If you text teen pop star Chloe Grace Baker, a.k.a Baker Grace, you’ll probably wait for a reply for three to five business days. The 19-year-old songstress isn’t a fan of technology, or the way social media is being relied on in this digital age. Instead of fawning over Instagram likes and Facebook friends, Baker is using her music to flip the script on how social media is used.
Last week, Baker Grace released a new single “See the Future,” with an accompanying “visualizer” video that features a custom Instagram filter. When the mobile Instagram filter is held over another device playing the music video, mystic hidden messages are revealed.
The New York-based singer-songwriter says the visualizer is a way to spread the message of internal reflection; the video’s hidden meanings convey that there’s more than meets the eye in both her music and the listener.
“If you can figure out those hidden things inside you that make you special, that’s when you have control over who you’re gonna be,” said Baker.
Baker Grace’s sound has evolved over her five years of professionally releasing music. Formerly signed to Republic Records, she wrote and performed under the name Bitter’s Kiss with a darker, self-described “emo” sound. She left the label when she was 17 to pursue a career as an indie artist, under the name Baker Grace.
“Baker Grace represents the part of myself that is the most graceful, that is the most honest, that has the most integrity,” she said. Now, her music mixes soulful poetics with RnB rhythms to create a style that’s equal parts Carole King and Billie Eilish.
Baker reveals her spiritual skills in “See the Future,” with the lyrics “let my soul grow, now my fields are holy like Jerusalem” reflecting an internal self-awareness that’s influenced by her mindfulness practices (like yoga and reading spirituality-focused books like The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran).
With the thoughtful, calming voice of a guided meditation, Baker says she wants her music to promote a mindful culture. “I really want to show people that mindfulness isn’t some crazy thing,” she said. “There are little ways that you can implement it into your life because really it’s about accepting where you are, and accepting where you are is enough.”
Part of Baker’s outlook on life focuses on her use of social media. A thoughtful consumer of technology, she wants the public to prioritize self-awareness over using social media as a crutch.
The idea of internal reflection shown through the “See the Future” visualizer is another way for Baker to move focus toward the inner spirituality she lives by and away from the social media and influencer culture that runs rampant in her generation.
In July, Baker released “Sad Summer,” an anti-summer anthem. In the video, she plays with bright colors, upbeat melodies and even features TikTok stars Dominic Toliver, Kailey Maurer and Kelianne Stankus as ironic backdrops to lyrics totally ambivalent about “hot girl summer.”
Sick of feeling like she had to have a good Instagram photo to show people she was having a good time, Baker created her own sad girl summer. She’s both critical and supportive of social media influencers, saying that the addition of TikTok stars to the “Sad Summer” video was a fun way to engage with a new platform. The real intent, though was to take advantage of social media for a good cause—to show viewers how technology can take over people’s lives. “I just wanted to make fun of all the people who try so hard to look like they’re having fun on social media when really they’re not having fun.”
Baker Grace plans to stick with her social criticism and her newfound rhythmic pop sound for her upcoming single, which will be released early December. The new single will be another preview of a new EP which will come out in Spring 2020.
Until then, Baker says she’s focused on developing her own brand of pop music—one that can keep up with music trends and offer a combination of ironic and heartfelt messages. “By using this more RnB sound, I’m able to do a lot more with my lyrics and my melodies,” she said. “I’m learning how to create music that’s both meaningful and at the same time upbeat and catchy.”