Seven Questions About Music, Mystics, & Mayhem with Rising Star Grace McLean
March 25th, 2016
by Grace McLean
New Yorkers have a couple opportunities coming up to see singer-songwriter, composer, and actress Grace McLean live on stage—and she shouldn't be missed. A master juggler, McLean appeared off-Broadway in Brooklynite and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, she's developing and starring in a pop opera inspired by 12th Century mystic Hidegard von Bingen, and she's headlining an American Songbook Concert on April 1 and a concert at Greenwich House on May 5.
Below, McLean talks to BroadwayBox about her album Natural Disaster, serving Fanny Brice in the bedroom, and the moment she knew show business was for her.
1. Artist who most inspires me professionally:
I love artists who unashamedly do their own thing, craft their own voice, and dabble in multiple forms. And I particularly admire artists who clearly work from a place of joy and humor, and who have a sense of the community they want to create: Nellie McKay, Reggie Watts, Miranda July.
2. If you’re only listening to one song off Natural Disaster, I’d say start with:
Why, you must begin with "Natural Disaster!" It's the first song I wrote on my looping station and I think musically it really captures the way I use it as an instrument, and it lyrically captures my neuroses and idiosyncrasies. So if you want to get to know me, I think that song is my calling card :)
3. Dream role I’d play on any stage anytime anywhere:
Fanny Brice in Funny Girl for SURE. Heart, pathos, comedy, and sangin your face off?! Sign me up. Believe me, I know no one can top Babs, I watched that movie countless times as a kid, but a girl can dream (and sing in her bedroom when no one is home).
4. Coolest thing I learned about mystic Hildegard von Bingen during my research for opera The Green:
She performed an exorcism when she was in her 70s, and after she cast the devil out of this woman (who kept calling her "wrinklepuss"), she joined Hildegard's convent.
5. Moment I knew I wanted to be a performer:
I was doing a production of A Christmas Carol at South Coast Rep when I was 11, and while I was dancing with Fred in the party scene, my little bloomers fell off. We had a laugh and kept dancing and I thought, "if my underwear falls off in front of a crowd of people and the show goes on, that's the kind of absurd life I can get behind."
6. Fictional character who I’d consider my spirit animal:
But also, even though I want my real spirit animal to be a swan, I think she might be a flamingo.
7. Album I never get tired of singing along to when I’m alone:
The White Album by the Beatles. There are so many little plays inside each of the songs.
See Grace McLean live at Lincoln Center in April or at the Greenwich House in May.