Over the last year GRAACE has introduced herself to listeners as an artist that is ready to speak her truth. Reflecting on her struggles through love, loss and life, she has candidly written about the worries and feelings that affect her and modern day society. Citing Julia Michaels as a massive influence to her storytelling attributes, GRAACE falls under the pop realm but has a raw sensibility that Triple J fans have resonated with.
Her new single ‘21st Century Love’ over looks the ways that we meet people in modern day society and how fictitious love has become. To celebrate the new release she is hitting the road in November for her first national headlining tour. With a first show in Melbourne already sold out, and other cities selling fast, it’s proof that her honesty and self growth is connecting with people authentically.
I recently chatted to GRAACE about the modern day dating trends that inspired her new single ‘21st Century Love’, her inspiration behind wanting to be a storyteller and how she pieced together her cover of ‘Complicated’ by Avril Lavigne for her Like A Version. Check it out HERE;
TB: Your new single ‘21st Century Love’ is a beautifully penned love song that is very current and real. So with the production having quite a dreamy pop flavour to it, why did you want to take the song sonically there to represent this part of your life?
G: Honestly I feel that the production is just perfect for it because it brings that light hearted vibe to what I’m speaking about. Everyone is currently talking about the evolution of the twenty first century dating lifestyle with the incorporation of apps like Tinder.
It’s something that is pretty funny and weird to talk about as I’m baring my soul with my romantic journey so I feel like having that pop edge to it makes it a bit more light hearted and easier to talk about without everyone knowing exactly what I’m thinking all the time *laughs*.
TB: You’ve explained that the songwriting and emotions behind ‘21st Century Love’ is very true to where you are at in your life right now. So what do you think it is about modern love that has necessarily made it worse or better than how our parents and grand parents had it?
G: Personally I think the accessibility we have today is a huge factor. Also back in the day you would meet your husband or wife and then you would kinda immediately settle down. Most of the time I would feel like the woman had to give themselves fully straight away and they weren’t completely able to have their own identity.
It was more structured back then, where as now days there are no rules and everyone is doing their own thing and women have their own careers. Finding that equal medium where you’re both happy and content and not looking for anything better and more exciting is actually really hard in this current age.
TB: Oh I feel that. Tinder just sucks!
G: Oh my god, yes *laughs*! You know what though, I’ve actually never been on Tinder personally but I’m not going to lie, I have been on my friends when I’ve been travelling and it’s such a weird concept. Judging someone on a photo is so messed up. That’s not what I want to base my love life on.
TB: Your songwriting is incredible. It’s so honest and raw with such a storyteller sentiment to it. So who do you look up to as a songwriter as someone that encourages you to be so vulnerable and authentic to who you are?
G: Julia Michaels, 100%. She is incredible! I feel like she was the first woman in a while to own up to her mistakes and be so real and honest through songwriting which is so refreshing. As soon as I found her I was obsessed and she become a huge inspiration to me. She’s changing the game and one of the most talented people in the industry currently.
TB: On a contrast, ‘Have Fun At Your Party’ was a bit self loathing in parts and then a bit sassy in others. How does a song like thing come together compared to ‘21st Century Love’?
G: When I’m writing music I don’t like to categorise anything I’m doing by a genre. I’m just trying to get everything off my chest and I treat it like a massive therapy session. I think with that particular song it just came really easy to me and that was half because I wrote it without any co-writers so I think that enabled me to be super vulnerable.
TB: You wrote that song completely by yourself?!
G: Yeah I did! I was sitting at home by myself and I was in an emotional state and felt a little lonely but then I remembered I’m a bad ass bitch *laughs* so i wrote that song to capture that confused state.
TB: Your EP ‘Self Sabotage’ was a vulnerable and cathartic collection of tracks that saw you introducing yourself as a very honest storyteller. So how was releasing those stories and emotions so publicly for the first time?
