Student Spotlight: UI student performs songs with meaningful messages

The musician posts covers of meaningful songs to social media while working to soon produce music of her own.



Jenna Post, Arts Reporter

University of Iowa sophomore Grace Springer doesn’t let the workload her engineering major brings stop her from sharing her passion for music with her followers. With nothing more than a white guitar, a simple, bare background, and a little bit of free time, the singer and her delicate, yet confident vocals have earned her hundreds of views.

Springer has sung since she was in grade school, where she participated in her church choir. She sang second soprano in her high school choir her freshman year and started learning to play instruments her sophomore year. She began with the ukulele, which she found, among other instruments, to be a stress-reliever.

“Playing music is a release,” Springer said. “I’ve struggled with anxiety for a really long time, and picking up a guitar or playing around on a piano melts it all away.”

In college, Springer switched from ukulele to guitar and began to post covers of indie-rock songs to YouTube and Instagram, where she gained some popularity.

“I always loved singing, but I never felt I could just post me singing without instruments,” Springer said. “I needed something to add to my voice, but I never thought it would be so serious that I needed lessons.”

Springer’s Instagram account currently has 681 followers, but the singer said that while she enjoys the exposure her covers have given her, her aim isn’t to gain popularity. Instead, she prefers to convey the meaningful ideas the music presents.

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“I think people listen more when they hear music than they do to people talking,” Springer said. “When I do covers, I’m super attached to the ideas in the music, even though it’s not my own. Those are ideas I want to share.”

Springer’s favorite artists include AJR, Jon Bellion, and Mt. Joy. She said she is drawn to music that explores themes of growing up, open-mindedness, and caring for one another.

Although Springer has only posted covers so far, she plans to release original music to share her own messages. Over the course of the pandemic, she’s met other music lovers through a radio broadcasting app called Spoon, which allows users to broadcast their voices live. The friends the musician made on the app have helped her with her songwriting, she said.

So far, only close friends and family have heard her original songs, but Springer said she hopes to post one that she feels is almost complete in the near future. Her ultimate goal is to release an album, for which she plans to create her own cover art with the skills she’s learned from her visual arts minor.

“I feel like my visual art and music go hand-in-hand,” Springer said. “A lot of the themes I put into my art are intertwined with my music. I see them as separate things, but also as a package deal.”

She’s also interested in creating a music video for an original song in order to combine her visual artistry and music skills.

Springer added she hopes to one day play for small crowds in casual settings, like coffee shops or small venues, or to open for an artist with a moderate following.

“Music has always been a hobby, but it’s definitely something I want to pursue more,” Springer said, “I think releasing an album or two would be really cool.”