Shybaby knows how to make the most out of a bad situation, and her latest single "For Rent" is no exception.
The raucous alter ego of classically trained viola player and singer-songwriter Grace Eire, Shybaby has always been about learning to let things go and having the freedom to be as ridiculous, dramatic or emotional as she wants. "I tend to turn to jokes, laughter, or radical acceptance when something bad is happening," the artist explains. "I catch myself saying 'it is what it is' a whole lot... up until it reaches a breaking point and I’m able to make something like this out of the whole thing."
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Full of thrashing guitars and punk attitude, "For Rent" sees Shybaby injecting a bit of humor into what was otherwise "pretty dark feelings and experiences." Like any good cathartic headbanger, the song was born out of a toxic situationship with an emotionally unavailable ex that ended up leaving her feeling lonely and unlovable. "He said that he considered himself 'for rent,' since he had been hurt badly before and never wanted to care about anyone ever again (the drama), while in the next breath, he’d tell me how much he cared about me," Shybaby tells PAPER. "I love how the abruptness and ridiculousness of the bridge reflects that. It’s less about him, and more about how I have always gone about letting myself be cared for (or not cared for)."
The single arrives alongside a visual filmed in Eire's empty apartment the day after she moved out because the rent had been hiked by 40%. Making the best out of yet another objectively shitty situation, Shybaby shines in the video as a pop of color in the grey vacant apartment, rolling around on the floor in a fit of unhinged mania. Shybaby likens the video to a sort of bottle episode "or a moving portrait of that what Shybaby is," less about wallowing in your own misfortune and more about remaining defiant in the face of hardship.
"Not everything has to be so heavy-handed, serious, or expensive; Shybaby is a place to take an intrusive thought and run with it, to give myself no notes and to edit very sparingly," Eire explains of the overall ethos of the project. "It’s a diary entry but not the kind where I’m feeling necessarily very flowery with my words — more of the kind that’s so furiously scratched that it dents the paper and the rounds of the letters turn sharp, and you can’t even really read it later. It’s a cathartic release so dramatic that you have to laugh a little bit about it when you look back on it. It’s fun and loud, simple, but definitely not lacking symbolism if you care enough to look hard enough for it... which you definitely don’t need to do!"
Shybaby goes on to add: "Being seen and heard has always been hard for me (and I think for a lot of people!). Speaking up is impossible. When I can finally think of what I need to say, the words and the physical air often get caught in my throat. I’ve always been so self-aware of existing in a human body and have struggled with feeding it, taking care of it and admitting that I’m not totally invincible."
In the same way that "For Rent" reclaims some agency over her own trauma, Shybaby functions as an outlet for Eire to validate and work through whatever life throws at her and have fun doing it at the same time. "Creating the visuals and allowing myself to be deeply vulnerable and bare, but seen, has become just as important to this persona as the lyrics, the walls of sound, the fun hooks and the opportunity to be heard and hopefully felt. I do all my own styling and makeup and have so much love and appreciation for everyone who is down to collaborate and contribute to creative direction to make these things with me. (This time, one of my best friends, Kelsey Wagner.)"
Ultimately, Eire says: "Shybaby is my favorite Grace, she really does not care what people will think." Below, check out the music video for Shybaby's latest single, "For Rent."
Photography: Kelsey Wagner