Isaac Gracie’s life changed forever the day his voice broke.
From the age of seven, the London-born singer had been a member of the choir, rehearsing and performing six times a week with the Ealing Abbey Choir.
“I was in the full robe and everything,” recalls the young man of 23 years age. “And at the end of it there was a big, big chain, because I was the [head of the choir].
“I was the Flavor Flav of the choir. It was very good”.
In his teens, Gracie could hit the extremely difficult High C in Gregorio Allegri’s Miserere Mei.
“Then, suddenly, on a Sunday, your voice not to go there,” he winces.
“It is a traumatic experience that no-one really speaks. I had to leave the choir.”
Gracie the intention of waiting until I was 18 years old and could re-join the group as a tenor… But then she discovered the guitar.
“And, obviously, to play the guitar meant that I went by the way of the music. I rejected the choir – like, ‘the Whole structure is lame, I play the guitar now!'”
He taught himself the instrument, collection of Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Bob Dylan, songs of the ear until, one day, he nervously went into a school music competition.
“Everyone else was singing Pie Jesu, but I brought my guitar and I was like, ‘I’m going to do [Bob Dylan] It Ain’t Me, Babe,'” she recalls.
But halfway through his performance, the guest judge (“some famous cellist, I think”) is interrupted.
“He puts his hand up and goes, ‘OK, that’s enough”.
“And there is a hearing with all my friends and colleagues – and I went, ‘Yo! Don’t interrupt me and my flow, bro!’ I slammed my guitar on the floor and fled. Crucial moment
“I don’t know what came over me, because I’m not that type of person, but in that moment it made me furious. I came out of school completely and I was crying on the phone to my mom.
“But, long story short, the judge concluded by saying that the reason why that cut me off was because I was going to win – and I ended up going to the final and win the competition.”
It was a pivotal moment for the young singer. One that made him double up on their ambition to continue with music.
He retired to his bedroom (“it has a low, hanging from the ceiling as a hutch”) and started to make demos in Garage Band, the use of a “terrible” USB microphone, and the drawing of inspiration from the letters that he had scribbled across the walls.
One of his first compositions was a rusty, intimate ballad called Last Words. Gracie had posted on Soundcloud, where he immediately called the attention of the people.
It caused such a stir, in fact, that the head of Universal Music flew from los ANGELES to see Gracie’s first London show. He was quickly signed with Virgin EMI and retired from his creative writing at the University of East Anglia. But his head was spinning.
“It was the opposite of being prepared,” he says. “I do not know where the road was taking me – but I also didn’t know that the road was still open to people like me, ordinary people.
“For some reason, I thought that anyone who was a success in music came from a different realm of existence.”
The dissonance triggered a crisis of confidence. Gracie began to compare their “rough and terrible sound” demos to the singers you idolize.
“I thought it was a fake, do you know? All of a sudden I hit a wave of inertia and self-doubt and depression that I had never experienced before.
“The horror of it all began to come to me.”
To make things worse, the sudden acceleration of Gracie’s career tore him away from his girlfriend, and that finally broke down.
“It’s completely twisted our relationship, not only between themselves, but also for the world,” he says, “because suddenly I had to go and do these things and she had to see me go.
“Because the life we are pulled apart, instead of deciding that we were going to separate, there was a persistent sense of injustice.
“She’s still hurt by it. It is a very traumatic thing, you know?”
Isaac Gracie / Instagram
That relationship, and the rubble of its remains, inspired the majority of Gracie’s later songs, from the contemplation of the Silhouettes of the most desolate of the Death Of You & I.
The singer is never absolved of guilt. “I’ve never given so little and promised so much,” he sings on When to Go; while to admit that “feigned interest” in his girlfriend’s stories in the flute assisted by A Night.
He says that their relationships are haunted by the sins of his father, who abandoned the family when Gracie was young – and that he has not seen for three years.
“I have been told that all those songs were from my ex-girlfriend, but in many aspects of my mom and my dad are in them,” he explains.
“Many of the songs are on the block emotions of abandonment or guilt or anguish.”
The singer of the insecurities of the surfaces of other ways in Terrified, that it was written as a response to their own propaganda.
“I’m terrified that perhaps,” he sings,”I was not prepared for this.”
Those feelings stuck with him during the two years of the creation of their debut album.
“I got moronically high expectations for myself,” she laughs. “I wanted to be the best album of all time”.
The key to the problem was that I had to re-record the bedroom demos without diluting its essence. The last Word, in particular, was revised and re-versioned several times.
“The song is like a little hymn,” he explains, “so you can’t simply say, ‘we’re Going to produce it as a to Keep your Back to The River”, because it does not work in those terms.”
The first attempt, recorded by Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Florence + The Machine), bludgeoned the song’s delicate beauty, the launch into the first verse with a double bass drum and the hunger Gracie angelic voice of oxygen.
In the end, the singer went back to the layout of the original demo, adding subtle embellishments to the combustion in a cathartic climax that puts your coral formation with a excellent use.
“I only realized very recently how much choral music had played a role in how I record songs,” he says. I really try to lead you through the evocative, emotional distress.”
Now that the final version of the Last word is in the real world, the singer finally satisfied.
“I love it,” he says. “It is a great song and everyone should listen to it-but I’m also going to say that it was a frickin’ trial and all the pressure and stress I felt boiled down to that one song.”
Final Youtube, published by isaacgracieVEVO
Step out of the studio and playing live, he has finally restored Gracie’s confidence.
Taking the stage in London at the beginning of this year, was in playful mood “Is a beautiful nipple showing?”, he asked the audience, pulling his shirt unbuttoned. “No, it is not so. I’m sorry.”
During The Death of You and me, his long, dirty blond hair explodes around him in a swirl of guitar noise of the daughter that never have referred to in your bedroom of the children (“we have neighbors!”, protest)
“What I hope that part of the set? Oh yes, yes!”, he says, smiling, in a rare moment of contact with the eyes.
“Playing with the band made me realize I like to sing these songs, and I like to see the reaction people are having – and must, therefore, have merit.
“Now I have a desire, a real drive, to re-enter the study.
“I am confident that all those questions – all those emotions and fighting with myself – is going to come back again. But now I have a roadmap for where I want to go.”
Isaac Gracie self-titled debut album is on April 13.
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