Grace Gachot on SoundOn signing and new track ‘Built To Be Bad’

London-based songstress Grace Gachot recently spoke to Headliner about her latest release Built To Be Bad, how she developed her passion for songwriting, and the support she has received since signing to SoundOn, TikTok’s music distribution platform.

It’s already been a frantic start to the year for fresh-faced rising pop star Grace Gachot, yet her chirpy excitement for what’s to come is palpable as she joins Headliner for a chat over Zoom on a stormy Tuesday in January. Her schedule has been jam packed with meetings and of course, getting stuck in with all things music.

Gachot garnered a fierce passion for the creative arts from a young age - acting, singing and dancing for her family at every given opportunity. She quite simply loved performing, and at 10 years old when she watched a school musical production of Oliver!, shortly followed by her first ‘adult’ music experience at a Jessie J concert, the fire in her belly was well and truly fuelled.

Growing up in Spain with parents from a myriad of European backgrounds, Gachot’s musical influences were broad to say the least.

“There was this one song by Laura Pausini – an Italian artist – called Lui Non Sta Con Te, and I made about 1,000 different dances to it,” she begins in earnest. “I still don’t know what that song’s about! I would just listen to a lot of whatever my parents were playing around the house. Lady Gaga had just released Born This Way, and although I was probably not supposed to be listening to that album at the age I was. I would know and sing along to every word.”

Gachot admits that she took a risk pursuing music, yet it paid dividends sooner than she could have imagined. In her Spanish hometown, she would sing at local events and restaurants from the age of 15, and was soon picked up by a London-based guitarist and producer who introduced her to the world of songwriting. From there the ball was rolling, and when she finished school she travelled to London in a bid to immerse herself in the industry.

“You do get slapped in the face, and you do learn the reality of it very quickly, but I don't regret it at all,” she says. “I feel like it was the best step, and then I was just writing solidly and absorbing everything for two to three years, learning who I am as an artist and my sound.

“Singing live is very different from singing into a microphone in a studio. It's a whole different skill and a whole different muscle, so I had to let go of what it is to sing live in a restaurant, and just start singing into a mic and writing songs. I released my first song, Fuckboy Tragedy, completely independently at the end of 2022, and so I learned so much of the process of putting that together, going through the distribution company and publishing – I had to learn the whole thing, but it was really cool.”

If the name of Gachot’s debut single hasn’t already given it away, love songs have served as her biggest inspiration when it comes to her lyrical content. She counts Lionel Richie, Roberta Flack and Whitney Houston as some of her idol vocalists, and loves the way their songs talk about love.

“I just feel like it's so pure and real and honest,” she tells Headliner. “And that's the approach that I try to take with my music. I love the singer-songwriter genre and very relatable, vulnerable lyrics.

“Soon after that release, an A&R from SoundOn reached out to me and explained how their platform is connected to TikTok. It turned out their office was just two train stops away from me in London, and it was the first big opportunity like this that had come my way. I didn’t actually have a TikTok account at the time, because for me posting was always a bit of a chore; I just wanted to make music. That all changed when I was picked up by SoundOn, and I’m so grateful that it happened at a time when I didn’t have much of a following. They saw my potential just through one song.”

It’s not about having to spend a lot of money – it all just depends on how strong your idea is.

Gachot’s newest song, Built To Be Bad, has echoes of a modern power ballad, and is the latest in a string of singles that she has now released with SoundOn.

“To me, it’s definitely the most special song that I’ve released so far,” she ponders. “I was in the middle of a heartbreak, and it was just so real and raw at the time. I went into the studio with a producer who I looked up to called Ollie Green; I’d never worked with him before so I put a lot of pressure on myself for that session. I offloaded everything I was going through to him. He picked up on things I said during our conversation and created something beautiful out of it, even though I was feeling terrible. When he sent me the song, it sounded like an exact account of what I was going through – just a storm – and although I felt terrible at the time of writing, it felt so fresh to me and I loved it.

“When you go through something awful, it's sometimes hard to find the silver lining, but with songwriting you really can just take all the pain and turn it into something amazing. Every song comes about differently for me because it depends on how much emotion I’m feeling in the moment. Sometimes I’ll have a concept or idea and I’ll record it myself with some piano and basic production, and other times I’ll have a thought while I'm walking somewhere, which I’ll write in my notes and then regurgitate to whoever I’m in a session with.”

Gachot admits that she never knew how powerful and gratifying TikTok could be for music promotion before she got involved with SoundOn. The support she has received from the platform has been second to none; she has now released four songs and admits that she has found it incredibly fun connecting with their audiences.

“It blows my mind every day,” she says. “There’s so many ways you can promote now and every time we’ve done it, the best performing outlet has always been TikTok. You can get such amazing organic growth and reach, so it’s not about having to spend a lot of money – it all just depends on how strong your idea is and how well it connects.

“Often you can’t really tell what will connect, and that’s the fun part. It’s also a bit tiring sometimes because you’ll edit one video for hours and then get 300 views when you post it, but then you post something that you’ve put little effort into and it gets way more views. So while I think you have to develop quite a chilled mentality around it, it’s the most powerful form of music promotion right now. It allows people to connect to you and your songs in the way that you want to be perceived.

“With every post that you do, you’re probably going to reach a bunch of new people. The more that you work on it and develop a niche, the more you'll start to find your audience, and then it becomes a really nice community to engage with if that's the right audience for you.”

Gachot’s new year resolution is to find a balance between writing, releasing music, and playing live. While she didn’t play many shows in 2023, this year is looking like an entirely different beast for the humble singer-songwriter.

“I will do a show in London probably around May time, and that’ll be exciting because I haven’t really put much of my time towards that yet with everything else being so hectic,” she reveals. “I've been looking to build my audience online first, and then hopefully have them come to the show. That’s the plan right now and I can’t wait.”

Questioned on the personal highlights of her music career so far, Gachot explains how she recently ended up receiving support from popular BBC Radio 1 DJ Jack Saunders.

“He posted a TikTok competition asking people to send him their music, and I would never usually sign up for something like that, but I had Built To Be Bad coming out in three weeks and thought I might as well send him it and see what happens,” she recalls. “I didn’t expect anything from it at all, but two days later I was in a meeting and checked my phone – it said ‘Jack Saunders mentioned you on TikTok’, and that was a feeling of pure euphoria that I’d not felt in a very long time.

“Basically, he picked my song out of all of the thousands of emails he got, and that meant so much to me. I’d never had any recognition from radio before that, and it gave me a lot of hope for the song before and after I released it. Since then he's supported it on his radio show and online. Jack’s been a massive help in my career so far and it really means a lot to me, I think more than he probably knows!”

As far as the near future goes, promoting, teasing and testing new songs on TikTok via SoundOn is Gachot’s laser-focused prerogative.

“I'm looking to give Built To Be Bad some new life before releasing the next single,” she concludes with an infectious smile. “And then there's also a duet that I will potentially be doing with an artist, which will be out in May if that all works out.

“Life outside of music is a bit on hold; there's no such thing as a personal life these days. But it's fine because music is my purpose at the moment, although I do think a holiday should probably happen soon!”

Listen to the full interview with Grace Gachot on Headliner Radio, here: