Age truly is but a number.
No one personifies that as much as 16-year-old Harper Grace, who showed the country on American Idol just how talented she is as a songwriter.
The audience and the judges were blown away by Grace’s original songs, none more so than the one she auditioned with in ‘Yard Sale.’ She followed that up with another one of her own, performing ‘R.I.P’ during the solo rounds of Hollywood Week.
She earned praise once again for ‘R.I.P’ with the cameras showing Luke Bryan saying, “She just shined. She did an original that did not harm her.”
“Hollywood Week was very intense and different than what I’m used to,” Grace told Reality-Now.com. “It was very stressful. I had a lot of fun being able to sing my own songs and be able to hear what the judges had to say.”
I loved being able to be out there. I’m a very fast-paced person so being able to be out there and work nonstop… I loved the timing of everything. It was a great learning experience, and I made a lot of friends out of it.
Grace’s run on American Idol, though, did come to an end following Hollywood Week, but making it into the Top 50 of a competition that draws hundreds of thousands of hopefuls is uber-impressive.
Viewers of the show, due to time constraints, didn’t get to see the whole send-off between Harper and the three judges. In the room when they were all together, Grace said that Luke Bryan offered her some advice, saying: “You should move out to Nashville and be like full-time writing.”
Katy Perry, too, added praise, telling Grace: “You being here really showed us you’re a true artist and at 16, I couldn’t write songs like you are, you’re so mature for your age and your songwriting is so mature for a 16-year-old.”
The Texas native took those words to heart, becoming even more motivated to pursue her songwriting career.
“Hearing the people I look up to listen to my song and [tell me] the lines that they liked, it’s very encouraging to me,” Grace said. “It was really awesome, I had a lot of fun to do it.”
Bryan’s advice has always been a dream of Grace’s, which fans of the show are aware of if they can recall her dreamboard that was on display during her audition.
For the past four years, Grace has been going back-and-forth to Nashville where has been doing co-writes with some a pretty impressive group of writers. The list includes Zach Maloy, Chris Carlson, John Fransson, Michael August, April Geesbreght and Jason Massey, among others. These are writers who have produced songs performed by some of the industry’s biggest stars, including Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and Tim McGraw, to name a few.
Getting to experience something like this at such a young age explains why Grace’s music is so mature for her age.
“Growing up I just always loved storytelling, especially with country music where you’re able to tell your story and have details in your song,” Grace said. “I fell in love with that. I made sure to learn from the best. Not every song I write is a hit song or great, but you have to learn what a bad song sounds like and what a good song sounds like.”
As every musician can attest to, not every song is perfect — or as Grace said, “great” — but it’s those songs that maybe don’t hit the mark that an artist can really learn from. She still laughs about the first song she ever remembers writing, “My first ever song was about shampoo conditioner and homeschooling.”
She explains how that song, which she wrote around seven years old, sparked her interest in writing and from there as the years went by, she focused on improving her vocabulary (even breaking out a thesaurus) and making sure her lyrics continued to mature as she did.
This makes it no wonder then why Grace went on the biggest singing competition in the world and, rather than do what most competitors do in singing known, mainstream songs, stuck with her heart by performing her own stuff.
“The reason I did sign my originals was because I felt if I were to get voted off, that I always wanted to stay true to myself as a person and as an artist,” Grace said. “I think everything I did while I was there was very true to me as an artist, and I wouldn’t change anything. I think it just reflects my personality and my heart, I was just glad they showed two songs that are so dear to my heart.”
Fans of Grace can expect to see her release ‘Yard Sale’ shortly, making it available on most mainstream services including Spotfiy and Apple Music. There will also be a music video released for the song and a few radio tours she takes part in in Nashville.
As for the Music City, Grace believes and hopes to be living out there full-time in another year or two, marking off yet another one of her goals on her dream board. It’s a pretty safe bet that once that happens, the rest of her dreams will be checked off one by one in what is looking like a successful music career to come.