G: oh my goodness, I love the metaphor of when you have an ex and you throw their stuff out and burn it after your break up as you’re way of releasing your emotions. For me releasing ‘Self Sabootage’ was a huge weight off my shoulders. Mentally it was huge for me as I had been dwelling on it for ages and had been sitting on the music for so long so I was constantly drowning myself with it which adds to your headspace a lot.
I was in that headspace for so long and finally getting it out felt like I had just thrown all my exes stuff out but it was emotional baggage.
TB: Last week you appeared on Triple J to perform on Like A Version, which was HUGE! You chose to do ‘Complicated’ by Avril Lavigne which was a bold and amazing choice. So how did you go about putting that together and making sure that it was one to remember?
G: That was definitely the best moment of my life. I definitely peaked right there and then *laughs*!
I had been thinking about Like A Version for a long time and what I would do because I knew it would be a big moment in my career, and ‘Complicated’ by Avril Lavigne always just stood out to me. When they said yes to me doing it, I was so over the moon.
I was pretty much working on that cover for three months straight. I tried so many different variations. I started it out on the guitar and started experimenting with what indeustrment I wanted to play. But then as soon as I started playing it on the piano I think it just added that extra emotional layer which made the lyrics really stand out to me, and that was a huge part of why I wanted to do that song because it’s so emotional.
TB: In November you are heading out on your biggest Australian tour yet. So with this shows coming up soon, how are you planning on bringing it to life?
G: This time around, we really want to make a bit of an effort to make every song a little bit different live. It’s so different experiencing and seeing the artist that you love on the stage and see them playing around with the song you love but still have everyone singalong.
I’m obviously going to incorporate playing a lot of my own instruments and all that stuff into the show. I really want a drummer but I’m going to do that next time as I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself *laughs*. But I definitely want to get some visuals happening as that’s a huge element of the live experience. I’m still working on it but I’m really excited to amp it up a little this time.
TB: What is one feeling/thought that you want people to walk away from the show feeling/thinking?
G: I want them to feel like they’ve just let out a huge bucket of emotion of happiness and sadness. I want to take them on that journey. I want them to be thinking about life when they walk away and reflecting on things.
TB: Over the past year you’ve done a few headline shows including a showcase at BIGSOUND last year. But you also have performed quite a bit with Hayden James for some of his massive performances. So how has being able to perform with him and play these big stages helped you find your feet in your own show?
G: I owe Hayden pretty much everything. Having that stage experience before having my own show has helped so much with my confidence. You have to have that time to screw up and make mistakes.
When I was in Flight Facilities, Jimmy would also tell me, “hey GRAACE try other stuff and do things you would be nervous to do in your own live show because at the end of the day it’s our show, it doesn’t really reflect on you”. So through that I was trying so many different things, moves and was constantly integrating things which was great. It definitely has helped me with my own shows.
TB: Your streaming numbers are huge with songs like ‘Last Night’, ‘SOS’, ‘Kissing Boys’ and your Hayden James collaboration ‘Numb’ leading the way. So where is one of the weirdest places you’ve heard one of your songs played?
G: I’ve only heard my own song like 3 times in pubic but it’s always so strange to me. The weirdest place I have heard ‘Kissing Boys’ was at my local coffee shop that I go to every single day and it came on over the radio and I was like “what the fuck, this is so weird” as I had been going there since I was 16. It was a nice weird *laughs*.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind.
G: Yes, let’s do it!
TB: I wish I could…
G: Make everyone as happy as I am right now in a relationship
TB: My pre show pump up song is…
G: ‘Black Skinhead’ by Kanye West! I listen to so much rap, it’s my escape
TB: If I could have any superpower it would be…
TB: The emoji that best describes my new single ’21st Century Love’ is…
G: The broken love heart!
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
G: I don’t mind it to be honest! I wouldn’t order it myself but I would have it if it was on the table
GRAACE Australian Tour
Friday 8 November – The Lansdowne, Sydney
Saturday 9 November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*
Saturday 10 November – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Friday 15 November – Cats Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Saturday 16 November – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Saturday 22 November – MOJO’s, Perth