Grace Carter – Riot

After “Bloodwar” comes “Riot,” literally. This era in Grace Carter’s career is gearing up to be her strongest, boldest, and most brutally honest record to date.

The soft start to “Riot,” I won’t lie, was a bit confusing to me when I first listened to the song because I felt like the name horribly misrepresented what one can expect from the song. However, the energy kept on building until she sings the first “Let the people cry” and everything started to make sense. My first response to the song was to listen to it again, and then wonder why everyone else wasn’t listening to it.

In a way, this song is about self-empowerment and could totally act as a catalyst for you to start standing up to any injustice you’ve been tolerating. It also touches on betrayal – “To think I put my trust in you / You pulled me down / No reason why.” In fact, the song gets its name from her response to this betrayal: “Oh, you started a riot / I’ll never be silent / Oh, excuse me if I get angry / It’s my right.”

The potent new single will appear on her upcoming EP A Little Lost, A Little Found. Betrayal aside, this song is a response to the racism she has witnessed growing up as a black British woman.

Carter originally penned the song in 2014, but its message remains relevant in today’s world. She said: “‘Riot’ is a song about injustice and specifically the emotional and physical injustices that black people face daily. It’s a song that touches on the literal meaning of the word but more for me, it is about the emotional turmoil and the internal riot so many black people experience.”

She then revealed that she put ink to paper and wrote the song following the brutal murder of Eric Garner, “It was written in 2014 about the murder of Eric Garner but the sad reality is that the lyrics of the song have constantly been reinforced and made relevant time and time again by systemic racism and police brutality; the horrific incident surrounding the murder of George Floyd further illustrates this.”

The horrific events that inspired the song are made evident through its heart-wrenching lyrics, “No, I don’t want to live in vain / So please don’t try to hide my pain / Oh, the time is now / It’s time for a change / You tied our hands / Let the people cry.”

“The song is about something very painful and traumatizing but it’s also really important to me to represent black joy, power and community. Music has always been a vehicle for me to speak about things that are important to me and this song is me using my voice and doing what I can do to spread a message.”