A huge part of the Island vibe is cool people doing cool things, and we love to highlight members of our tribe! A segment of our Islanders is the Headliners category, which is comprised of musicians, songwriters, and bands. We spoke Tory Grace, one of our headliners, about her journey into music and the road along the way!
What is your name? How did you come up with it? My name is Tory Grace. My name given at birth was Victoria and my parents decided that my shortened name would be Tory. My middle name is Grace. Throughout my entire life I’ve only been called Tory, and my last name isn’t very “artist-y,” so I just go by my first and middle name, Tory Grace, on stage.
What got you into music/how did you get started? My parents met through a traveling music group that sang together all the time, so when they got married and started a family, they practically raised me and my siblings with music. I was four years old the first time I stepped into a recording studio, and I started hearing and recording harmony parts around age six while recording our second family album. The rest kind of just unfolded from there!
What instruments do you play? I play acoustic guitar, and a little piano but only by ear.
What are your favorite types of music to play/perform? Aside from obviously playing my original stuff, I LOVE playing 90’s country. I wasn’t raised on country music by any means, but I ended up moving to Nashville to be a country songwriter and recording artist, and I practically had no choice but to learn the country classics, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter is a personal favorite to play.
Do you write your own songs? I do! I co-write more than I do on my own these days and have a schedule of about 5-6 writes a week. There is something absolutely magical about taking one word, one phrase, or one feeling and writing a whole song around it.
What is your favorite place to play? Could be a venue, studio, or just a place where you vibe. My favorite show I’ve played so far has probably been Live Oak on music row in Nashville for my first full band show. It was really cool getting to hear my songs brought even more to life by a full band. I also love playing at The Row Kitchen and Pub in Nashville, which is where I play 6-7 nights a week!
What are your musical goals for the future? My ultimate goal is to sign a record deal as an artist with a major label! But in the next 5 years, my goals include more writing and song cuts from other artists that I write with, to record and release more of my music, and I really want to make my debut at the Grand Ole Opry!
Tell us about your experience and talent with photography! My little photography biz began in 2017 when one of my best friends, who has her own professional photography business, told me she was hoping to hire a permanent second shooter for her booked weddings. I took a leap of faith, bought some fancy camera gear, and she mentored me while I practiced shooting for my friends and family to get more familiar and comfortable with the camera and find my editing style. I worked my first wedding as her second shooter in 2018, and then in 2019 I photographed my first solo wedding the weekend before I made the move from Iowa to Nashville. About a week into living in Nashville, my car was broken into with all my gear in the backseat and over $10k of my camera gear was stolen. It was DEVASTATING, but I took it as an opportunity to focus solely on music, networking, building relationships and finding my place in this new-to-me town, hoping that when the time was right I would be able to afford to buy back my camera gear and resume my photography business! After over a year of being without my camera gear, I decided to make the investment again and bought it all back. 2020 has not been the most convenient year to own a small business, but I know, as an artist myself, how important it is to consistently have fresh, high quality content to share! Having my camera gear has not only allowed me to have frequently updated content, but it’s also given me the amazing opportunity to offer the same to other artists and content creators here in Nashville for an extremely affordable price!
You can find Tory Grace on Instagram as @torygrace, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/torygracemusic. Her debut single, “One More” is available now, and can be streamed on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/track/4ogYZY5bEdtj3diUmJ5gMc?si=O5GtH1DQb2TgxXnoXW-lw. Interested in more? We will be featuring lots of our Headliners in the coming weeks!