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Grace Potter: 'Big bad' record company didn't order makeover

Posted by Glenn Yoder  August 14, 2013 02:40 PM

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(Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe)

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals singer Grace Potter chatted live with readers on Boston.com on Aug. 14.

The frontwoman and namesake of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals knows that her much-discussed makeover from Vermont hippie to sexy blonde bombshell might have seemed like marching orders from a record label. But that simply wasn't the case, she said during a chat with Boston.com readers today.

"There are some people who think that I don't have a mind of my own and that the big bad record company swooped in and pulled a 'Devil Wears Prada' on me," said the singer, who will perform at Tanglewood with special guest Josh Ritter on Aug. 19. "Well, folks, I'm here to tell ya that just didn't happen."

Potter said that her outfits will continue to evolve with the band's music, as has always been the case.

"When our music changes, so does our look. If you dig back through our catalog, you will notice that our 'stage look' has always reflected the sound of that particular era," she said, adding, "Our music has and will continue to change and so will our stage look."

True to her Vermont roots, Potter went local by telling readers about her favorite greasy spoon breakfast joints in the Green Mountain State. Also on the food topic, she discussed her diet while touring (arugula salad with lemon olive oil and parmesan "and PASTA!!!!").

As for plans for the Nocturnals, Potter revealed that this year they will not be keeping their New Year's Eve concert tradition alive and that the band will soon begin working on new music. Asked about the direction of the next record, Potter responded, "Our next album will take us wherever the songs do. I've just started writing, but it's a long ways off to say what direction it will take us in."

A few other highlights from Potter's chat with readers...

On often opening shows for big acts rather than headlining:
"I personally enjoy being an opening act ... Being an opening act gives us a chance to show what we've got in a very short period of time on a platform we otherwise would not have a chance to be on. The frustration comes from the fans. I have a lot of folks come up to me and say, 'Why are you the opening act' or 'why didn't you play longer?' The truth is, we are not the Rolling Stones...yet [smiley face]."

On whether collaborating with megastar Kenny Chesney stripped her of some indie credit:
"'Cred' is what you make it. You have to own who you are as a musician and follow through on the choices you make. If you're gonna do something, do it with your whole being. I loved the song 'You and Tequila' the minute I heard it and I think it did nothing but good for me and the band."

On the temptations in the music business that could cause some to stray:
"It becomes easier to stay rooted as you grow up a bit. I've had some crazy offers laid at my door -- and when you're SUPER green (and SUPER poor) those little carrots can seem very tempting, but as we've grown into the band we are today, I think those choices have become easier sometimes we take the carrot, sometimes we don't - but no matter what we do, we do it wholeheartedly because we're more confident in who we are."

Check out the full transcript from today's chat and watch this behind-the-scenes video peek inside Grace Potter & The Nocturnals' "Roar" tour, in support of their latest album, "The Lion The Beast The Beat."

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Sarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.

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Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.

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