goody grace if i want to
[Photo by: Christian-Lanza]

Canadian-born singer and producer Goody Grace is an up-and-comer in the alternative music scene. At just 22 years old, the artist has collaborated with the likes of Jesse Rutherford (The Neighbourhood), Machine Gun Kelly and blink-182. Today, he’s exclusively chatting about his new track “If I Want To” with AltPress. 

The song samples Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit “It’s My Party.” Several artists have used clips of this classic tune, including Melanie Martinez in “Pity Party.” In his rendition, Grace puts his own spin on the chorus, referencing getting high if he wants to in a literal meaning and play on words. He effortlessly combines stunning indie vocals with upbeat trap rhythms for a unique experience sure to set the stage for a bright musical future. 

Read more: Here’s how blink-182’s “The Rock Show” van ended up in a junkyard

Grace has had an exceptionally packed past year, having released his single “Scumbag” featuring blink-182 in October. Within months, the young artist was performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! alongside Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker

AltPress had the chance to chat with Grace about his work with blink-182, his new track, his upcoming album and his TV debut. Check out the full interview and “If I Want To” below. 

So first, how are you holding up with quarantine going on?

Good! I’m just working on music. I’ve been working way before. I was probably quarantined like a week or two before it really got set in because I was just as scared of the virus. So I have been tucked away for a while. 

Is that how you’re staying sane, by writing music?

Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much music [and] a lot of listening to music. I’ve been reading books. I like being inside, anyway. I hope everyone has been safe, especially because I can’t go back to my hometown in Canada and whatnot. But you know, I’m thinking of everyone [and] staying positive.

So you have this great new track “If I Want To.” You sampled “It’s My Party.” Where did that idea come from? What influenced you to use a track that’s older?

A friend of mine who I write with a lot named Jake Torrey, he actually helped me, alongside the Futuristics, make my song “Scumbag.” He’s just a really like-minded person. We’re always bouncing ideas back and forth off each other. The song took a while. There were many different versions, many different changes.

Read more: Mod Sun drops another Machine Gun Kelly and Goody Grace collab tease
That was a really cool and unexpected sample when AltPress first heard it. And with that change, it got a stoner theme. What inspired that, and how did it shape your lyrics?

You know, the original goes, “It’s my birthday, I’ll cry if I want to.” There’s been many different clips of it over time, and obviously, I’m a big fan of marijuana, so there’s that side of it. Even dating back to my song “Memorie$” with Jesse from the Neighbourhood and A$AP Ant of the A$AP Mob, I’ve always tried to make references to highs and lows, and it doesn’t always necessarily mean from weed or from any substance in general. It could also just mean being low in life. I grew up in a pretty small town in Manitoba and have had a lot of struggle in making it to where I am today. Like, can you even keep going? So I think as much as it’s saying, “It’s my party, I’ll get high if I want to,” I say, “Leave me alone. I want to be on my own.” As much as it could be about weed and a lot of people could take it as that, it’s also just being like, “Fuck you, I’m gonna do what I want with my life and not listen to anybody.”

You blend trap beats in the background with your soothing indie voice. What influenced you to go beyond those genre restrictions on this song and across your discography in general?

I think when I first started making music, I have so many different influences with different genres that I still listen to day to day. When I was a kid, there were a few big ones like Bob Dylan. I love the Smiths. I love blink-182. These are things that I grew up on and changed me and I still listen to day to day. I love the Misfits. And then at the same time, in the same amount, I love Three 6 Mafia, Lil Wayne and everything like that. So I just think as I started to make music, I used to really think, “OK, now I’m making this type of song.”

And finally, as I got more in the groove and perfected how I view music and made more and more songs, I just started to really naturally blend. I think I’m a product of everything I listened to. And especially in a year like 2020, no one listens to just one thing.

Read more: blink-182 join Goody Grace for moving “Scumbag” performance
So, you grew up with blink-182, and then you got to collaborate with them on “Scumbag,” which must have been a dream. How did that come about?

Me and Travis have been friends for a while I met him at a mutual friend’s show backstage, and we exchanged information, and he followed me on Instagram. It was like a year on and off of me trying to link up. Finally when he contacted me, he had messaged me on Twitter to come open for blink in Vegas for the last weekend of their residency at the Palms Casino. So, I went and did that show, and we’ve been friends ever since. We actually have a lot of stuff coming. [Travis has] been a great help on my debut album and everything that’s to come.

So, the song just came along really naturally. I had started it with a production [team] called the Futuristics and one thing led to another, and I got Travis to download it. The Futuristics had been happening to work with blink on their upcoming album, NINE, at the time. They played it for Mark. Mark ended up playing bass on it. So then after I had Mark on bass, I was like, “Damn, could you sing on it, too?” So it was really crazy. blink-182 [are] the reason I played guitar as a kid.

