Unabashed plug time: I’m a huge fan of “The Voice” on NBC — in my opinion it blows “American Idol” out of the water on nearly every level, so when I discovered that a semi-finalist from that television show was coming to Rockland, (to the Time Out Pub, to be exact) on Wednesday, Aug. 7, I put in for an interview.

I wanted to chat with Sarah Grace who, at the tender age of 15, appeared on Season 15 of “The Voice” and wound up on Team Kelly Clarkson, where the Houston, Texas, teen displayed

her instrumental talents on trumpet and Hammond B3 organ in addition to her considerable vocal chops. She has a band now — Sarah Grace and The Soul. They are currently touring around the country. While out on the road, she took my call, and when I disclosed that she was the youngest artist that I had ever interviewed in 50 years of music journalism, she had this response:
Grace: Oh, cool!

Q: I’m also a big fan of “The Voice,” so I’m very familiar with your talent; it’s neat to be able to chat with you, so thank you for granting me this opportunity. Let me begin by asking if this will be your first time performing in Maine?
Grace: Yes, it is. Actually, this will be my first time going to Maine, and honestly my first time on the East Coast for real. I’ve been up to New York City for legal things, but other than that, I’ve never been up there. So, I’m really excited.

Q: Now, could you talk a little bit about your band?
Grace: Of course, sure. So, my band is called Sarah Grace and The Soul. I’ve been playing with them for about six years now, and it has just been so amazing. I’ve seen so many things and gotten to do so many things that I never would have done — like going to Maine! So, I’m really excited by all those new things that have been happening since the show. My band consists of normally my sister on drums, but she’s not going to be in Maine with us because she’s starting high school. I’m going to have a different drummer and his name is Zach Grindle. He used to be in the military, and this will be my first time playing with him. Then I’m going to have my guitar player, Clay Melton, and he’s going to be out there with us. He’s his own artist from Houston, and I’m really lucky to have him in my band. And then my long-term bass player Daniel Holder is from Germany and he’s 18. So, yeah, I love playing with these guys, and I have so much fun hanging out with them.

Q: Now, if I remember correctly that you play keyboards — a Hammond B3?
Grace: Yes, I do, and I also play trumpet.

Q: As far as the material you perform, what are you going to be presenting to your fans up here?
Grace: I play an almost all-original set with a couple of my songs from “The Voice.” My songs are bluesy, soulful, rock ‘n’ roll with some pop influences — but with a completely new view on all of those genres, because I am young so I have a contemporary twist on all of those genres. And I’ll be playing a couple of covers from the show like “Ball and Chain” and “Rather Go Blind” — pretty much just those two (giggle). But, I really love playing with my band, and I love all the new material we get to play.

Q: And, when you say “new material” you’re referring to the original songs of yours?
Grace: Yes, I’ve been writing a lot lately, and I’m excited to show off the brand new original for that trip to the East Coast… I’m really excited.

Q: Now, how long of a tour is this?
Grace: I’ve done two weeks in the mid-west. I’m just now finishing up my three-week West Coast tour this week, and then the one on the East Coast is going to be two weeks.

Q: Well, that would appear to be perfect timing because I imagine you’re still in school?
Grace: Yes, sir — I’m a junior at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Q: Are you going to be doing any recording with your band of this new material you’ve been writing?
Grace: Yes, hopefully very soon. I’ve been too busy with the tour right now to record anything, although I did record a single in Los Angeles.

Q: Will that be released soon?
Grace: I’m not sure when we’ll be releasing that because I have a couple of labels interested right now that I may be signing with — we’re discussing those offers right now. So, hopefully as soon as I sign with a label, which should be in the summer or maybe early fall. Then I will begin working on a record, because I have a lot of material. I just need to get it recorded. I love writing music. It took me a long time to get comfortable with writing lyrics. I have always loved melodies and coming up with them and shaping them to fit a certain concept, and then the lyrics are always a struggle for me. But, as I’ve grown older, it became a lot more comfortable… I enjoy it way more than I used to.

Q: Just out of curiosity, what can folks going to the Time Out Pub expect from your show? But hold on — here you are at age 16 playing in a bar in Rockland, Maine — an interesting concept that!
Grace: Right?! The funny thing is that I’ve been playing in like bars and 21-and-up places since I was 11. But yeah — what people can expect from me is huge sounds, lots of energy, hopefully soaring vocals if I’m feeling alright (chuckle) —which I will be, don’t worry (giggle) — some huge B3 sounds, some trumpet, wailing guitar. It’s going to be a really cool night, very memorable and super fun. We’re all going to become a family, and it’s going to be great! Oh, and some really high heels!

Q: OK…! Well, I have a traditional closing question that I might as well ask now: Is there anything, Sarah, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article about your Maine debut performance?
Grace: Umm, just that I’m so excited to come out and get to share my music and just hang out with everyone in Maine, and I hope that everyone is willing to come out and hang with us; it’s going to be really fun!

Lucky Clark has spent 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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