I talked to Koren Grace about her new EP, growth and vulnerability through music (and therapy), and shedding fake friends.
Koren Grace’s single “Ego” came out in 2018, but in May of this year, she posted a TikTok with the song as the sound. That video now has 5.4 million views and counting. And there’s much more to Koren where that came from.
On November 6th, Koren released her second EP, “All My Friends.” The EP contains four songs, including “My World,” released earlier this year, and “Lovesick,” released in 2019. The past year has made Koren reflect inwardly as well as on her relationships – and it shows through every song in this project.
“I just went through a really long year of friendships that were on and off and all over the place and I was writing about those experiences,” Koren explained. “I thought that this would be a cool project.”
The title track, "All My Friends," expresses what we’re all thinking after this year flipped our social lives upside down. When you could only see your friends from the other side of a screen for months, you learned who would stay up on Facetime with you on particularly rough nights and who would leave you on read.
The first time I listened to “All My Friends,” the lyric “all my friends I had last year are gone, but you know that I still see them,” made me immediately stop to think. Koren said that line is her favorite from the song, too.
“That song [All My Friends] is a long rant. I kept saying to myself ‘all my friends I had last year are gone.’ For two weeks straight the only thing that would play in my mind was ‘all my friends I had last year are gone.’ Like, that’s so embarrassing. And I still see all those people.”
Koren told me an all too relatable story of one ex-friend who helped inspire "All My Friends."
The friend had stopped communicating with Koren until they ran into each other one day at a bar. The friend was polite, but sitting at the bar alone, she insisted she had "just been really busy." At that moment, Koren knew the friendship had come to an end.
“I was like, oh okay friendship is over. Got it," Koren said.
Amen, girl. This is your sign not to be that friend. And if you’re lacking the motivation to socialize with people who aren’t worth your time lately, let Koren’s EP be proof you aren’t alone. “I like people, I think they’re cool, but I try to be more intentional about where the friendship is going to go,” Koren said.
The upbeat, brutally honest track “My World” was originally written in 2016, but Koren said the perspective she gained from therapy has been woven into the lyrics of this whole EP. The opening line to “My World” confirms that: “you can say what you want to me, and I'm just not supposed to take it personally.”
“I want people to feel comfort in knowing that someone else feels similar to the way that they feel,” Koren told me.
"Lovesick" is just as honest as the rest of the album, but a little more subtle.
“From “Lovesick,” I really like the lyric ‘and you know that time I felt your palm in my hand. It got me thinking I would never love another man,’ because that lyric is really gay and people don’t realize that,” Koren said, laughing.
Though Koren says she has been writing less during quarantine, she is always working on new things. Koren’s goal in the future is to keep making music that helps people to feel and connect with their emotions. “I want to encourage people’s growth,” Koren said.
Koren hopes to continue to grow professionally as well as personally. Koren wrote the bass line for “All My Friends” herself, which is something she’s never done before.
“I hope to just grow in my craft; learning new instruments, finding new sounds, finding new people, like different producers that I can work with. Maybe even doing writing sessions with different people,” Koren said.
Naturally, this led me to ask Koren what her dream collaboration would be. She narrowed it down to a top three:
Big Sean (can you say iconic?)
Ringo Starr, to play the drums on a track, or Paul McCartney
We’re waiting, Lauren, ½ of the Beatles, and Big Sean.
Koren also hopes that her music inspires other small independent artists to keep going. Though the journey can be challenging, Koren says it's a fun one.
“I just hope that people continue to follow the journey. I am an independent artist so I’m doing a lot of the stuff I do by myself," Koren said.
The “All My Friends” EP can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Music. The official music video for "My World" is on Koren's YouTube channel, along with her lyric videos and vlogs.
While you go listen, I’ll be here thinking about a Koren-Big Sean collab.