Traveling in Yellow Shoes

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It’s something her mom has told her throughout the course of her life: “I’m blessed to be a blessing,” junior Gracie Schram said.

Schram is a philanthropist and musician who has recently been experiencing a steady growth in popularity.

“I got into music really as a fundraiser,” Schram said. “When I was four, I was watching Sesame Street. There was a special on this little girl in Africa, and I was watching her brush her teeth with her finger.” This inspired Schram to take action.

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Gracie Schram sits on some steps with her yellow shoes, an inspiration for one of her songs. Photo provided by Jill Schram

“I was at my birthday party, and I said to my mom, ‘I want to send all of my presents to that little girl in Africa,’ because she didn’t have any toys to play with,” Schram said.

Schram became even more aware of poverty in Africa at the age of 10.

“I was lucky to get to grow up and live how I do. I wasn’t willing to just feel sad or feel sorry, but I was compelled to take action. So, I decided to make a CD.” Schram raised over $30,000 in proceeds, but she didn’t let her musical journey stop there. She plans on continuing music after graduating from high school.

“I’m going to L.A. to meet with lots and lots of labels. I’d like to get a [college] degree, but I don’t even know if I’ll get to go for four years. It just depends if [touring] takes off or it doesn’t. But I really feel like I could have a big and lasting career,” Schram said.

For Schram, music is an aspect of her life that is far from just a hobby. She has several inspirations and influences that help initiate her creative endeavors.

“My favorite artist is Ingrid Michaelson. [She’s] one of the few people that I’ve bought all of her records since she started,” Schram said.

Schram describes herself as a student of Michaelson. She has studied her lyrics, the way she sings, and even the production of her music. Not only does Schram have a favorite music artist, but also a favorite music memory.

“I think my favorite musical memory is when I first heard some of the tracks off my new record that Charlie Peacock [a prominent producer in the industry] produced,” Schram said.

She realized that everything was coming together, and she was ecstatic.

“The first couple of times in the studio when I was starting to hear it come together, I think were some of my favorite moments,” Schram said. “I was like, ‘Yes, this is what I want to sound like.’”

Schram isn’t alone on this adventure. She has her producer, manager, and several co-writers that aid her in her musical quest.

“Once you get in the door and make some relationships, everyone knows everyone. I got introduced to Charlie two years ago through [her former manager] Nick Barre. I thought I was just going to get to learn from his wisdom, but then he had me play some songs.”

Schram then performed one of her songs for him, and he was wholly impressed. Peacock asked her to visit the studio and record the song.

“The next day he sends over this fully produced track,” said Schram. “Basically he said, ‘I want to make your record.’ It was incredibly cool.”

Her upcoming album, I Am Me, is due to be released in October. According to Schram, the new record doesn’t have a general theme. All of the songs should be recognized as individual works.

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“It’s interesting because it’s 11 songs with 11 different co-writers. But I was a writer on all of them and the record definitely sounds very coherent and it sounds like it all goes together,” said Schram. Despite being put together by different co-writers, the album has a fluency to it.

“But I think each song has a little bit of a different story or mood to it. They’re all songs about stuff that happened in my life or stuff that I see with loneliness or not feeling accepted, or relationships, or songs that I want to make people smile when they think about it.”

For aspiring musicians, Schram has some words of guidance.

“Just keep it up. If you feel like you have something to say, then go out there and do it. Because I think that there’s no longer one way to become famous or be a musician. There’s so many different ways, and if you have something to add into the world of music, you should just put it out there,” said Schram. “Share what you have to say, because somebody might be willing to listen.”