At a record store in Denver in July, a well-intentioned fan yelled out during a break in Gracie Abrams’ short acoustic set: “Congrats on your Grammy nomination!” The only problem?
“I-I don’t have a Grammy nomination,” Abrams responded kindly, part-confused and part-appreciative that her fans would manifest that for her. “As of today, I’m a zero-time nominated artist for anything.”
The 24-year-old singer-songwriter from Los Angeles can’t say that anymore. When the Best New Artist nominees for the 2024 Grammy Awards were read off, Abrams was the first one up. The rising star picked up a nom alongside fellow breakout acts including Ice Spice, Noah Kahan, Victoria Monét, Coco Jones, Jelly Roll, Fred Again.., and the War and Treaty. Talking on the phone hours later, Abrams at times sounds overwhelmed by the news, even when others (including that clairvoyant fan in Denver) could have seen this coming.
“I was in bed with my heating pad on and then my stomach kind of dropped when the Best New Artist category came up,” Abrams said. “It was just gasping and then my body was kind of shaking and I have not been in much control since then.”
When asked if she’s into manifesting, Abrams brings up angel numbers and numbers that seemingly reoccur in someone’s life over and over again. The time she says her nomination was read out loud? 11:11 a.m.
“The minute that my name was called out this morning, it was 11:11 here, and we all are like, ‘What the fuck?’”
Abrams was alone when the nominations were read, and the first call she made was to her mother. She also connected with fellow Best New Artist nominee Kahan, whom she’s maintained a friendship with since they met on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.
“Noah Kahan immediately called me and we were on FaceTime just screaming at each other at the top of our lungs,” Abrams said. “We were like, ‘We’re going to fucking pre-game.’”
Calling from California, Abrams talked to Rolling Stone about the nomination, her favorite Grammy moment, what a Gracie Abrams and Ice Spice collaboration would look like, what she’s learned from being on the Eras Tour, where having a song in Jersey Shore: Family Vacation ranks on her list of accomplishments, and more.
Grammy-nominated Gracie Abrams, how does that feel?
Like a huge joke. I don’t even, I can’t begin.
Tell me how you found out.
I’ve watched the stream every year that they’ve done it. I’ve watched it just as a massive fan and I get all excited and I just love to see my favorite artists’ names pop up. But I wasn’t watching in anticipation of anything, personally, because even having been in the conversations, pre-nominations, I was like, “That is so crazy and beyond what I could have ever anticipated.” And so I was like, “That’s my fun little quirky win of the year.” Having seen my name pop up in your articles and things, and I was in bed with my heating pad on and then my stomach kind of dropped when the Best New Artist category came up. And then very, very luckily, I mean my name was the first one that they called out, and it was just gasping and then my body was kind of shaking and I have not been in much control since then.
Who were you with when that was going on?
I was very alone. Very alone.
Who was the first person you had to talk to?
My mom, and then Noah Kahan immediately called me and we were on FaceTime just screaming at each other at the top of our lungs. We were like, “We’re going to fucking pre-game.”
I saw his reaction to him being nominated too, that was awesome.
His reaction made me cry instantly. When he called me, I was just out of my mind excited, but I didn’t see it until after he posted his thing, but I’ve watched his reaction 10 times and I cry every time. I love him so much.
How long have you guys been pals?
We met at [the Eras Tour]. We’ve only ever met one time, but we’ve been friends since then. He’s just got the biggest heart and he is such a pure artist. He is so passionate about it and he’s so great at what he does and he’s so connected to his audience. Honestly, it’s such a wild honor to be nominated alongside all the other artists in this category because I’m such a fan of all of them and I just feel really out of my mind in disbelief that my name was next to theirs.
Obviously, my friends and family have been so generous and excited and funny about it, but to talk to friends of mine that are also in the industry that are nominated this year or have been before, or just people that I have looked up to and admire so much, to be able to feel how real and pure the support is among the community is something that I am really grateful for and excited about.
I saw that fan video of your supporters freaking out when your name was read.
Oh, I can’t even.
How is it to have people so invested in your happiness and your success?
Dude. It’s crazy. It’s so crazy. And also I’m like, I’ve had that reaction to my favorite artists before years and years and years in the past. I know the feeling. And I get that excited. And these are faces by the way, in the video, I recognize all these kids from coming to my shows and from being so supportive and I just wish that I could actually physically hug all of them today.
I know you said you didn’t log on this morning thinking anything of it, but is it not something at all this week that’s been in the back of your head?
It’s been the kind of thing where my best friends will text me. They texted me every other day this week being like, “So are you thinking about it?” I’m like, “Well, I wasn’t before now.” I genuinely, when I tell you, I deeply mean it. This wasn’t the kind of thing I was anticipating. I was just excited to celebrate my friends, and I feel so honored to be included.
Do you have any favorite Grammy memories?
I loved when…Well, I wasn’t watching at the time. I wish I had been. I don’t know how young I was even, but when Amy Winehouse won, just that is one of my favorite reactions ever. Anything Beyoncé ever. And then obviously everything Taylor’s ever done, all of Taylor’s wins. When Olivia won Best New Artist, I remember just getting so teary, and I don’t know, it really is this amazing thing where I do feel like, especially now, even thinking about the actual ceremony itself, thinking about the fact that somehow I’m going to be in that room, the joy that I have to imagine comes with being in a community of people who so deeply care about music and know the impact of it. And I think anywhere we can find joy right now, it is just worth holding onto that.
Have you ever been to the actual ceremony?
