Tory Grace has developed a newfound confidence in herself and her music after moving to Nashville. While she didn’t exactly move here to pursue music, it was the motivation for her move. So the Des Moines, Iowa native has a unique story compared to other songwriters who move to Music City. I first met Tory Grace at recently closed Belcourt Taps, and I was impressed with her talent. In the almost three years the singer/songwriter has been in Nashville, I have been impressed by her growth as a person and artist. Keep reading to learn more about Tory and her music.
Tory Grace Finds the Love of Music
How Tory Grace found a love of music is similar to others, but that is where the similarity of her story ends. The singer/songwriter said, “I’ve always wanted to do music. When I was a little girl, I would dance around in my bedroom pretending I was the one singing the song. My parents have always sung together, so I was always around music. We went around to different churches to sing, and my parents’ dream was for our family to be a traveling gospel group.”
It’s hard to imagine, but Taylor Swift would affect another young girl in Tory Grace. Tory said, “I wasn’t little at the time, but I watched a documentary of Taylor Swift on tour. After we finished the documentary, I looked at my dad and said, I want to do that someday. I vividly remember that feeling, watching her story and knowing I wanted to be the girl on stage.”
What Brought Tory Grace to Nashville?
Interestingly, Tory Grace wanted to be the girl on stage. However, that was not the reason she would move to Nashville. The singer/songwriter said, “I didn’t move to Nashville to pursue music. The main reason I moved here was to start my life over and make new friends. I chose Nashville because there was music here, and I wanted to be around people who enjoyed similar things.”
Tory Grace finally got a taste of the stage at Belcourt Taps and that experience validated her decision to move to Nashville. Tory said, “I left my hometown after leaving an abusive marriage. Nobody in my hometown was listening to me. So, when they didn’t believe me, it scarred me. When I finally did something for myself and left, they didn’t believe me. It hurt me so much that I couldn’t be around them anymore. Even more, they didn’t want me around. When I sat on that stage and played my songs at Belcourt Taps, people believed me.” Tory’s experience on stage at Belcourt profoundly changed her purpose in Nashville.
After playing her first songwriter night in Nashville, Tory Grace changed her mind about Nashville. The singer/songwriter said, “The first time I played a writer’s round at Belcourt Taps, I only had three original songs that I felt comfortable enough to play. After that night, I knew I wanted to keep writing songs and doing the artist thing.” Thankfully, Tory Grace changed her mind about pursuing music because her talent is undeniable.
Nashville Changed Tory Grace
Tory Grace always loved music, but she felt that’s all it would be. Grace said, “I was passionate about music, but I never thought I would call it my job. I never thought I would be writing songs with other people. When I moved here, all I knew was I would be around something I love. Before I got married, I was writing songs. But, I gave it up when I got married. I thought all I would be is a wife and mother because I grew up in a community of people that made you believe that’s all you could be.”
The First Co-Write in Nashville
Tory Grace moved to Music City in June 2019 after visiting previously. While visiting Nashville, she met a producer. Tory said, “Before moving to Nashville, I used to post videos of me singing to YouTube and Instagram. A producer from Nashville had followed me for about five years, and he wanted to grab a coffee and talk about my music if I were ever in Nashville. So, I reached out to him before I came to town. His name was Phil Barnes, and he was the first person I co-wrote with four days after moving here. It was the first and only co-write in the first five months of living here.”
A songwriter’s first time writing with someone else can be awkward because you are unsure of your place in the room. Tory Grace described her first co-write. Grace said, “I had never co-written with anyone, so I feel like Phil wrote most of the song. When we sat down to write, he said, the songs you showed me before were depressing and made you a victim. He wanted to help me write a song that gave me victory. We wrote a song that turned me from victim to victor. But, for some reason, that experience freaked me out. I didn’t go into a writing room or leave my house for months. At the time, I still didn’t know if I wanted to do music. It was just something I enjoyed.”
