Voice fans will surely remember Season 4 Team Blake badass Grace Askew, whose Memphis-bred blues ‘n’ country “bluntry” sound (yes, she’s patented that term) set her apart from the pack. Now Askew is returning with a six-song EP, Warrior (due out early 2018), and Yahoo Music’s Reality Rocks is thrilled to premiere the EP’s epic title track.
Shortly after her Voice run, Askew visited Yahoo for a candid interview, during which she ruminated on the current state of country music and her hopes that old-school country would make a comeback. “I sure as hell hope it’s coming back, because it’s come to a point where, to be honest, it’s all sounding the same to me — not to rag on artists that are working their butts off to get out there,” she said. “Everything has a cycle, and I think especially with country music, it’s due for that cycle of bringing back the way it was.”
Askew also discussed the struggles that female artists have faced in Nashville recently. “It’s been on my mind a lot lately, actually, because I’ve been realizing it more and more, the deeper I get into my career. We have to prove ourselves a little better, and we have to be in step all the time. And perfection, I think, is what we expect of ourselves in order to keep up with the guys. It’s complicated. It’s tough. You have to watch the way you dress, because you don’t want to seem like, ‘Oh, she’s dressing that way because she wants to get extra attention!’ I don’t know… I guess you have to stick to what you know best and not let the outside factor affect you.”
Clearly Askew is sticking to her own artistic vision, broadening her sound as she draws from such unique influences as Tom Waits, Mahalia Jackson, Sylvan Esso, and Cat Power on Warrior. And her fearlessness is evident in the “Warrior” fight song.
“I wrote this when I rekindled an old relationship about two years ago. It fell apart, but at the time I was determined to make it work and fight for us, no matter what others were saying and no matter how painful it got for me,” Askew tells Yahoo Music now. “Obviously, it got to be too much and too dysfunctional; I now consider it to be more of a spiritual message, fighting for my God. However, I perceive that higher power to be connected to my life each day.”