By LISA WHALEY
Musical talent seems to run in the Constable family — that and a bit of healthy rivalry.
“If Chelsea gets something faster than me, I’m automatically trying to do it even faster or better,” Grace Constable, age 16, said with a grin, talking about her older sister, who recently gained attention with the release of a new debut EP.
But there is also a great deal of professional respect and support in that relationship, especially as Grace gets ready to not necessarily follow in her sister’s footsteps, but to blaze her own trail.
She has already gotten to play an important part in her sister Chelsea’s new release, playing guitar, as well as drums and bass, when she was only 15.
And on Thursday, Grace, accompanied by her sister, will be helping to lead a East Tennessee State University Seminar for music students and other interested guests.
“I’m going to be teaching a class to people who are older than me,” Grace said with a touch of awe. “And I’m under the impression it’s in a pretty big room.”
Yet it’s a challenge she feels well equipped to meet.
While she has always loved music, Grace credits a couple of special moments for helping to hone her life’s direction.
“When I was around about 11, that’s when I got to play with Tommy Emmanuel. That was a really cool experience for me,” Grace recalled. “I had been listening to his music for a long time and I really liked it.
“After that, I played him one of my songs and got to hear his feedback. It was just a really cool experience.”
Like her sister, Grace began to work with Taylor Guitars, helping to provide promotional videos. It was through Taylor that she was able to attend an event in California that really sealed her musical dreams.
“Taylor flew us (Chelsea and Grace) to the 2016 California NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, to perform,” Grace said. “It was insane. We were in a huge room and there were a ton of people there.”
When a Taylor representative asked Grace to do a blues jam for an interested listener, she complied.
“ I didn’t know who it was and it was the bass player for the Rolling Stones,” she said.
Today, Grace continues to hone her craft while attending GradPoint Virtual School at home as a sophomore. Her favorite subjects are U.S. history and world history, but she always seems to come back to music and the many layers of training that can surround it.
“I have a lot of stuff that I’m interested in,” Grace said.
Asked about her dream 10 years into the future, she said, “I would like to be working as a solo artist, maybe a studio engineer and a session musician… recording and producing music, with people bringing new ideas for me to add my piece to it.”
For now, Grace is hoping to graduate early and attend Berklee College of Music for a degree in music theory.
And she is excited about Thursday’s event.
The topic of discussion will be business marketing and music, she said. “It’s important to know how to promote yourself with social media and through the right companies,” she said.
But mostly, she’s looking forward to the music.
“We’re doing some Tony Rice material and traditional bluegrass songs. We’re doing a few gypsy jazz tunes and I get to play two of my original songs.
Plus, she said, they will be performing a crowd favorite: “Sultans of Swing.”
In addition to her sister, Grace said, “I get to work with two amazing artists. Ainsley Porchak and Max Etling.
“They are wickedly talented.”