Tory Grace Finds Herself and Gains Confidence
Since I have known Tory Grace I have observed a change in the singer/songwriter. I could sense she had a newfound confidence and she was truly happy. So I asked Tory about this growth. Grace said, “I think the biggest factor that led to my increased confidence is time. When I moved here, I was so uncertain of myself. I had gotten out of an abusive marriage. So, when I got to Nashville, my confidence was at zero. I felt like I wasn’t worth anything. It took time to realize what I deserve and don’t deserve. When you get put through enough, you finally realize that it’s enough. So it’s taken time to heal the relationship with myself and to learn to stand up for me.”
Almost everyone has experienced some trauma in their life, and how we respond is everything. Many reading this article have experienced something similar to Tory Grace. The singer/songwriter said, “For a long time, my story felt like it was my identity. But, when you separate what you have been through and who you are, you can use your story to help others. You can confidently say, this is what I’ve been through and maybe you are going through it too, but I am here to tell you, it gets better.”
Personal Growth Affects Your Songwriting
As you grow in confidence as a person, it must affect your songwriting too. Tory said, “Recognizing who I am, loving who I am, and knowing I am more than what I have gone through has enabled me to be more vulnerable in my writing in a public setting. I recognized I am not the only person who has experienced what I have. On Tik Tok, I have received so many comments on my new single, “Someone Better.” People were going through it too.
Tory Grace’s music has evolved in the past year. Grace talked about that evolution. Tory said, “When I released my first single, I thought I needed to brand myself a certain way to be more marketable. Since releasing that song, I realized that was not my sound. My last release, “Half-Hearted,” has been my best performing song so far, and it was the song that felt the most like me.”
Grace continued, “The first two and a half years I was here, I didn’t have a good sense of who I was. A lot of my identity was wrapped up in who I was with, which affected my songwriting. But, in the past six months, I have developed a better sense of self. I have a newfound sense of freedom. I have learned to stand up for myself, and I am much stronger than I previously thought. You can be a sad girl in the writing room, but still, be happy.”
Tory Grace Releases “Someone Better”
On May 6th, Tory Grace released her second single of 2022. Grace co-wrote the song with Phil Barnes, who was also the producer. We discussed the story behind the music. Tory said, “The idea came after my last relationship ended. The last night before I moved out, I was sad because I realized this was the last night I would spend with my best friend. I was worried he would find someone better. So, I began to think about everything I did wrong that someone else would do better.”
Tory Grace did what so many artists are doing, she posted the demo on TikTok. The singer/songwriter admitted she has not yet mastered Tik Tok. Grace said, “The first time I posted the song, it barely received any views. At the time, I was actually in the studio recording a different song when I reposted “Someone Better.” This time it got about 150,000 views. So, we decided to record and release this song instead.” You can listen to “Someone Better” on Apple Music or Spotify.
Fun Facts with Tory Grace
Tory Grace is a natural redhead who has a skill that may be helpful if she ever had to pass a field sobriety test. The singer/songwriter said, “I can say the alphabet backward in less than five seconds.” I can confirm she can indeed say the alphabet backward. She also is terrified of birds, and she flinched when a butterfly flew by, thinking it was a bird.
Grace has other talents too. Tory said, “I used to be a wedding photographer. So, I do some photography on the side” She made me look good in some photos she took of me. Tory’s growth as a person also included a physical change. Grace said, “I am into health and fitness, and I lost 110 pounds.”
If you follow Tory Grace on social media, you will likely see her with her best friend, Sierra Annie. Tory said, “Sierra and I have been best friends since 7th grade. We were both posting videos on YouTube, so we knew about each other. But, we were YouTube rivals, and we didn’t like each other until we met. We have been inseparable ever since.”
Tory Grace is an undeniable talent, which I have seen first hand. Not only have a seen Tory captivate a room with a performance, but I have also been in the writer’s room with her. I was amazed by her ability to develop a melody and connect with the lyrics. In the time I have known Tory, I have watched her blossom into a confident person, songwriter, and performer. The more people who discover Tory Grace, the more people will love her and her music. I cannot wait to see how far Tory will go.