In some way or another what we wind up doing in life was planted in our minds as kids. For me, it was the fascination with the person doing the interviews from the late Barbara Walters to MTV’s Carson Daly. For Ty Grant, her focus was on the ones usually on the other side of the interview, the musicians making the music she couldn’t get enough of. Today Ty Grant channels everything from her creativity to her mental health realities into song, including her late 2022 release, “Social Anxiety.” We talked about the song, Black women’s mental health in particular, and more in this back-and-forth exchange.
Kendra: Your interest in music runs deep, but as a kid what did you find the most appealing about it? Was it the lyrics, the beats, the joy it brought to people?
Ty Grant: As a kid, I loved everything about music. I just found it so intriguing that a beat alone can make you move in a way you couldn’t imagine. I was always in love with how artists created their words or how words can get you to understand people in this world. It became a powerful tool to get to know others but also relate while telling stories.
Kendra: Now let’s talk about your December release, “Social Anxiety.” As someone who understands all too well what it’s like to have that, I immediately felt every word of this track in my bones. For me though, I didn’t always know what those feelings swirling about in me were. I just knew that things like meeting the friends of a friend could leave me internally freaking out. When did you realize that this was a part of your reality?
Ty Grant: “Social Anxiety” is very common, but a lot of people are aware of it. I used to be the “life of the party” but as I got older I realized I had social anxiety when I stopped going out as much. I later began avoiding conversations and people in public. I started to see major differences in my personality. I was becoming more to myself. I also knew I had the disorder when I was in class and the professor told me to present my project. My hands began to shake, I was sweaty, my heart was racing to the point I just walked out of the class. Having too much attention on me almost caused me to have a panic attack.
Kendra: Being a Black woman as well, I was taught growing up that therapy and whatnot were “for white people.” The absolute wrong message to send a teen who is battling mental health issues. Thankfully though, the stigma of talking about what we’re going through and seeking help has continued to fade away over the years, and that’s in part to Black creatives speaking up. With that, do you think you could’ve dropped this song as a hip-hop artist say 10 years ago?
Ty Grant: Yes I believed I could’ve dropped this song 10 years ago. I like to create music with substance that can go through different generations. I want to make music that lasts, not just songs that become a trend.
Kendra: For me, whenever I am feeling anxious late at night, I tend to write and it helps ease my mind a bit. Would you say getting “Social Anxiety” out was therapeutic for you?
Ty Grant: Writing, lately, has become an outlet for me, releasing things out in the air is my way or letting go. Writing and creating “Social Anxiety” let me face my disorder and open the eyes of others who may have it. Just knowing many people contacted me about the song and shared their stories was the best gift itself. This was therapeutic knowing my music was.
Kendra: I also want to note that you created this track using a $20 mic and your phone, but that feels like the norm for so many as the past 10-15 years have seen an uptick in DIY artists. Do you feel creating with the bare bones is a skill not every artist has within them?
Ty Grant: I do believe it’s a skill that you can learn. It’s one of those things if you want to, you’ll learn about it more to improve your music.
Kendra: In 2022 you started dropping singles pretty consistently, one a month starting in October. Will you be following that schedule in 2023?
Ty Grant: Yes, I will be following this schedule. I enjoy dropping every month. This helps me create a fan base and show’s that I’m consistent in my craft. It also helps me improve musically.
Kendra: Also, being that it’s a new year, have you set any sort of music resolutions for yourself?
Ty Grant: I have set some goals for this upcoming year. My goals are to create more music for people to relate to, connect to, and love. I have more goals planned for myself but this is the main one right now.
Kendra: Lastly, with a few singles out now, what else lies ahead for you in 2023?
Ty Grant: 2023 is looking like a year full of more songs and a bigger fan base than where I started. I just recently started music so my goals are just growing and learning the business and how to create.