“Everything in my life, everyone I’ve ever collaborated [with] throughout my career has been the happiest accident,” Grace Potter says. She’s taking a broad look at her career trajectory. The words that come to her mind — “cosmic,” “fortuitous,” “magic” — reflect the whimsical spirit of the singer, who can count teaming up with Kenny Chesney to score a Grammy nomination and performing with legend Mavis Staples as accomplishments. She’ll check off another milestone on Aug. 14 when she releases “Midnight,” her first solo album after fronting the rock band Grace Potter & the Nocturnals for 13 years.
Right now, she’s talking about her latest thrill: opening two shows for the Rolling Stones in June. “I’m a huge Rolling Stones fan,” she gushes. “We got the call and jumped at the chance.” Although she says, “just opening for them was enough for me,” she was ecstatic when Mick Jagger asked her to select a Stones song to sing with him at one of the shows. “Of course I said, ‘Gimme Shelter,’” she says. “As my producer would say, I was scientifically designed to sing that song.”
Just a month earlier, on a whim, Potter walked into red carpet boutique Camille Flawless in Las Vegas and purchased a slinky, silver chain-mail dress. “I didn’t know at the time the dress I bought was going to be on stage with Mick Jagger, I just had a feeling I needed to own that dress,” she says. Potter remembers the designer saying, “If you wear something from me, it’s going to change your career, it’s going to change your life.” So when she booked the Stones show, it was clear what she was meant to wear.
“I think the chain-mail theme is going to show up a lot in this album release,” Potter says when discussing her evolving style. The fashion direction she’s heading in complements the “poppy, more modern” sound of “Midnight.” “If you think about the Nocturnals as a meal, it’s like farro with quinoa and superheady kale, all the things I grew up with, and then you listen to this record and there’s Starburst melted over the fire and marshmallows, and it’s definitely a confection of sounds. This is dessert.”
Not only is the self-described “ball of energy” touring and launching her album, she’s also venturing into the world of fashion, creating a collection to incorporate into her tour wardrobe. But Potter has always loved fashion, and dreams that one day the tour collection could grow into something more.
“I designed our T-shirts when we first started the band,” she says about the Nocturnals’ tour merchandise. “So it’s been over 10 years of experimenting with fabrics, colors, prints and designs…it became a passion,” she says. “I’ve spent so much money on fashion over the years…why not employ my time more wisely and come up with a design from the ground up?”
So with the help of her assistant, Alison Tavel, she considered her need for ease while performing and designed a collection starting with a T-shirt-style dress. “It should be effortless, it should be like my life on the road, which is like, I got to look good all the time, I got to be comfortable.”
The 11-piece collection consists of tops, slim-fitting skirts and leg-showcasing minidresses in flowy, printed fabrics.
But, meanwhile, she has an album to promote. “This tour is a wide open canvas I’ve never had the opportunity to paint on,” she says. “I cannot wait to just get out every color and start splashing.”