And then to promote the song before we had announced it, they brought me out at Barclays in New York and The Forum in L.A. They brought me up to sing “Adam’s Song” with them, which was really crazy to be able to do that twice. ’Cause I think that’s one of my favorite songs ever made.

And then you did more with blink, and you got to go on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. What was it like to perform on a late-night show with them?

It was honestly such a dream come true. I was so excited to play on any late-night show. I grew up watching them. And that was my TV debut actually. It was really, really hectic, though, because I was up in Canada doing some radio promo, and then I had to go down to Florida, and we had got confirmation of Jimmy Kimmel Live! maybe eight days before the date. And then we didn’t even rehearse for the first problem until a day or two before we were supposed to play because it was just so hard to get everyone’s schedules together and get Mark and Travis to be like, “Hey, we have Kimmel for this day. Is that OK? Can we rehearse this day?” You know, I was really lucky in the process, and everything worked out the best it could have. It was a really quick turnaround from finding out that we even got the offer to do it to actually doing it. 

Read more: Watch Goody Grace join Machine Gun Kelly at his hometown holiday show XXMAS
Aside from Travis, you’re really close with Machine Gun Kelly. So you’ve had really cool mentors between Travis and MGK. What are some of the most helpful things you’ve learned from them?

One of the biggest things that has helped me…[is] all [of my] friends are amazing and the people who have taken me under their wing. I’ve worked a lot with G-Eazy. I think I just learned perseverance and how you always have to keep working hard. I helped MGK make his song “why are you here,” and that kicked off our friendship of collaborating, and me, him and Travis played at Emo Nite in L.A. We played “I Think I’m OKAY” and “What’s My Age Again?,” which was such a fun time.

And he brought me to Cleveland to play at his annual XXMAS show. I think Kells has inspired me and taught me that you just gotta keep working hard and you gotta look up at the next artists coming. And I think that’s why I’m so grateful, be it G-Eazy or Travis or Kells, really anybody that even takes the time of day to listen to me and talk to me and to make music with me. I think it’s just so inspiring because I’m just a kid from Canada trying to do it and learn this stuff. So I really appreciate anyone that sees what I’m trying to do and understands it and is willing to lend their hand.

Obviously, the quarantine is taking its hit on touring. You had to postpone your tour, but the music industry never sleeps. What can fans expect from you in the coming months?

I apologize I had to cancel my shows. I was so excited because I haven’t actually done a headline run in about two years. I’ve done a lot of opening and support tours here and there, but I haven’t been on the stage as a headliner in quite some time. I was just getting all my music ready. I wish I didn’t have to postpone it, but it could be for the better as well because what I plan to do is finish up my debut album, which I plan to release later this year. But, I’ve been rather quiet since “Scumbag” came out because that was just such a whirlwind, and I was just letting that happen, and it still picks up traction day to day, and it’s so exciting.

Once “If I Want To” comes out, I think it will really open up the gate for the songs on the album and not on the album. I think I’m going to be putting out more music this year than I ever have because I’m just so inspired. I feel like with everything that’s happened in the past few years, I’ve got a lot to talk about. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m sitting on some really good music that I’m really excited about that I have to finish up. So, I think “If I Want To” is really the first chapter of what we’ll do with the rest of the year.

Read more: Goody Grace shows us his roots in new “Wasting Time” video—watch
You’re so inspired right now, you’re being creative. What advice do you have for some musicians who are stuck in a creative rut right now? 

I think in a time like this, it’s good to really not be hard on yourself, and it’s tough to really want to remain inspired and feel like you should be taking this time to work. But I think  you [should] just take it day by day and look into things that inspire you. I’ve been knocking off my movie list, my book list, albums I maybe want to listen to but haven’t or even diving deeper into my favorite musicians that I’ve liked my whole life. I think just taking time to really do your homework [is beneficial]. I’m just always so inspired to try and make some art to make people feel the way that the outlet I really like makes me feel. So, I think it’s a good time to sit back and just study your craft. Even if you want to be a chef or you want to paint or whatever, you have all the time right now to buckle down and really work on that. Just don’t be hard on yourself but also just stay super inspired and excited because this will pass, and everything will be hopefully back to normal, and I think everything will be all right.

Awesome. What book are you reading right now?

I’m on a quest to knock off every book that Jack Kerouac’s written. That’s totally my whole life, knocking off the scale. He’s a writer. He’s part of the Beat Generation. I’m a really big fan of him. He’s a big inspiration on music. So I’ve been reading this book of his called The Dharma Bums. I think I only got maybe three or four books of his left to read. So I’m taking my time because I don’t want to finish this.

Make sure to keep your eyes out for Goody Grace’s debut album and rescheduled tour dates on his Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages.