Musician and TikTok star Addison Grace brings his ‘Diving Lessons Tour’ to Dallas
MELISSA WHITLER | Contributing Writer
At only 22 years old, Addison Grace is already making waves in the music industry. Having gained internet popularity through their relatable humor and fun personality, Grace is now focusing on connecting with his audience through music. They released their debut album, Diving Lessons, in September, and now the singer is touring the U.S. with openers Madilyn Mei, Brye and Housewife. Ahead of his Nov. 13 Dallas show, the singer sat down with Dallas Voice to discuss their music, their aspirations and their experience as an openly trans artist.
Dallas Voice: Diving Lessons is your first full length album. Tell me a little bit about it. Addison Grace: With my previous music, I thought I had finished processing a lot of things. But as I continued to write for this album, there were things that came up again and again. I had these feelings that I hadn’t finished off for myself, things I hadn’t moved on from. It’s entirely new music about similar things that I’ve written about before.
The album goes through different stages of healing, leading to finding closure. I wanted to put music and words to emotions we don’t hear a lot about. I wanted to use different metaphors for things, like loneliness being a little fish or a bath being a horrible and depressing place where you’re stuck and can’t get out. It’s a very personal, intimate album, but when people listen to it, I don’t want them to think of Addison Grace, rather I want them to hear this story from an outside perspective. Once an album is released, it’s not just mine, it’s for the listeners to process and open up about now.
How did you come up with the title Diving Lessons? We were really stuck on the title for a while. There were a lot of good options, but we ended up on this one because of a memory I have from when I was six years old. I remember I was in swimming lessons, and the final test was to jump off the high dive. I felt such pressure to do it, and, after getting up there and crying, I finally jumped off. I still couldn’t really swim and was freaking out.
This inspired the album art, which is me looking down into a pool. But it’s actually a mirror. I think it’s a good metaphor for the healing process. We talk about healing in such a positive light, but it’s the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. It takes so much exertion; you have to give so much of yourself.
It also helped that a lot of the songs were watery themed, like “FISH” and “bath.”
You’ve talked online about this album being the story of a little ghost. How did that idea come about? I knew I wanted to distance myself from the narrative of this album, which is hard to do because it’s so personal. I never write songs about feelings I don’t have. My last EP ended with the song “If Nobody Likes You,” and, in the music video we filmed, I was followed by a little ghost friend. I was so excited about this video specifically and had the idea of the ghost being named Nobody. I wanted this album to be about nobody, and this gave it a weird double meaning. Once we decided on this, I immediately bleached my hair, and started dressing in white.
How has your tour been? So fun! I absolutely adore being on tour. It feels like hanging out with my friends, the openers and I get so close. It’s so exciting to see them perform every night.
I think this might be my favorite tour I’ve done. I just love getting to see the audience vibing to the music. I feel like anybody that comes to the show is someone I would be friends with.
Another exciting part of this tour is that we’ve picked out themes for each show for people to dress up. For Dallas, in honor of my song “Slime,” we’ve asked people to wear a green or slimy outfit. I wanted people to have the chance to dress up in a silly little outfit, and my audiences have really enjoyed it.
What has it been like to figure out your identity so publicly? It’s been insane. I was reaching a point in my career where I could continue to be a cutesy girl who would be successful and hate herself or be the guy that I am and risk success for authenticity. And even though I did lose some followers, the gender euphoria of living openly was well worth it.
Everything I make now is ten times better than anything I would have made if I stayed closeted. It’s just more rewarding to exist and be loved as myself than as some made up idea of me. I wouldn’t have lasted in music if I didn’t come out. And even though I don’t want to make it everything I am, I won’t shut up about it being a part of me.
I have definitely found a good balance with sharing my life online now. In the beginning I was way too open. Now I’m comfortable keeping some of my queerness personal. I leave it at I’m queer and trans and save intimate details for people in private life.
How did you decide to do music full time? I grew up with a single mom and two older siblings, so she threw us into extracurriculars — anything that would keep us busy. I did basketball and soccer and lots of things, but the only activity that really stuck was singing. I watched a lot of musicians who started on YouTube, and I thought they were so cool. I began teaching myself guitar, and my fingers would bleed from practicing so much. Soon I started posting music clips on Instagram, while also just making funny content on TikTok. When I got to the end of my senior year, I had convinced myself that nothing was going to come of it, even as I started to get a following on TikTok for being funny.
Then I went to a Cavetown concert, and later posted a song cover wearing the hoodie I had bought from the concert. Six months later Cavetown’s manager reached out and helped me start a music career. That’s when I decided to go all in.
When did you first feel like you made it as an artist? Genuinely I knew I made it when I opened for Cavetown on the same stage that I saw them perform on. It sounds almost like a weird fake story, but it was such a full circle moment. I opened for Cavetown in Utah in 2022, and when I went on stage it was so insane to be on the opposite end and see my family and friends looking at me.
I played a cover of Pheobe Bridgers’ “Graceland Too.” It’s such an important song to me because I love the line “she knows she lived through it to get to this moment,” which makes me think of that girl that I was who went through it all to become the trans man I am now. I sang those lyrics and tears just fell so hard; I was sobbing while people cheered. Backstage I saw the rest of the crew crying and hugging, and it was so surreal. I had accomplished the dream that I had, and learned that I need to dream bigger.
Addison Grace performs Monday, Nov. 13, in the Cambridge Room at Dallas Houst of Blues. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit AddisonGrace.xyz.