The Girl with the Guitar
Though some think of her as the agile trackstar or queen of the basketball court, Grace Enger (‘20) is best known throughout the halls of Packer as one of the school’s most talented singers.
Grace began singing at the age of seven, when she acted in musicals with the Hoboken Children’s Theater. She was part of 17 productions, from Peter Pan to The Little Mermaid, but, though she loved performing, yearned for the opportunity to sing more popular music. It was not until she began taking guitar lessons in fifth grade that she was given the chance. Since then, she has pursued guitar through private lessons and continued to sing on her own.
Having grown up listening to Taylor Swift, Grace was inspired to try writing songs. At first, this hobby was merely experimental—she would write in her room, testing out new melodies and lyrics that she assumed no one would ever hear. As the years passed, though, she honed her skills and became more confident in her songwriting abilities. Now, she will post the occasional video of an original song on Instagram, and to her delight—but no one’s surprise—receive hundreds of laudatory comments.
As her confidence grew, Grace became eager to further her formal musical education; this past summer, she attended Berklee College of Music’s five-week intensive for aspiring musicians.
“I had always had a passion for singing and songwriting but I’d never really known if I was good enough to pursue it,” she reflected.
During the program, though, Grace was awarded a spot in the singer-songwriter performance on the largest stage on campus.
“That’s when I was kind of like, ‘Okay, I’m-I’m good,’” she said, laughing modestly. “It reinforced my confidence and made me realize that there was something worth pursuing.”
The experience of sharing once-private lyrics with thousands of people prompted a shift in Grace’s approach to songwriting.
“I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing because I’m still using my raw emotion,” said Grace, “but since then, I have always thought about how I can make my songs sound appealing.”
Grace’s focus on appealing to the public is not purely theoretical, as she has devoted the past few months to recording her first album, which she characterizes as “a fusion of all the genres that [she] listens to,” from acoustic folk to R&B. The album, which does not yet have a title, should be finished by late April, but will most likely not be available to the public until several months after its completion.
One of Grace’s songs that she feels particularly connected to, “My Own Worst Enemy,” is essentially a reflection of the ways in which some of her choices have come back to haunt her.
“That phrase resonates with me a lot because I feel as if I’m always self-sabotaging, whether it’s due to me overthinking or putting too much of myself into things and not getting it back,” she explained. “It’s kind of a funny concept because normally everyone points fingers at other people, being like, ‘You’re the reason for all my problems,’ but in this case, I’m like, ‘No, I’m the culprit.’”
In Grace’s life, music does not remain isolated to the recording studio, but has become a crucial element of her academic world. Whenever she is assigned a creative project for school, Grace chooses to write a song.
“It’s just the easiest way to express the ideas in my head in a creative yet natural way,” she said.
Despite her ability to weave her passion for music into her experience at Packer, Grace does wish that there were more formal opportunities for people with similar interests to explore a wider range of music.
“I wish that there was some sort of rock band program or something because we only have chorus, jazz, and strings, so something more contemporary would be really great,” she reflected.
A strong music program is at the forefront of Grace’s mind in considering where she would like to go to college. Music will remain fundamental to her life after she graduates, perhaps even dictating her future. The Packer community, lucky to bear witness to the beginning of Grace’s career, is eager to see where her innate talent takes her.