Local Artist Spotlight: Grace Love

photo by Melissa Wax

Every week, KEXP features a new local artist with an interview and suggested tracks for where to start. This week, we are featuring artists performing during the 45th annual Northwest Folklife Festival, this Memorial Day weekend at the Seattle Center.

It wouldn’t be unfair to say that today’s featured artists, Grace Love, has become something of an icon in the Northwest. As Seattle soul continues to rise, Love’s voice has emerged as a defining focal point. Her vibrant performances have continued to convert fans over the years, feeling like celebrations in themselves. But Love is a multifaceted artist, delving in everything from spoken word to culinary arts and has a heart for service. We chatted with Love about her various projects, music and other, and what to expect from her FolkLife set.

You originally started out singing in the church, but eventually moved on to rock and soul. What drew you to branching out into these genres? Is there anything you feel like the church taught you as an artist that you carry with you today?

I believe that no matter what genre you’ve been exposed to music transcends all stereotypes. I was brought up to think certain music was frowned upon in the church, but when I realized it’s about feeling then that reasoning was thrown out the window! I use my gift to do just that give that feeling… hope. The church taught me hope.

I was lucky enough to see you perform with Mike McCready during Upstream. It seems like you do a lot of collaborations with other artists. What do you like about the experience and who are some of your dream collaborators?

I’m very blessed in that respect! They are these friends of mine who’ve let me be apart of their lives and I’m humbled! My dream off the top would be Britney Howard of Alabama Shakes!

I understand you recently moved to Portland. What prompted the move and how do you find the differences between the Seattle scene and the Portland scene?

I did want to try out the scene, but due to the passing of my father late November I wanted to be back around my brother and friends. Though short lived I had a wonderful time in Portland and visit it often. I love Seattle it’s gotten me through!

You recently released a spoken word piece called “Grace Love’s Hashtag” with an accompanying video. What was genesis behind the piece? Is this a new direction and is there more new music on the horizon?

“Hashtag” was made and inspired by my beautifully talented friend Ben Blair! He’s an incredible director and in these slanted times of political debris and turmoil I wanted to inspire a people to band together!

Music is coming in loud and heavy! February I was blessed to sign with Cannonball records based in Capri, Italy. With a new release coming out this June “Rain” and the second single being mastered! I will be overseas for tour in the fall! I am still very much alive musically!

Alongside music, you’re also the president of Nadine’s Kitchen — a non-profit that doubles as a soul food café and helping at-risk youth. Could you speak a little bit about the idea behind it, the conection to the arts, and how it’s going so far?

Nadine’s is my labor of love inspired by my mother Nadine. I want to be an advocate for people who want to do art, but also teach a life skill. And I’ve found in my experience with youth that their arts are drowned by self doubt and support. I want to start an arts food cafe! Training and teaching. (Please check out more on my site)
I need to raise money to make it real and I hope one day I can make it happen!

For newcomers to your music, what can they expect from your FolkLife performance?

I am going to give all I have in hopes to inspire and get people to put their dancing shoes on!

Be sure to catch the first lady of soul, Grace Love, performing in the KEXP Gathering Space at FolkLife on May 27th at 5PM.



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Song of the Day: The Cairo Gang – Real Enough to Believe

photo by Nancy Neil

photo by Nancy Neil

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Real Enough to Believe” by The Cairo Gang, from their 2017 album, Untouchable, on Drag City Records.

The Cairo Gang – Real Enough to Believe (MP3) Read More »

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Upstream Music Fest + Summit, Day 1: The Fabulous Downey Brothers

all photos by Bebe Labree Besch (view set)

To state the obvious, The Fabulous Downey Brothers know how to put on a hell of a show. The sextet’s costume changes, frenetic dual vocals, prop comedy (industrial shrub material; see below), and themes of extraterrestrial body modification killed at the Vera Project-curated Buttnick Building space. The titular Liam Downey, fresh from his So Pitted set, ended the performance by aggressively pushing back the metal rail which sequestered the 21+ area, attempting to liberate the decidedly all-ages crowd. The crowd largely remained static, but the gesture was appreciated never the less.

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What Does Soundgarden Sound Like To You?

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

With the death of Chris Cornell yesteray, we asked KEXP DJs to stop and reflect: “What does Soundgarden sound like to you?” Here are some of their answers below. Let us know what the band sounds like to you in the comments below.

John Richards, host of The Morning Show:

Listening to Soundgarden and Chris’ voice sounds like Seattle to me. They are Seattle.

Darek Mazzone, host of Wo’Pop:

As with most of my city I awoke to the news that Chris Cornell passed last night. Fuck. Both Amy and I were stunned in the morning as John Richards confirmed. Wow. No.

This was the sound of Seattle in the early ’90s, a real tangible manifestation of what the city felt, smelled, vibrated on. On Monday, I was at KEXP and Cheryl Waters played an early Soundgarden song and his voice cutting through the air created a dimensional portal for me that for a second felt like Capitol Hill in ’93. Dirtier, rawer, closer to the forest, cheaper, undiscovered by tech. I’m in line at Café Paradiso with him waiting for a coffee that would manifest the day’s art and experiments. RIP.

