In the years that followed the release of her widely acclaimed 2015 album Midnight, Grace Potter considered never putting out a record again. Having endured the tumult of the breakup of her band and consequent divorce— as well as far more joyful events like a new marriage and the birth of her first child— Potter continued writing on her own, but had no intention of sharing those songs with the world. “Too many things had happened, and I needed to take a step back,” says the Vermont-born artist.
But by the end of 2017, Potter began to feel the call of the studio and soon started laying down tracks in the Topanga Canyon home she’d recently settled into with her husband, Midnight producer Eric Valentine. Unsigned and entirely free of any pressure to appease, Potter slowly carved out the songs that now make up Daylight: an album that emerges as her most emotionally revealing, musically daring, and exactingly realized body of work to date. “When I finally started writing songs again – I did it for me.”
Potter’s seventh full-length and first release for Fantasy Records, Daylight mostly came to life through a series of live-to-tape sessions at Valentine’s Hollywood studio, Barefoot Recording. Along with capturing the undeniable vocal power Potter’s previously shown in sharing the stage with The Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, and Neil Young, the album unfolds with an irresistibly vital sound birthed with the help of guests like Benmont Tench and Lucius. “Having all these incredible musicians playing live in the room with me gave the recording an urgency—like, this matters right now,” Potter recalls.
Throughout Daylight, Potter imbues her songs with equal parts aching vulnerability and unapologetic self-possession. For Potter, the making of Daylight marks a return to the unfettered creativity she felt upon first discovering songwriting. “I really dug back into the roots of my creativity. When I was 12 or 13, I would sneak away to write songs because I didn’t want anyone to hear me bearing all,” she says. “It was all so honest, because I had no awareness of how people might perceive me.” At the same time, she made use of the masterful chops she’s developed over the course of her career, a 15-year run that’s included playing nearly every major music festival (in addition to launching her own festival, Burlington’s Grand Point North. “Throughout my career, I’ve always been a bit of a tinkerer; experimenting & exploring all these different facets of who I am through music,” says Potter. “But this album isn’t an experiment: it’s a statement.”
As she shares that statement with the world, Potter hopes that Daylight’s fearless honesty might inspire each listener to embrace their own truth, in all its messy complexity. “This album is about being able to take complete ownership of your feelings, without any anger or hate or shame. And that can be absolutely terrifying— but once you get to the other side, it’s exhilarating. It’s the feeling of knowing that you’re finally home.”