‘Who Am I?’ Pale Waves Album Review and lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie Interview- ‘I hope I can be that artist that fans find comfort in and that I never had when I was growing up’

Heidi Flood February 11, 2021 0

In a world that seems to have stopped turning for almost a year now, it has given everyone time to reflect and think more than ever and lead singer of Pale Waves, Heather Baron-Gracie, is no exception. When speaking to us Baron-Gracie explained how ‘this pandemic has allowed people to work on themselves a lot more’ continuing on to say how it has herself as she ‘got a break from being on tour because if it wasn’t for the pandemic I would have had to jump on the road right away after my album so I’m quite thankful I just got time to chill out for a second because I really needed that.’ With the upcoming album ‘Who Am I?’ set to debut this Friday (12th February), this mindset has gone hand in hand with the type of album Heather wanted to create. ‘This whole album is about me finding myself and changing and evolving and wanting to become a better version of myself’ and she was able to focus on this as she had ‘time to do that and having time where I’m not in the same environment in the same routine not constantly on the road’ going on to say how she feels ‘touring can be really like mentally and physically exhausting’.

Although the pandemic has meant that musicians are missing out on touring and playing shows which so many of them love, it has enabled them to have a break from their relentless schedules with Baron-Gracie adding ‘I do love playing shows so much and I do love meeting and seeing the fans more than anything but when you sort of have done it for like nearly basically everyday for the past three years it’s very it becomes quite tedious in a way and you sort of you really just want a break’. This is understandable as Pale Waves shot to fame quickly, with their debut album, ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ hitting the top 10 of the UK album chart back in 2018, and it has all been growing from there. With the band having played all around the world including huge UK festivals such as Glastonbury and Reading+Leeds, it has been non stop since they very began. No doubt this is what makes their next release so anticipated, as they have already shown they have so much to offer in such a little amount of time.

‘I’ve worked on myself a lot more and become comfortable with those vulnerabilities’

Unlike their previous album, Heather has taken on more songwriting with ‘Who Am I?’. When speaking about the transition between the two, Heather expressed how with Pale Waves debut ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ she ‘wasn’t able to 100% to give myself up or allow the world to see every inch of my life and all my vulnerabilities’ though with the second album, ‘I’ve worked on myself a lot more and I’ve become comfortable with those vulnerabilities’ and this openness and vulnerability shines through in ‘Who Am I?.’ With songs like ‘She’s My Religion’, this particularly resonates. Baron-Gracie wrote the single about her relationship with her current girlfriend and has previously spoken about the way same sex relationships in music are often portrayed in a playful or overly sexualised, so with ‘She’s My Religion’, wanted to ‘represent same sex relationships in a healthy way’. Pale Waves cement this as Baron-Gracie and her girlfriend were the focus for the music video and whilst discussing this Baron-Gracie explains she ‘sort of knew this was sort of the right moment in time to allow the walls to be broken down and allow people to enter even more and I knew I had to represent the LGBTQ+ community.’

Throughout the album Pale Waves explore and highlight themes they feel need to be addressed and this is particularly evident in songs such as ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘You Don’t Own Me’ as they look at societal ideas and the way women are perceived in society. With powerful lyrics such as ‘I’d rather pull my teeth out than be what you want me to be’ in ‘You Don’t Own Me’ which shows how they won’t do what other people want them to or think they should along with the line ‘I’ll be the biggest mistake if you don’t get out of my way’. This strong voice is something that Baron-Gracie wanted to express on this album as she ‘wanted it to be really unapologetic and I wanted to have a really strong voice’ which is something Pale Waves continue to demonstrate throughout ‘Who Am I?’. With themes such as what it’s like to be a woman, sexuality, body image and mental health; the new album explores numerous avenues and makes their work so relatable for fans. This was something that was important for Baron-Gracie, as she told us ‘I hope I can be that artist that fans find comfort in and that I never had when I was growing up’ which is so prevalent in her songwriting as ‘Tomorrow’ is all about encouraging girls that ‘Tomorrow is worth it’ and through her songwriting, helps make the album so relatable and gives fans of Pale Waves a role model to look up to.

Not only are the messages portrayed in the latest album something that Heather wanted to hear growing up, the album also have a very 90’s and early 2000’s sound which she explains was music that she ‘grew up listening to’ as well as being a genre she gravitates towards nowadays, along with country music. The inspiration of this genre is evidently laced through various songs on the album with songs such as ‘Easy’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ which have Avril Lavigne vibes- an influence of Heather’s. Another artist that Baron-Gracie admires is Taylor Swift. When discussing more modern day inspirations, she explains ‘I love Taylor Swift’s melodies’ (the influence of which is most noticeable in Pale Waves’ debut single ‘Changes’) and how she ‘really admires’ how during her more recent indie sounding releases over the last year, Swift didn’t feel ‘obliged to write a record that’s massive pop songs, even though they’re massive songs she’s kind of not felt obliged to write these huge hit songs’ and Heather herself has a similar attitude as she expresses how ‘I’m not going to write a song that’s going to make me loads of money and get me on the radio I’m just gonna write a song and if it’s a big song then happy days but if it’s not then it’s not’ which demonstrates unapologetic attitude and strong voice she wants to portray within the album which is exactly what she and Pale Waves manage to capture within ‘Who Am I?’.

‘I hope I can be that artist that fans find comfort in and that I never had when I was growing up’

When we asked if there was a particular reason that the album ends on title track question ‘Who Am I?’, Heather explained that as well as going along with the classic record structure and ending the album on the ‘really dramatic song’ she also poetically explains ‘‘Who Am I?’ is all about me desiring to go on that journey and me sort of hoping to find a better version of myself and so it just felt right to leave everyone with that last message’. With the song being such a beautiful interpretation of self discovery, it only seems fitting that the album ends on this, to sum up an album that is full of exploration and discovering who you are.

‘Who Am I?’ out 12th February.

Track Listing:

CHANGE
FALL TO PIECES
SHE’S MY RELIGION
EASY
WISH U WERE HERE
TOMORROW
YOU DON’T OWN ME
I JUST NEEDED YOU
ODD ONES OUT
RUN TO
WHO AM I?

Pale Waves have also announced a UK and Ireland tour for 2022, with all the dates below:

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