Pale Waves Release Sophomore Album ‘Who Am I?’

Lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie singled out as rising emo queen.

Arts Music Triston Brewer

This article was published on May 24th, 2021

As the lead singer for alternative band Pale Waves, Heather Baron-Gracie has been recognized as a rising star not only on the music scene, but also as a role model in the LGBTQ+ community. Hailed in a profile piece from Vanity Fair as ‘Music’s Reigning Queer Emo Queen’, the songwriter has also been singled out by Pitchfork magazine as an artist “primed to become the lesbian rock star young gay girls have dreamed of since childhood.” 

With the release of her band’s sophomore album ‘Who Am I?’, Pale Waves hit #1 on the UK Indie Charts and #3 overall, establishing themselves as a group with a loyal fanbase and artistic chops. Baron-Gracie speaks candidly about her identity for the first time in public with the latest release, specifically on tracks like ‘She’s My Religion’, a song which represents a queer relationship without hiding behind the typical clichés of playful experimentation or oversexualization.

The track, which which premiered worldwide on Zane Lowe’s New Music Daily on Apple Music 1, reveals Heather’s candor and confidence, striking a chord with young people to be themselves as a transformative act of self-love – the single is in essence encouraging people to embrace the sum of all their parts and living life out and proud.

Heather and ‘Who Am I?’

Pale Waves caused a seismic shift the music world with the debut of a softer and more vulnerable approach to their sound which has been characterized as an alternative pop sound driven by acoustic guitars. Their latest single, ‘Fall To Pieces’, is an inside look into Heather’s early relationships, and the insecurities and growing pains that come with them. ‘Easy’ can best be described as an uplifting pop anthem on the transformative elements of love and what the experience yields.

First placed as ‘Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World’ on BBC Radio 1, ‘Change’ is another track on the album comprised of heartbreak passages from Heather’s friends that quickly gained traction, adding over 175 million global streams and garnering praise from Wall Street Journal, Billboard, Vanity Fair, NPR, Buzzfeed, Pitchfork, The FADER, A.V. Club, Vulture, Consequence of Sound, Paste, Stereogum, Alternative Press, NYLON, Earmilk, and many more. 

Produced by Rich Costey (Muse, Foo Fighters, Sigur Rós), Who Am I? – the coming-of-age follow-up to the band’s debut album My Mind Makes Noises reveals an ambitious and bold new era from Pale Waves, who are coming into their own and sonically creating a space for people to be comfortable in their own skin. Their mantra for self-discovery and inclusivity pushes for a spotlight on mental health, sexuality, and the power of self-love.

Members include frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie (she/her), drummer Ciara Doran (they/them), guitarist Huge Silvani (he/him), and bassist Charlie Wood (he/him) – Pale Waves made an immediate splash with their debut, hitting the Top 10 on UK Album Chart, winning the NME ‘Under The Radar’ award, making the BBC ‘Sound of 2018’ shortlist, touring with fellow Dirty Hit label mates and mentors The 1975 as well as Muse and The Cure, and appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers after a string of key performances as Reading, Leeds, Lollapalooza, and SXSW.

Listen to the album.

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