Today’s guest is Robert Grace, singer, songwriter, popstar, and a friend of ours at Blacknight. (He and our co-founder, Paul Kelly, are cousins). His song, Fake Fine, has been one of the big hits of the lockdown, recording millions of hits on streaming platforms, YouTube, and TikTok where he has been growing his following. It’s resulted in a recording contract and Robert is currently working on an album.
Click on the player below to play the podcast audio (download: 14:10; 8MB; MP3), or scroll down to watch the video.
When he was 17, Robert decided to follow a career in music. He spent ten years honing his skills as a composer and producer, writing songs with and for other people. His goal for 2020 was to secure a publishing contract, but the success of Fake Fine led to him getting a recording contract of his own. He has signed a deal with a joint venture company between Columbia Germany and RCA.
The song deals with mental health, and the pressure from society to put a brave face on things, even when you don’t feel fine. Robert began writing the song in February, at a time when he was facing personal struggles due to a family bereavement and the challenges of the music business. He completed it with the help of a friend, songwriter Ryan Mack, just as the country was entering lockdown in March.
“I had a really good feeling about it from the moment it was finished. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I’m like that a lot with my own songs, but this one, I had listened to it 200 times before I had even sent it to anyone. And then you just don’t know. I mean, I had a good feeling but you just never know … I’m just delighted it worked out.”
The song has been boosted by a terrific music video, produced by Lost Studios in Dublin. The idea of ‘faking fine’ is brilliantly represented in the video by the use of face masks, a motif which resonates perfectly with the spirit of the times.
“To be honest, it was just like, we had to wear masks so we kind of just took advantage of that and turned it into a prop for the video. It ended up working out perfectly because it suited everything to do with the song, the whole thing about how you could be completely miserable but it’s just a fake smile. It really worked out well.”
For copyright reasons we can’t include the video in our podcast, but you can watch it here:
Robert is working on a new album; he expects it will take a year to produce and release. He’s well used to working and collaborating with other artists from his home studio, so he is well suited to the current conditions. He is looking forward to Christmas. He and his wife have a three-year-old child and they are expecting another baby early in the new year.
We’ve had a bit of a hiatus on The Lock-In Podcast for the past few weeks. I’ve got builders working on my house at the moment and, while I’ve managed to continue working from home as normal, it can be challenging to make podcasts with the sound of power tools in the background! Next week I’ll be talking to Sean Brady from Cloud Assist about how the old idea of remote working is evolving in response to the unique situation caused by COVID-19.