Oh, no. No, no, no. Nowhere close. Just from my laptop in my bedroom or just watching on TV somewhere.
Is there something specific about actually attending that you’re looking forward to?
Well, I will say one of my favorite things about watching every year, it’s always seeing what people wear. It’s so fun. It’s so fun, and it’s, I think, sort of such a spectacle and there’s something that feels so grand and otherworldly, seeing all these people gathered in one place looking so hot. So I’m just like, I’m just going to do a lot of smiling and waving.
Looking at your fellow nominees in the category, which ones have songs in your rotation?
Noah, I just love, because I know him, so that just made me so emotional. Fred, I’m such a huge fan of. I think he is a genius and I watch all of the videos that he posts. And then obviously Ice Spice. I want all of them to win. Do you know what I mean? I don’t know, I love Ice Spice so much. I met her one time very briefly, and she is just so gorgeous and so cute and so sweet, and I’m just excited to be in the same vicinity as her again.
When did you guys meet? Was it also on the Eras Tour?
Yes, it was. It was a wrap party situation.
Got you. What would a Gracie Abrams, Ice Spice collab look like?
Oh man. Oh man. Only in like my wildest dreams.
Just some devastating lyrics while also being a party song?
It’d be like devastating lyrics and then, “…like?”
There’s this video from back in July. You’re doing a live set and a fan almost tried to convince you that you were a Grammy-nominated artist, even though at the time you were not.
I’m like, “Yeah, I promise I’m not.”
And now look at you!
Whoever that fan was, we should get them to manifest everything for everyone.
Are you big into manifesting?
I am big on journaling about hopes and dreams, so I guess so, maybe that’s a version of it. What was so weird is the number 11:11 is very significant to me, because it’s my cousin Abby’s birthday. It is also my manager Alex’s birthday. And it’s like when you just see numbers everywhere, that’s the one. And the minute that my name was called out this morning, it was 11:11 here, and we all are like, “What the fuck?”
That was very strange. I believe in it, to an extent. I just believe in doing whatever makes you feel like you might not be losing your mind in the world.
Congrats on the new single “Cedar.” How did that one come about?
That was a demo that Aaron and I had, and we actually made that during Good Riddance times, and met some kind people through Interscope that wanted to use it for their show. I’m excited to see the show.
Have you ever had a moment of watching something on TV and hearing your song play?
Love Island. Which, honestly, was kind of the top of the mountain for me. There’s nothing more you could hope for than to watch someone tell their Love Island girlfriend that they’re madly in love, and then you’re hearing the second song you ever released in the background.
It’s like, “Let’s have a chat,” and then it’s like “I miss you, I’m sorry.”
Literally, it’s like, “Where’s your head at? What’s your type on paper?” And it’s like, “I miss you, I’m sorry.”
Are you aware that “Feels Like” is in a Jersey Shore episode?
Yeah. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.
Shut up. God, the day is just getting better and better.
How does that rank, you think, compared to a Grammy nom?
I’d say just above. I’ve actually never seen Jersey Shore, to be honest, but I do have friends that are invested, so I feel like they’re fake for having not told me this sooner.
Tell me about the stuff that you did this year that you are the most proud of. Not to launch you into an existential thing, but…
That’s a sweet question. Honestly, I think it’s going to take me another lifetime to process everything that I’ve been lucky enough to experience this year. The first thing that comes to mind is having had the Eras Tour experience, because what I have gained from watching Taylor’s show as many times as I have and just kind of being in close proximity to her, learning from her as a musician and as a friend and as a business person. I feel like I’m constantly able to take notes and watch her impact on her fans, and she’s been so generous with me in sharing her audience with me. I think there’s been this undeniable energetic charge since then that has broadened my imagination so significantly, honestly.
One of the largest reasons I can imagine that I was even in consideration for this nomination is because of how I’ve gotten to know myself through my relationship with Aaron [Dessner] and my collaboration with him. He’s just someone that I… He’s family now, so it’s beyond just our collaboration. I’ve learned so much about how to be in the world through him, and I feel so proud that I get to know him, and I feel so excited about what we’re making now. So for all of these things to have happened in a year, it just feels like I’m going to wake up tomorrow and it’ll all have been the craziest dream of my life.
I know that you and Taylor did “I Miss You, I’m Sorry” together. Is there one of her songs that in a perfect world you’d love to sing with her?
Clean has always had such a special place in my heart, and I think especially now, having her version of it out in the world. I feel like anytime she’s announced that she’s re-releasing an album, I keep myself from listening to the version that pre-existed. And so I’ve been relieved of the waiting now, and I’ve just been listening to that every day. She’s just a genius, and every single one of her songs, they’re all undeniable. I just love her deeply. I just am so proud to know her and I’m so grateful.
Was there anything specific that you’ve learned on tour with her or through yourself, performing in these stadiums?
A million things, but I guess just even thinking when you said “stadiums,” it’s like she can make a space that massive feel both like you’re on a completely separate planet and it’s the most intimate environment on earth. It’s really insane. I didn’t know that it was possible to make an 80,000-capacity venue feel like it’s just you and her when she’s playing acoustically. It’s just insane what she’s capable of. And so I learned that’s possible, and I just want to take every minute that I’m lucky enough to do this, trying to understand what you need to tap into personally and with your audience to achieve that kind of a connection.
I really love live music. I love to tour. I love the connection and the vulnerability that you can experience when sharing a space with people in that way. It’s so hard to compare to anything else.