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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Chicago singer Sami Grisafe moves ahead with music career
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 5155 times since Wed Jun 3, 2015
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Sami Grisafe launched her third album earlier this year, and it's her first solo project.

"This album is about progress both individually in fulfilling our dreams and collectively in what we can do together to inspire social change," said Grisafe, now retired from her illustrious football career as the starting quarterback for the Chicago Force to fully focus on music. "Musically, we have merged a raw, classic rock style of the past with lots of soul and modern arrangements.

"The focus of this album is about telling un-told or rarely told stories with unique narratives. The title track specifically speaks to the worldwide marriage equality movement but the over-arching message is about being the author of your own life's story. If you can't find your dreams depicted in a storybook, write them. This theme is present throughout the album. Progress is made when we stretch beyond the limitations of comfort. My hope is to provoke conversation, action and smiles with Brand New Fairy Tale."

Grisafe, who lives in Evanston, released two singles on Valentine's Day: "Tiny Victories" and "Brand New Fairytale" and a music video. She is inspired by Janis Joplin and Dave Grohl, and Grisafe's music has a folk-rock feel with provocative lyrics, often incorporating additional styles such as reggae, blues and rap.

And she also plays the ukulele.

"The Wick on Wax was my first album with my first band. I wrote all of the songs on that album, but it was far from polished. We, The Wick, became a band one week before heading into the studio to record. It was a good jumping off point," Grisafe said. "The second album, ATLANTIS, was originally created as a soundtrack for a play that became a web series. It is a collaboration between myself and two other artists, Shannon Nicole and Jaclyn Rada. This was the first time I wrote songs for a specific project and worked with a producer. I learned a lot in that process, grew a ton and met my future business partner/manager, Kathryn Kuras. Our production company and record label, Vicious Muse, was born from this album. We received six Grammy pre-nominations and a lot of growing pains from ATLANTIS.

"We are applying what we've learned from the first two albums [to the third album]. This project has been carefully thought out. Every song, musician, engineer, music video, image and social media campaign has been carefully developed. We are working with an accomplished, professional publicist and have a strong marketing plan. We believe great work takes time to cultivate and as an independent artist/label, we have the luxury of working on our own time line."

Grisafe, 29, received the received the 2013 Chicago Music Award for "Best Rock Entertainer" after garnering national attention for singing her version of the National Anthem. She is openly lesbian, formerly a bartender at The Closet in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood, and noted for singing at the 'marriage equality bill signing' at the request of then-Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

"I believe in the message [on this third album], the work, the sound and the people who are collaborating with me to create it," Grisafe said. "I began working on songs for this album shortly after we released ATLANTIS in 2012. Some of the songs have been written for a couple of years and re-worked and some have been written in just the last few months. I believe people are ready for something new and that's just what we're going to give them."

The single "Brand New Fairy Tale" is inspired by the worldwide marriage equality movement and was first performed live at the March for Marriage Equality in Springfield. "Brand New Fairy Tale" features Eric Himan, a nationally touring, opnely gay singer songwriter who recently played several dates with Ani DiFranco and Leon Russell.

"Eric and I are both known for our social change-laden lyrics and we wanted to come together to spread a message people can draw inspiration from," Grisafe said. "Although the verses of the song clearly speak to the LGBTQ community, the chorus and overall concept of a 'brand new fairy tale' is about encouraging progress and writing stories that have never before been written."

The second release, "Tiny Victories," has a throwback, classic-rock vibe with timely commentary on break-ups in the Internet age. "The screaming guitar solos and raw vocals tell this modern-day, relationship-gone-sour story in the only way a song of its nature should be told, without artificial flavoring," Grisafe said.

In late March, Grisafe played at the House of Blues in Los Angeles and was interviewed by Adam Carolla. That came only a few weeks after she was spotlighted in The Advocate, alongside country singer Ty Herndon and others.

April marks the launch of the music video for "Brand New Fairy Tale" as well as a Kickstarter campaign for the rest of the album.

On June 27, Grisafe will perform with her band at the Back Lot Bash in Andersonville as part of Pridefest.

"I have spent years writing the songs for this [third] album and the last nine months polishing and fine-tuning them. I have been lucky to work with people on this album who are supportive, brilliant and honest," Grisafe said. "When I was a kid, the fairy tales I dreamed about looked different than anything I could find in the storybooks; from having crushes on girls to wanting to be a professional baseball/football player like Bo Jackson. Brand New Fairy Tale is about standing by your dreams, even if you don't have the support from others and even if there is no example of what you are striving for. Brand New Fairy Tale isn't about seeing what's been written and using that as an outline for your life. Rather, it's about having the guts to write your own life story."

Grisafe certainly is proud to incorporate the marriage equality message into her music.

"Everything we do is shaping our future through the eyes of young people," she said. "What will they learn if we give up on fighting for equality? Hate wins. I want to have a hand in changing the way people look at the LGBTQ community. The feelings of love are the same whether you are straight or gay. The youth and young adults of today are part of the most diverse generation in U.S. history and I believe they will become known as the greatest advocates for equality. We like to refer to them as the Equality Generation."

Grisafe confirmed she is close to the final draft of the story for a children's book. She said the first renderings of the illustrations for the book are "fantastic."

So what about the Force?

"My former teammates, who I call my sisters, are going to be very strong this season," Grisafe said. "They have a talented squad, [primarily] the same wonderful coaching staff and management team. I have faith they will continue to dominate in the Women's Football Alliance ( WFA ) and keep the Chicago Force legacy alive and well."

Sami Grisafe is performing Sunday, June 7, at 2 p.m. at the Landshark Beer Garden at Navy Pier. For more about Grisafe, visit .

This article shared 5155 times since Wed Jun 3, 2015
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