Grace Lundy

Grace Lundy poses for a portrait in the Haymarket on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Most high school seniors are faced with the task of deciding which college they want to attend with the hopes that a job will follow. But 17-year-old Grace Lundy doesn’t want to live the 9 to 5 lifestyle. As only a senior in high school at Lincoln Southeast, Lundy wants to make a living and reach wide audiences by doing what she loves — making music.

The singer has already begun her music career trajectory by releasing her EP “Break My Heart last June and having a handful of collaborative tracks under her belt.

Lundy said she started taking her devotion to music seriously as a 14 year old.

She was in middle school when she first listened to Ed Sheeran. She admired the English pop star’s ability to make music that others can connect to. Lundy said Sheeran has the ability to say important things that other people can’t through his acoustically driven tracks. For Lundy, “+” sparked a passion for music.

“That’s been my biggest inspiration,” she said. “When I started playing guitar was because I listened to Ed Sheeran’s whole first album.”

What came from getting her first guitar gradually turned into performing at open mic nights in local coffee shops like Crescent Moon and Meadowlark. As a solo acoustic act, she opened for acts at Crescent Moon like The McGovern Stringband. Lundy dove further into her creativity in fall 2017 by attending “Inspire to Dream” — a music camp in Lincoln’s Turbine Flats with Atlanta-based, Lincoln-raised songwriter Ashton Combs. Combs has written for big-name artists like Sean Paul, Tory Lanez and Lil Wayne.

Combs said he quickly connected with Lundy’s style and saw her talent.

“I saw something in her that I don’t want to say stuck out amongst the other students, but there was just a vibe that we connected with,” Combs said.

Since then, Lundy has referred to Combs as her music mentor, and Combs said he’s always willing to help.

“Whatever she needs, I’m there for her,” he said.

Lundy said he’s helped her see a future for herself in the music industry.

“He’s got me opening my eyes to maybe moving someday to get involved with bigger music scenes, and if I finish a song, he’s the first person I send it to.”  

While attending “Inspire to Dream,” Lundy also caught the attention of local rapper HAKIM, who asked her to join his music collective Our Society. With the group, Lundy worked on her first EP “Break My Heart,” and the singer was also featured on two tracks from HAKIM’S “Young Drifter II” mixtape.

Although Lundy is no longer with Our Society as of last fall, she said working with them gave her the tools to work better in a collaborative setting, and it helped her find a passion for hip-hop music, too.

“It really opened up what kind of music I started making, and I kinda realized I want to go more [the hip-hop] route than I did the acoustic,” she said.

Since parting ways with the group, Lundy has been focused on finding her own sound and on writing with Combs and other Lincoln artists.

And her songwriting has changed since she was starting out. Lundy said her music has more feeling to it now.

“It’s a lot more down-to-earth than it used to be,” she said. “When I first started writing, it was a bit more cliche and now it’s more of ‘what am I feeling?’ So I kind of try to put more of myself into it. Whatever I’m going through in that day, month, week, whatever, that’s what I’m going to write about.”

According to Combs, Lundy hasn’t just grown in songwriting. Lundy is more comfortable in her own skin, which he says is important for musicians.

“In music and arts in particular, if you’re not confident in who you are, it’s gonna show through your art, it’s gonna show through your music,” he said. “So I think that’s something she needs to pat herself on the back for.”

And now that Lundy is an independent artist, the job relies on her to continue to follow through with her confidence in music. Although the songwriting process can be difficult, Lundy said she’s motivated by a song’s potential. If she’s feeling overwhelmed during the writing process, she focuses on the idea of the beat or melody becoming a complete song. For Lundy, not giving up is important because the outcome is always something to be proud of.

“The really good artists aren’t the ones that just put whatever they can out there to make it,” she said. “It’s the people that really put their all into it. And that’s, like, kind of what music is. I just want to put my all into every single song.”

culture@dailynebraskan.com