbit hole has a dream-like quality. Like all dreams, there is a piece of reality to it. Things really going on in Alice’s life are playing out in a fantasy setting. Alice faces the challenge of which path to take. She doesn’t know who her real friends are, and where she fits in. The Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter do not represent any specific people. Rather, they represent stereotypes. The Queen of Hearts is a typical mean girl. She expects Alice to be one of the crowd. Around her, Alice is expected to behave like a follower. It’s like the tall poppy syndrome. The queen wants to cut down the poppy that grows too tall because she is threatened by people who stand out. In one scene in the music video, the queen mouths, “Off with her head!” The Mad Hatter represents the situations we find ourselves mixed up in. In the song, “the games people play,” refers to mind games. In the video, the nonsensical tea party, the game of chess, and the game of cards all represent these mind games. Have you ever found yourself surrounded by “madness,” where you didn’t know what your next move should be? Alice also ponders Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum who are other characters in the madness of it all. The spoken line, “I knew who I was this morning, but have changed a few times since then,” is an actual quote from the book, Alice in Wonderland. Alice recognizes that she has been changed by her time in the rabbit hole. In the end, Alice does find her own way. This is where I veer off from the traditional story a bit. As she runs down the stairs in the video, the cards fall symbolizing, “let the chips fall where they may.” In other words, just allow things to happen without any worry or regret. Alice decides to stand up against the status quo and be the queen she is meant to be. In the bridge of the song, Alice grabs the crown from the queen’s head. Keep in mind that she is dreaming, so this is more of a figurative gesture symbolizing that Alice is no longer held back by other people’s opinions. The overall theme and main point of this song is that, ”you reap what you sow.” Despite all the confusion Alice faces, this is the one thing that she knows. The point is that eventually we all have to face up to the consequences of our own actions.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The song, “Alice,” was not inspired by a single event. It was more inspired by a period of time. When I wrote this song I was transitioning into middle school and a lot of things were changing for me. I knew I was entering into unknown territory and I wasn’t sure which people were genuine and who would turn out to be my real friends. Anyone who has experienced a large middle school knows what “madness” goes on. I was actually contemplating what I would dress as for Halloween when I realized that I felt a lot like the character, Alice. It was from these experiences that the song, “Alice,” was created.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Making the music video for “Alice” was a blast! I had been wanting to make a music video for a while. When the opportunity came to film at a gorgeous location, I jumped at the chance. I only had a few days to pull it together, so it was a bit of a whirlwind. Writing the storyboard and figuring out which scenes to film was one of my favorite parts of the process. I really wanted the song to tell a story and for it to visually come to life. In addition to being a singer/songwriter, I am also an actor and dancer, so the filming was such a fun experience! It gave me the opportunity to merge my passion for songwriting with my love for musical theatre. I learned a lot from this first filming experience, and making music videos is something that I plan on exploring more in the future.

The single comes off your new album Just Dreamy Idea – what’s the story behind the title?

The title, Just Dreamy Idea, was a thought in my head long before the album was a reality. I’ve always believed that it is great to have dreams, but even greater if you can figure out a way for them to materialize. I aspired to record an album, and used to play around by making mock album covers. I created this name for my album when it really was just a dreamy idea. A lot of the songs on the album have a dream-like quality, so when I accomplished my goal of recording an album, I couldn’t resist giving it this title.

How was the recording and writing process?

One of the most creative times of day for me is when I first wake up. I sometimes write dreams or ideas down in my songwriting journal first thing in the morning. However, inspiration could strike at almost any time, and if at all possible I stop whatever else I am doing and make a recording on the voice memos on my phone. This can be problematic if I happen to be walking to the bus stop or getting ready for school… I make recordings of vocal melodies, lyric ideas, and guitar or piano tunes. Some of these many ideas develop into full songs. My best songs are ones that have come together easily with a tune and lyric concept emerging at the same time. I began writing and recording the songs on my album just before my thirteenth birthday. Once I had a fully developed idea for both music and lyrics, I worked with Chris Bihuniak of Rock Band Academy Studios who was the producer of my songs. I learned a lot through this process, and as time went on I evolved as both a musician and songwriter.

How Kings of Leon and Jimmy Eat World has influence your writing?

Kings of Leon and Jimmy Eat World have not been an influence on my writing. I don’t know much about them. Sounds interesting, I’ll look them up.

What role does Kansas play in your music?

I think being from Kansas does play a role in my music, but not in the way that people might expect. When most people think of Kansas they might think of farms or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. The suburb my school is located in is actually called Prairie Village, but to see it you would realize that you were definitely not in any sort of village on the prairie. I am from a suburb of Kansas City which sits directly on the state line between Kansas and Missouri. Kansas City is a gorgeous place! It’s a little jewel in the middle of the country with a vibrant arts and theatre scene. Growing up here has been “dreamy” and an influence on my music. My family likes to travel extensively, so this has influenced my music as well.

How did the fantasy world and fairy tales influence the writing on this record?

I like to use a lot of imagery in my writing, so I think that does give my music a sense of fantasy. I like for people to be able to visualize a setting for the song they are listening to, and then I use the music to create a mood. Examples of this are my songs, “Infinity,” or “Music Box Boy and Ballerina Girl.” I do love the magic of fantasy and fairy tale endings, but in a modern, empowering way. I believe people should make their own magic and write their own life’s story. Overall, Just Dreamy Idea, has the components of a modern fantasy or fairy tale.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I do pull inspiration from my personal life for songs. “Garden by the Sea” tells the story of my beloved cat, Bonnie, dying while I was away in Venice, Italy. I literally had a silent moment for Bonnie in a garden outside the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and my thoughts were on Bonnie while sitting in front of the candles in the basilica just like the song says. I wrote this song while sitting on the pink couch in my living room where I always sat with my sweet kitty. Last summer was pretty dreamy. My song, “Sun-Kissed,” is a light-hearted song with island vibes which capture this mood. Regardless of the theme of the song, I do like to write songs that have a thought provoking component.

Any plans to hit the road?

I am only fourteen, so we shall see what is in store for me…

What else is happening next in Grace Piper Fields’ world?

I am very passionate about my interests and spend most of my time outside of school developing them. In addition to songwriting, I work with a variety of inspirational people taking voice and other music lessons, dance and acting classes. I am currently involved in two musical theatre productions and a play! I will be playing a live show on March 3 in the Kansas City area featuring some of my original music. Follow along on my many adventures on Instagram (@gracepiperfields) or on my blog http://www.gracepiperfields.com/

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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