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Grace Potter Opens Up About Her Miscarriage, Ending Her Marriage, and Forgiving Herself

December 11, 2019, 2:41 AM UTC

Grace Potter, the Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and actress, thought she would never make music again.

After experiencing the end of a marriage, the breakup of her band, and a painful miscarriage, Potter found herself questioning everything. 

“I was mad at music,” said Potter at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Now 34, Potter began her professional recording career at just 19. “I didn’t know who to blame…I had grown up knowing how to make music and how to emote but I wasn’t at peace with why music had chosen me.”

She took a nearly-five-year break from the spotlight and stopped making music entirely, before returning with her solo album Daylight this fall. 

“I needed time to heal and process the breakup of my band and the loss of self,” Potter said.

But she soon found that daring to express her internalized turmoil in a public setting was the key to repairing herself.

“I went through a miscarriage, and so many of us have,” she said. “I know that’s something that’s completely normal, but I only know that now.” In fact, Potter went to a women’s circle the evening she miscarried — and when she shared her loss with “a group of people I had never met before,” she discovered that more than half of the women in the room had experienced their own miscarriages. 

“I thought, maybe they happen all the time, but maybe they’re a metaphor for everything else that we don’t talk about … things like falling in love with someone while you’re already married,” said Potter, who has some experience with that scenario, too. She fell in love with her record producer, Eric Valentine, and married him in 2017–the same year she finalized her divorce with former drummer Matthew Burr.

“It’s amazing how many [similar] stories have come back to me,” she said. “I was inviting truth for myself and it made it possible for other people to come to me in a way I had never experienced before.”

Potter said these experiences and some early advice she received from her mother were her guiding forces in her decision to ultimately release new music. “My mother said, ‘Grace, fame is a curse. Find a way to be famous in small circles and be big to a few people. Trying to cover the world with your icing isn’t going to work, it’s too much.” 

Plus, she added, “I was just broke.”

More must-read stories from Fortune’s MPW Next Gen Summit:

Chanel Miller is more than “Emily Doe”
—The “blameless post mortem” and other techniques that spur innovation
Career pivots are daunting. Here’s how three powerful women made them work
—Goldman Sachs removed one word from recruiting materials and female hires soared
—Exclusive: Enterprise scion Chrissy Taylor to become car rental giant’s CEO
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