London-based singer-songwriter Grace Gillespie emerges from lockdown with “Your God’s Within”, her most intimate and profoundly personal work to date.
Previewing her sophomore EP, After The Harvest Moon, Grace Gillespie’s latest single “Your God’s Within” finds her battling a persistent and pernicious enemy: anxiety. This invasive inner conflict is felt almost immediately as Gillespie tries to calm herself, singing “breathe in, breathe out / that’s what it’s all about”. It’s not the most complex of lines, but, like Bob Dylan, it contains multitudes. On one hand, it shows how the most natural things become hyper-difficult in the throes of anxiety. But there’s also a reassuring sense of stability as she seeks solace in the simplicity of the body.
Gillespie’s voice is perfect for the duality and emotional heft of a mental health struggle. The minimalist instrumentation of acoustic guitar and hushed drums allow it to take centre stage. She sings in a soft, serene whisper as if the weight of words is genuinely fatiguing. It’s soothing, yet laced with darkness and despair.
Formed from folk foundations laid by Joni Mitchell and the early intimacy of Laura Marling, Gillespie’s songwriting is candid and confessional. An artistic open book, using music to confront difficult and often stigmatised issues, she explains: “My own struggles with anxiety served as this song’s inspiration. Its lyrics are supposed to be reassuring, yet transformed into a worry about the fragility of our bodies.”
“There is no point in battling against yourself. The only way to diminish these thoughts is to set them free and speak about them to the world. So here they are, a warning and an assurance, all at once.”