As a model and singer-songwriter, Demi Grace divides her time between her two passions. As one of the faces of Sephora’s ‘makeup forever’ lipstick ad campaign and with an album due out soon, 2016 is proving to be a busy year – not that she’s complaining, and she kindly took time out of her busy schedule to chat musical influences and modeling.
PW: You're a model and dance-pop singer. Which passion came first?
Demi Grace: Music came first and will always be first. I started modeling to be more aware of my image and how versatile I can be. Being bullied in school for being “too dark” motivated me in modeling to prove to myself and everyone else that dark skin is beautiful. It doesn’t hurt that it helped pay the bills either.
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and how did they influence your musical career plans?
DG: I grew up listening to so many artists; everyone from No Doubt to Pink to Destiny’s child. I also listened to a lot of west coast rap/hip hop; I know almost every Tupac song by heart. The only east coast rappers I listened to religiously were Nas and Junior MAFIA. I was heavily influenced by the versatility of Pink and the creativity of Timbaland, Missy Elliot and Busta Rhymes. The depth of artist like Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and Lauryn Hill really taught me to be conscious of what I’m writing. Mariah Carey and a plethora of gospel singers influenced me to explore my vocal range. Janet taught me how to be classy and sexy and, in more recent years, Rihanna taught me that it’s okay to be and foreign and sexy.
PW: Is there any particular band or artist you might say you're similar to?
DG: I believe I have stylistic similarities to all of the artists I listed above. Whether it’s in my stage performance or my vocals, I believe you are who you listen to.
PW: How about in terms of models? Did you have any that you looked up to and wanted to be like?
DG: I looked up to Naomi Campbell so much while growing up! They used to call me baby Naomi in high school when I started modeling.
PW: How did it come about that you became a face for Makeup Forever’s lipstick campaign?
DG: My agent sent me out for the casting and I got it.
PW: You also do voice work and feature in the national ad for Dark and Lovely's fade resist. What was that process like?
DG: It was interesting. I actually got the role coincidentally. I had gone into a D&L commercial print audition months before the called me in for a voiceover audition. During the audition the producer asked if it was my first VO audition and I said yes but not to worry because I am a singer. She and the engineer asked me to sing resulting in them selecting me to sing the commercials background vocals.
PW: How do you juggle both your careers?
DG: Fashion and music go hand in hand so juggling modeling and music is surprisingly easy.
PW: Tell me about your latest single "Afraid." Is there a story behind it?
DG: There is a story behind my single “Afraid." It's a failed love story, a story of a girl who needs to leave the toxic relationship she’s in, a story about her finding the courage to do so. Lyrically, “Afraid” is reminiscent of Lauryn Hill’s “X Factor” with electro-pop production.
PW: Who or what most influences your song-writing?
DG: Love mainly influences my writing.
PW: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?
DG: If I absolutely had to choose the greatest song ever written, it would be “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” performed by Michael Jackson.
PW: You've got an album due for release shortly. Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about it?
DG: All I can say is, this album is going to be powerful. It is going to redefine me and what it means to be a pop singer.
PW: Do you have a favourite track on the collection and if so, which is it and why?
DG: I don’t have a favourite track yet. I compare all of my songs to children, I love all of them equally.
PW: What are your performance plans for the coming months?
DG: I am performing at the famous Webster Hall in New York City in August and I plan on saturating myself in as many festivals as possible in the coming months.
PW: If you could share a stage with three bands or artists who can be living or dead who would they be?
DG: Janet Jackson, Beyonce and Fela Kuti.
PW: Whose musical career would you most like to emulate and why?
DG: Grace Jones because she bent the rules and never allowed anyone to put her in a box they saw fit.
PW: Finally, are there any other plans in the pipeline you can tell me about and what advice would you give to anyone looking to make it in either of your professions?
DG: My plan, every day is to become a more amazing version of myself. I believe the mind is extremely powerful, so the more I develop mentally, the better. The advice I would give to anyone looking to make it in either profession is to know exactly what you want and go for it. If one of the first thoughts that you have waking up and going to sleep is either profession then start making plans to pursue it and do it for the rest of your life; it’s your calling.