It’s been a banner year for Grace Potter, who has too many highlights to pick just one. There were the duets with Kenny Chesney and Sharon Jones; her meeting with her personal idol, Robert Plant; the performance with Heart on “VH1 Divas”; taking the stage at Austin City Limits; and even helping formulate her own confectionary, the pistachio and red pepper-flavored chocolate bar, appropriately labeled Grace Under Fire.
She is a little more partial to one moment, however.
“I got a tweet from Rihanna,” Potter said. “What she said and managed to sum up in 140 characters was pretty wild. It was something like, ‘She’s a Victoria’s Secret model with Mick Jagger swagger,’ then something about my voice. For the record, there’s nothing ‘Victoria’s Secret model’ about me. It must be the camera angles.”
Potter has transformed from “cute rocker chick” to “blond bombshell” on the heels of her band’s fifth album, “Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.” Buoyed by hit singles “Paris (Ooh La La)” and “Tiny Light,” the disc kicked things into a much higher gear than the group had been used to, even if it took almost half a year from its release to do so.
“It was a slow burn off the top, and so unexpected and unprecedented for it to continue into this massive thing,” she said. “It appeared to be an overnight success, although, you know, it wasn’t.”
Much of the credit goes to the fact that this record finally managed to bottle what the band had been trying to sell for the past seven years, matching the energy of its live shows the act had become adored for, while getting something out there that people had been wanting for quite some time.
For the record, there’s nothing “Victoria’s Secret model” about me. It must be the camera angles.
“People were ready to hear a rock album from a girl, at least from this end — this sort of classic, gospel, soul vibe, but not Amy Winehouse or Adele,” she said. “It’s not Paramore or Evanescence; it’s definitely done in a real-deal, oldschool rock ’n’ roll setting. We wanted that all along, but it took this long to channel it into a real recording.”
As it caught on with fans, it upped the act’s profile tenfold, as evidenced by its recent history in Oklahoma City. The band appeared at the Coca-Cola Bricktown Events Center just last September in support of The Avett Brothers. Now, five months later, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals are back on Sunday, headlining this time.
“That’s how it’s supposed to go — what you always hope for, anyway,” Potter said. “We have just been lucky enough for it to happen to us.”
She’s managed to stay shockingly grounded, thanking her band for helping her reach this level — confiding that she never plans to step out on her own — and keeping her mom’s advice in mind.
“She always told me, ‘Fame is a curse,’ and I took that to heart,” Potter said. “I told her that when I was famous — because I always planned on being famous — that I was going to be the good kind of famous, the kind of person that can take the things that happen in my life and make things better.”
For her, that just involves doing what she’s doing: playing, performing and writing, in hopes that music can help in some small way. She can hardly wait to see what 2011 has to bring.
“Sharing is caring, man,” Potter said, laughing. “I’m gunning for it. This is just the beginning. 2010 was our launchpad, and I hope very much this can be the beginning of something that spreads all over the world.”