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Music Monday: Introducing….UK Gospel Newcomer - Grace Tena
I reckon that if Jonathan McReynolds was to write a follow up song to his smash hit “No Gray,” the verse might sound a bit like this: “…but I’m like Peter on the water, the winds and pressures blowing me over. Everything you are fills the depths of my mind, but my reality is yet to align…”
These well-crafted poetic lyrics were written by UK Gospel newbie - Grace Tena, for her debut single “In Theory”. The song attracted 10,000 Spotify streams within its first 48 hours of release and caught the attention of UK gospel heavy weights, CalledOut Music and Faithchild. Both stars shared their reaction videos to the song on social media.
It’s not very often that a new artist wins the hearts of both music consumers and industry media folk, but the 23-year-old London based singer-songwriter with her airy “Brandy-esque” vocals and soul piercing lyrics seems to have accomplished just that. The Sound Doctrine founder and Premier Gospel presenter Jermaine Dallas was full of praise for the singer saying: “As soon as I heard Grace’s song, I knew I needed to get it played on my show straightaway. I really enjoyed it. It’s not everyone who sings songs that are very well written. This one is a REALLY well written song so you’re not just taken by the music but also by the lyrics, which is obviously important for what we do. I commend her on that. It’s good to have a new artist that we can get excited about and get behind.”
When asked about the story behind “In Theory,” Grace said this to Premier Gospel : “I found myself in a place where my knowledge of God, His attributes and power just didn’t match up with my reality. It was rather the contrary and this started to affect my faith. My heart’s desire was to not just accept what I knew of him “In Theory,” but actually live it out in reality”.
With regards to her doctrinally sound yet incredibly creative song writing style, Grace had this to say: “I’ve always had a natural taking to being quite elaborate or explanatory in writing, and certainly always had a strong ability to be descriptive and poetic, even just as a student. It’s always been my strongest skill, so it was no surprise that this was the direction my writing took when I began writing songs. Being of the faith and growing in sound understanding, overtime I’ve just been able to find a great balance in embracing my style of writing and presenting the faith through it”.
Grace counts Jonathan McReynolds, Elevation Worship, Tori Kelly and Jacob Collier as her musical influences. She is a highly sought-after studio session singer and has worked with the likes of UK Gospel’s Becca Folkes and Victoria Tunde.
Written by Akosua Dwomo-Fokuo, Premier Gospel Presenter
Watch the Lyric video for “In Theory” here: