The first (and only time) I heard Gracie Schram, she was about 12 years old. She was singing at the United Methodist national youth conference, Youth 2011. At 10, she had recorded a CD and donated the proceeds to charity in Haiti. She was quite remarkable. And surprisingly unassuming.
Since then she's performed at SXSW, given a TED talk, and shopped for a prom dress. She's still using her music to support great causes, including Nieman Marcus's Make Some Noise and Children International.
She's only 16, and she makes me feel like a slacker. Her debut album is produced by the inimitable Charlie Peacock. (If you follow me, you'll know I'm a Charlie fan from way back — like 1990 and The Secret of Time.)
So when I found a couple of songs from i am me on NoiseTrade, I was curious to see how she's grown as a musician.
It's easy to tell how Ingrid Michealson has influenced Gracie Schram — she says so on her blog and talks about the thrill of opening for Michealson — but she brings her own songwriting and a certain sweetness to her music that is all her own.
"Before I Fall" is a heartfelt look at intimacy and fear, and Charlie Peacock has produced it to let her vocals shine. This song will take you back to high school or your first love or just the first time you really opened up to someone. Her voice is just right.
"Yellow Shoes" is, quite simply, adorable. It's unapologetically happy. On her blog, Schram says the song was inspired by her favorite pair of shoes, which really are yellow. We can forgive Schram for being on top of the world and not admitting any gray. The song is a snapshot, which becomes obvious if you listen to other tracks on the album, which is available on iTunes and elsewhere.
There are other tracks on the album that are decidedly Christian, but these two appeal to anyone who is young or wants to remember what it was like.
You can listen to the full tracks here, and you can download them if you give NoiseTrade your email address. You're also free to give a tip.