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Music That Matters: 2017 Sasquatch! Music Festival Preview

Check out some of the KEXP DJ’s favorite artists from the Pacific Northwest and around the world on-the-go. KEXP’s Music That Matters weekly podcast brings you an exclusive mix of new music from the world’s best independent artists.

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

Currently you’ll hear:

Music That Matters, Vol. 565 – 2017 Sasquatch! Music Festival Preview

Troy Nelson gets you primed for a killer Memorial Day weekend in the Gorge with a preview of this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival, featuring high energy rock, scuzzy punk, rootsy folk rock, and hard-hitting hip hop.

1. Sleigh Bells – Rule Number One
2. Jagwar Ma – O B 1
3. The Radio Dept. – Committed to the Cause
4. SISTERS – Trails
5. Manatee Commune – What We’ve Got
6. Aesop Rock – Rings
7. Charles Bradley – Change for the World
8. Courtney Marie Andrews – Irene
9. American Football – I’ve Been Lost for so Long
10. Thee Oh Sees – Plastic Plant

Listen here: (MP3)

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Friday Music News

photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

  • Local Natives have released a new single with the help of Nico Segal, a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet, from Chance the Rapper associates The Social Experiment. Entitled “The Only Heirs”, it follows the previously released track “I Saw You Close Your Eyes”, which (rather creepily) forced listeners to physically close their eyes in front of a webcam before listening when on the website. “I Saw You Close Your Eyes”/”The Only Heirs” will be released as a digital single and limited edition 7-inch via Local Natives’ webstore. No word on a new full-length, as the band is still touring behind their previous effort, Sunlit Youth. Unfortunately, Seattle is not one of the upcoming stops [ Consequence of Sound ]

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DJ Sharlese’s Favorite Soundgarden Songs

photo by Matthew B. Thompson

Every Saturday night, Audioasis host DJ Sharlese showcases exclusively local music on KEXP from 6-9 p.m. With the heartbreaking news of Chris Cornell’s death comes a blow to the local music scene. It’s something Sharlese knows well both as an expert on Seattle music and as a fan.

“I think the Seattle music community is so influenced by Soundgarden,” she reflected in our Facebook Live video earlier today. “Myself, I graduated in 1996 and I just remember hearing so much Soundgarden on the radio… and really being influenced by Seattle music — not even realizing that I would be here today and this has happened and that I get to play so much Soundgarden on the radio this weekend. This is something that really, truly affects me personally. It’s such a timestamp of my life.”

As we continue to remember Cornell, we’ve asked Sharlese to share her favorite Soundgarden songs (with a bonus Temple of the Dog thrown in, too). Check them out below and share your favorite Cornell tracks in the comments.

If you, or someone you know, are in need of someone to talk to, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You are not alone.
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SIFF Face the Music 2017 Preview: Give Me Future

Give Me Future

Give Me Future
(Directed by Austin Peters, 2017, 85 minutes)

Festival Screenings:
Friday, May 19 at 8:30PM – SIFF Cinema Uptown
Saturday, May 20 at 3:30PM – Majestic Bay
Friday, June 2 at 9:00PM – Ark Lodge Cinemas
[Director Austin Peters scheduled to attend this weekend’s screenings]

Remember how long you waited for that one band to come to town, how vigilantly you scanned the listings, praying for a new album, a West Coast tour, for the singer to stop screwing around with solo projects. It always felt like a lifetime, but it never was.

If you can’t recall the feeling, go see Give Me Future, a documentary about Major Lazer‘s historic concert in Cuba in 2016, showing this weekend at SIFF Cinema Uptown and Majestic Bay as part of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). The fans at that show really did have to wait a lifetime to see the globetrotting dancehall-electro party starters play their country–it wasn’t until 2015 that the U.S. and Cuba resumed diplomatic relations, opening up the possibility for bands to visit–and you can see that air of anticipation on screen.

Give Me Future is simultaneously a reminder of that sense of excitement, a light shined on Cuba’s vibrant DIY community, and a celebration of youth culture that so often spawns the next big thing in music. Even more, you don’t have to be a fan of Major Lazer to appreciate the film; it’s a just a good story. Director Austin Peters, who will be at both screenings this weekend, backs up the film’s themes with compelling characters, carefully selected sound bytes, and a mostly well-paced plot.
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Song of the Day: Eyelids – Falling Eyes

photo by Alan Lawrence

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Falling Eyes” by Portland band Eyelids, from their new album, Or, out now on Jealous Butcher Records.

Eyelids – Falling Eyes (MP3) Read More »

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KEXP Presents Six Degrees of Chris Cornell


In light of the tragic passing of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog), KEXP has decided to dedicate an additional 12 hours of programming to celebrate the life and music of Chris Cornell. Six Degrees of Chris Cornell will place Cornell’s music within a larger musical context, exploring his connections in the Seattle music scene, as well as his greater national significance as an essential voice of rock music.

Six Degrees of Chris Cornell

Friday, May 19th. 6AM to 6PM PST.

Starting at 6AM PST, Morning Show DJ John Richards will play a track which features Chris Cornell. The next track played on air will connect somehow to Cornell. Each additional track will relate in some way to the track played before, creating a circle of interconnected music, all centered around the late Mr. Cornell.

Please join us as we celebrate this indelible artist, whose singular presence will be greatly missed at KEXP.

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