Gracie Abrams delivers the warm glow of a diary
Scrolling through Gracie Abrams’s Instagram (yes, J.J. Abrams’s daughter) is like flipping through her diary. Her aesthetic is the glow of Christmas lights with polaroid pictures taped to her bedroom walls, Muji pens scribbling journal entries, posts of political activism and snippets of her humming voice amongst the hue of those festive lights.
By opening the pages of her diary, so to speak, on Instagram, Abrams consistently lets the viewer step into the warmth of her wistful room. She’s been at this for years: three years ago she posted a snippet of a song called “Minor.” I fell in love with the romantic teenage earnestness she exuded, as if “Minor” was a walk through the movie “Me and Earl and The Dying Girl.” Minor is a longing, youthful love letter. She whispers the lyrics: “I’ll put on a show, if you just come over. I’m sorry your house is in Glendale, or somewhere far.”
Gracie has built up a cult following on Instagram in the three years since. In these years of fragmented songs, fans consistently voiced their restlessness, begging for her to release something official. On Oct. 24, 2019, she finally debuted her first official single “Mean It,” along with a VEVO verified music video. Accordingly, the song feels like a walk inside the glimmer of Gracie’s room. The music video features her placing objects inside her room, whispering her woes with a pouty face as she sprawls across her bed. The intimacy of this powerhouse teenage femininity I had followed on my feed for years had finally broke onto the official scene.
It’s important to note that the term diary particularly stirs up images of femininity, and her Instagram and various media outlets are described as diary-esque. I believe what drew me most to Abrams is this exactly: her capture of the “diary energy” of the teenage girl, and the power she brought to it. The dewy skin and hoodies with her soft spoken voice that’s knifelike, the dreamy bedroom and wistfulness — three years ago she let me feel power in this, as I was 17, figuring out where my power could be.
Her instagram launched her into the respects of Lorde, Clairo, FINNEAS and the producers she formally works with today. Seeing the magic of the teenage bedroom transformed into a palpable power that garnered intense respect of powerful producers felt like watching Clairo rise, but without the rush and with the space to breathe.
Growing up with artists like Arianna Grande and Nicki Minaj, I pondered if in order to be empowered as a female, the teenage girl bedroom-centric aesthetic had to be suppressed. Abrams is refreshing in this way — she has an authority that doesn’t need to be menacing or sexy or embody male characteristics to be taken seriously. She’s a soft vocal, and she’s authoritative in being her.
Abrams rose and broke in by opening her diary, letting us flip through the pages and showing how this version of the teenage girl is a force to be reckoned with, as is every other version.
I’ve been listening to Gracie Abrams in my room, my Christmas lights bouncing off of my poster-filled walls, while I sit criss-crossed on my white comforter. I used to be embarrassed by the term “diary.” Artists like Gracie make me feel powerful in this space, journaling in my bedroom. Gracie’s debut single is this space for me. If you want to feel the power of girls in their bedrooms scribbling up thoughts and dreams, listen to “Mean It.”