Pale Waves’ Heather Baron-Gracie discusses embracing sexuality on second album: “I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders”

"I’ve stepped onto a path of wanting to explore myself"

Pale Waves singer Heather Baron-Gracie has discussed embracing her sexuality on the band’s forthcoming second album ‘Who Am I?’.

The band announced their new album, out in February 2021 via Dirty Hit, last month alongside first single ‘Change’.

Speaking to NME in a new Big Read cover feature, Baron-Gracie discussed the openness of the new album, and how she now feels comfortable discussing her sexuality.

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“I was hiding my sexuality and keeping it a secret because I didn’t want people to judge me,” the singer told NME of the era of the band’s first album, 2018’s ‘My Mind Makes Noises’.

“My relationship with my family was closed off for a long time, and I saw [Pale Waves drummer] Ciara’s family and how they interacted with their parents and I was like, ‘Well, this is nothing like mine’. Ciara was so open about being gay and they were so confident about and so proud of it and I looked at them and thought, ‘I wish I could be like that.’”

Pale Waves
Pale Waves, shot for NME by Jenn Five

“I was 23 when we did that first album, and I wasn’t confident about myself or with my sexuality,” she added. “I’ve stepped onto a path of wanting to explore myself and I feel confident in myself and proud to own my sexuality. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

Discussing body issues that followed serious spinal surgery she had as a teenager, Baron-Gracie added: “I was drowning myself in alcohol because I was too nervous to go on stage. I didn’t have confidence in myself. I was so mentally on the edge. People would say to me, ‘I love your confidence; I wish I had it’.

“Maybe I came off as being bold, but I had a lot of moments where I just hated myself or I couldn’t stand to look at myself. People think they know you just by what they see when you perform, but I would have to put on a different personality to impress and convince people.”

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Elsewhere in the Big Read feature, the singer discussed her bandmates’ recovery process after their tour bus was involved in a near-fatal road accident back in February. “I think it’ll be something that will stay with them forever,” she said.

Watch Heather Baron-Gracie perform new single ‘Change’ and old favourite ‘Eighteen’ for NME Home Sessions above.

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