Named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s best new bands of 2010, Vermont-based Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are finally starting to grab the attention they deserve. We caught up with Potter, during Lilith Fair’s Vancouver stop, to chat about being a loud, spotlight stealing, wild child, the creative genius behind the band, and the constant Janis Joplin comparisons.    

On being a wild child: “I am a girl and I call a lot of attention to myself visually and  emotionally. I unintentionally wind up hogging the spotlight and that can’t be helped. I was born into this body, born into this personality, and born to do what I’m doing. I’ve finally found my calling and I’m pleased as punch to have done that.”

Grace Potter

On their tight knit band: “Producer Mark Batson didn’t assess our music, he assessed us as people. He walked into our project with open arms knowing full that it’s a family and the band has been together for a long time, and there’s a history there. Instead of trying to trample over that and change it, he augmented it and he made it better.”

 

On why Batson clicked: “He found the best pieces of each of our personalities and exposed them. There was none of that psychological A Clockwork Orange business going on. That’s what makes it hard for musicians sometimes because they feel like they’re getting manipulated.”

On stealing the spotlight: “These guys, in particular Matt and Scott who have been with me for almost eight years, have put just as much time, energy, love and spirit into this project and into this band. Sometimes I just feel like the spotlight keeps winding up on me even those guys deserve the credit for a lot of the creative genius behind the album and behind the band.”

On Janis Joplin comparisons: “I honestly think it’s because I look like her. I don’t sound like her.  I yell. I have a powerful strong voice but I don’t represent the same things as her. I don’t drink until I fall over. I think it’s just because I have long brown hair. It’s not my calling to be a Janis Joplin remake.”

Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

“I literally dressed the way the rest of the band dressed because I thought if I dressed like one of the guys then people will treat me like one of the guys. I didn’t want people to think I was going right for the throat because I didn’t know what I was going for. A lot of fans have been really resistant to me changing because they think that’s the real me. They think I’m putting on a front now, which if funny because I was putting on a front then.”

On finding individuality: “Music is an animal and you can’t just say you’re one thing and be that thing forever. The second I label our music something I don’t want to be it anymore. I want to be a songwriter and an innovator. I want to be like the musicians I admire who took music a step further.”

 

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