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Herriman Journal

Student songwriter receives prizes for her pains

Jun 02, 2023 11:06AM ● By Jet Burnham

Mountain Ridge High School junior Grace Waite won Most Inspirational award and second place in this year’s State Battle of the Bands open mic competition sponsored by the Utah PTA Student Leadership Commission. This was the 21st Battle of the Bands and the third year of the open mic competition.

Waite performed her original song “Marooned,” a mournful but quick-tempo song about a painful relationship.

“Everybody has sad things in their life, and I have always loved sad songs, I don’t know why, maybe I just like the depths of them,” Waite said. “I wrote ‘Marooned’ after something that happened in my life. But I think that, if anything, sad songs help you to get over it. It hurt, but I was like, ‘Hey, let’s make the most of this, let’s write a song about it.’”

Waite loves creative writing and telling stories.

“I love stories, which is why songwriting can be so fun sometimes because it’s telling the story in a way that is really easy for a lot of people to understand,” she said.

Her fingers strummed chords and plucked out notes as she sang lyrics which compared her experience to being a marooned pirate.

“I have always been fascinated with the idea of a song about pirates, and I was like, I would love it if someone wrote a song about pirates, and no one ever did,” she said. “So I was like, ‘You know what? This is a great opportunity.’”

Waite’s grandfather introduced her to the guitar, and she has mostly figured out how to play it on her own. And she’s only ever had six voice lessons. She entered the Battle of the Bands competition this year because she enjoys sharing her music. When she auditioned for last year’s competition, it was for the purpose of learning to face her fear of performing.

“I was terrified to perform the first time I performed,” she said. “I would be sitting in math class, months away from the performance, and think about it and feel sick—it was really, really scary.”

Her goal was to be able to be comfortable performing in front of an audience. She overcame her fear last year to win second place and the Fan Favorite award. She said the nervousness she felt before her performance this year was more excitement than terror.

“I think this year was more so just like something I enjoyed, I wanted to do it again,” she said. “I love the feeling of performing. I always perform original songs, and it’s really fun for me to share my music with other people. I feel like it connects people. And of course, I love the adrenaline rush I get from being up there.”

Waite said her favorite part of the competition was meeting the other performers, who were high school students from across Utah who had won their school and multi-regional events to qualify.

PTA Student Leadership Commissioner Todd Hougaard said one of the purposes of the Battle of the Bands is for students to meet other musicians.

 “They are able to become part of a bigger community when they are at the bigger events, like the multi-region and state events, so they can see it’s not just them, that there are other students that are like them, and they make friendships with the other students that are there,” he said.λ



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