Musicheads Essential Artist: Laura Jane Grace

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Laura Jane Grace
Laura Jane Grace - Stay Alive (Polyvinyl Records)
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Laura Jane Grace is a musician, activist, memoirist, and a Musicheads Essential artist.

Best known as the frontwoman of Against Me!, Grace has been a formidable player in the punk rock community since the late '90s. She joined her first band at the age of 13 with members of her youth group at church, and spent her early teen years covering Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Dropping out of high school at the age of 17 to pursue a musical career, Grace recorded the first Against Me! demo tape in 1996.

Grace spent a few years solidifying the Against Me! lineup and the band saw a steady rise to success in the early aughts. In 2005, the band saw their first chart success with Searching for a Former Clarity and hit the road for a headlining tour.

As Against Me! became more successful, Grace began to feel more and more alienated from the male-dominated punk scene. Themes of gender dysphoria began surfacing in the songs she wrote, as in "The Ocean" from New Wave, the band's 2007 major label debut.

In 2012, after finding courage and inspiration in a conversation she had with a transgender fan, Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender herself. In 2016, Against Me! released Transgender Dysphoria Blues, a concept album Grace wrote about a person experiencing gender dysphoria: the experience of knowing your gender differs from your sex assigned at birth. Grace released a memoir that same year, documenting her life, career, and transition.

In 2018, Grace launched a solo project called Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers, marked by a debut album, Bought to Rot. As one of the first highly visible transgender musicians in the punk landscape, Laura Jane Grace has paved the way — musically and culturally — for generations to come.

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