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Grace Potter is a singer and musician who fronts the band the Nocturnals. She also sang on the hit duet "You and Tequila" with country singer Kenny Chesney.
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Born on June 20, 1983, in Waitsfield, Vermont, Grace Potter became the lead singer of the Nocturnals while attending St. Lawrence University. The band self-released two albums before signing with Hollywood Records, and had three full-length studio albums with the label by 2012. The group is known for the song "Paris (Ooh La La)," featuring Potter's vocals. Potter also had a hit duet with Kenny Chesney, "You and Tequila."
"Any time you write a song, you kind of know what you want from it. You know what you're getting from it. I know I like to write thinking about my band and my band's situation. So it's a surprise, and usually a pleasant surprise, to see what other artists do with your work once they get their hands on it."
"The longevity of a band is really contingent on loving the people that you're making music with and being able to get along in the long run. It's just like being married, except you're married to more than one person!"
"Having other people playing with you, believing in you and counting on you is reason enough to keep plowing on in this crazy world of music."
"My favorite thing about the live show is the energy of the crowd and the swell of the music overtaking me to the point that I forget everything else in the world... ."
Grace Potter was born on June 20, 1983, in Waitsfield, Vermont. She learned to play piano from her mother and sang in school choirs, later citing musical influences that include Madonna, Michael Jackson and Kurt Cobain. Potter also performed in regional theater festivals, starring in productions like The Pirates of Penzance and Cabaret. She took part in the college-residency program Governors Institute for the Arts before attending St. Lawrence University in 2002.
While in college, Potter met drummer Matt Burr at an open-mic performance. Joined by bassist Courtright Beard and guitarist Scott Tournet, they would form the Nocturnals, named in honor of the late hour at which the musicians practiced. With Beard eventually replaced by Bryan Dondero, the band released its debut album, Original Soul in 2004 on its own label, Ragged Company. The music scene took notice. Though approached by record label executives for potential deals, the band continued to do its own thing, touring continuously to build buzz and releasing its second album, Nothing But the Water, in 2005. Potter and the group then decided to sign with Hollywood Records, and released the album This Is Somewhere in 2007, with live albums to follow.
In 2010, the group, which had new members Catherine Popper and Benny Turco, dropped a self-titled album featuring the singles "Tiny Light" and "Paris (Ooh La La)," both of which showcased Potter's passionate, powerhouse rock vocals. The album, featuring production by Mark Batson, also offered a glossier sound and racier imagery.
"Some fans defended it and some were really upset about it," Potter said in an interview with Men's Health regarding the album's sexual overtones, which she sees as full of wit and humor. "And I really want that discussion to continue, because I think it's fascinating that with a woman, that's something that everyone notices. But if Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler, Robert Plant or Rod Stewart decide to amp up their look for the night, it's not like they'll get an inbox full of complaints."
In 2010, Potter sang on the VH1 Divas Salute the Troops performance, where she wielded her guitar in a shimmy minidress in the spirit of Tina Turner and later was joined onstage by the rock duo Heart (Ann and Nancy Wilson). The following year, Potter had a major country hit with Kenny Chesney on "You and Tequila," a ballad that ties a painful romance to the lure of alcohol. Potter and the band also started the Grand Point North Festival, a Vermont-based musical event that featured local acts.
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