Gal Musette is the nom de plum of Grace Freeman, a musical prodigy who began writing piano based lyrical compositions and performing at open mics in her home city of San Clemente, CA at the age of 10. Her graceful approach to melody-driven indie-folk and French chansons has captured audiences all over Southern California. At age 14, inspired by The Magnetic Fields’ triple album 69 Love Songs, Gal recorded her own collection titled 70 Love Songs, which caught the attention of the band, and won her an opening slot on a few of their Midwestern U.S. tour dates. 

In more recent years, Gal has opened for several renowned artists such as Macy Gray, Suzanne Vega, Todd Snyder, and Donavon Frankenreiter. While her artist name is taken from bal-musette, the accordion-based, waltz-style French instrumental music, Gal’s primary inspiration is drawn from songwriters including Joni Mitchell, Regina Spektor, Bjork, Cocteau Twins, Burt Bacharach, Irving Berlin and The Cure.

The Orange County musical prodigy creates dreamy melody-driven compositions and has collaborated with the likes of Rufus Wainwright as well as toured with The Magnetic Fields and Donavon Frankenreiter among others. 

“Ghost” is off of her forthcoming full-length Backwards Lullaby featuring bittersweet lush songs all about heartbreak.

Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?

Gal Musette was the pseudonym I used at 13 when I started releasing cutesy love songs on Soundcloud for fun in tribute to my favorite band at the time, The Magnetic Fields. After recording many demos under that name- I broke away from it for about 5 years and joined various original and cover bands spending most of my time gigging instead of recording. When the pandemic broke out and everyone was locked down, I started recording at home with nothing but time (which I found to be a shared experience among many artists) and released a self- recorded EP as Gal Musette once again. This year I’m finally releasing my first Gal Musette full-length called “Backwards Lullaby.” Hopefully this time the name will stick. 😉

How would you describe the highs and lows of being an artist?

It’s strange how you can go from one night playing to an audience of hundreds of people who are attentive and absorbed in the art, to the next night playing in the back of the bar with everyone chatting and completely oblivious to the music. I could imagine it might feel like this at any stage of an artist’s career- somedays you are the star, and some days you are a nobody. 

What’s a musical guilty pleasure of yours?

I don’t why I see this as a guilty pleasure, but every time I hear a John Mayer song come on I don’t want to like it…but I do…

What are some sources of inspiration for you?

Regina Spektor’s lyrics, Rufus Wainwright’s sense of melody, Nina Simone’s honesty and musicianship.. and.the list goes on! I think it’s the most beautiful thing when a perfect lyric is combined with a perfect melody- for example a song like “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell. Songs like that kill me and make me remember why I keep writing songs.

Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?

Lady Gaga and Lizzo! 

Favorite activity to recharge?

Surfing! And repeatedly watching The Office. 

Tell us about your latest release and how it came about

My latest release is called “Ghost,” a song about falling in love with two people at the same time. I wrote 7 years ago between relationships, after the first time I heard the classic tune “Mr. Sandman” by the Chordettes. Getting to record this one with my producer Jon O’Brien’s gorgeous sounding piano and his band Coma Culture featured on the final chorus was such a refreshing and lovely experience- I’m so excited to share it. 

What are some things you do to deal with anxiety and creative blocks?

A couple things I’ve found to help with my anxiety are boxed breathing, and rationalizing the irrational thought patterns I have. It helps to write down the negative thoughts and think of them from a logical standpoint. 

With writer’s blocks, they used to be the scariest thing to me so I would force myself to write even when not inspired, but lately I’ve been seeing them as there for a reason. I feel like certain periods of life are meant to be experienced and absorbed while fully present, and can be expressed at a later time. 

What’s the future looking like for you?

I’ll be releasing two more singles after “Ghost,” and then the full length! Then I’ll be recording my next album in October, and planning on touring in 2022! 

What inspires your visuals?

For the album, I pictured mystical visuals to accompany the production which features lots of tape echo, dreamy effects, and tracks soaked in reverb. I have Anna Azarov (LA based photographer) to thank for helping me with all of my artist photos for this album release. She contributed so much to the creation of all the looks. We lingered on dreamy/cloudy vibes for the first few singles, but for “Ghost” tried out a more retro, black and white glamour look to fit with the more broken down track. 

What is the most embarrassing memory and most proud moment of your career so far ?

I’m sure there are far worse moments that are slipping my mind, but I’d have to say one of the worst was opening to Suzanne Vega at the Coach House, I accidentally left my keyboard transposed 4 keys higher and had to sing the whole next song in the register of a chipmunk. I was horrified. 

Proudest moments have been the few times I got positive feedback from my heroes.. it blows my mind and I couldn’t be more grateful. 

Favorite inspirational quote?

“If you want to sing out, sing out” – Cat Stevens