Newcomer GRACE is a work of art! The 18-year-old pop/soul vocalist is considered to be one of the hottest emerging singers in 2015.
GRACE delivered her soulful voice to the world when she covered the late Lesley Gore's song, "You Don't Own Me." The song was originally produced by the legendary producer and composer, Quincy Jones, and it was a huge success. Rapper G-Eazy is also featured on the record. "You Don't Own Me" is receiving solid airplay in the United States and overseas. It is currently number one in Australia and has four million streams online.
GRACE's gravelly and raw voice is way beyond her years, which is why listeners are amazed. Although she influenced by some of the biggest names in music, GRACE launched her own individual style as an artist. The Australian native is determined to make her mark in the entertainment industry, so we should only expect great things from her in the future.
GRACE took time out of her busy schedule to chit-chat with Singersroom about her EP, career aspirations, soul music, and sharpening her skills as a vocalist. Check out our interview with GRACE!
Growing Up in Australia & Soul Music: Australia is a beautiful place to grow up; I love my hometown. At an early age, I started listening to soul music. My family, especially my grandparents, had great taste in music. My grandparents sang with a pop/soul group, Gibb Brothers, also known as the Bee Gees, so I was always around music. I heard soul music for the first time and fell in love right away. I realize soul music comes from within so you have to sing from your heart. My biggest influences were Minnie Riperton, Lauryn Hill, Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston because they sang with so much conviction. Their voice caught my attention each time I heard their songs.
Becoming a Professional Singer: I knew I was destined to be a singer at an early age. I was blessed with a special gift so I didn't have a plan B. I knew it wasn't easy but it was all or nothing for me. I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by at all.
Signing with RCA Records: I started writing songs when I was 13 years old and met my manager, Efe, when I was 14. Then, I started taking my music more seriously when I was around 16-17. On my 17th birthday, "Memo (Boyfriend Jeans)," was released. I recorded it on my iPhone and I can describe this record as organic and real. Then the single was sent to my manager, and he started sending it out to various labels in the United States. I did a showcase when I was 17 for five labels, all of them were prestigious labels. But, I thought they were not the perfect fit for me; I had to listen to my gut. When RCA watched my showcase, I knew I was going to sign with them. They welcomed me to the team, and I believe they really understand my work as an artist.
Naming the EP, Memo, and song title "Memo (Boyfriend Jeans)": I named the EP, Memo, because it's a collection of my memos, notes I had in my phone. It was stored in my phone for years, and it turned into songs based on my personal experiences. These original songs are close to my heart, and now I was just ready to deliver them to the world. I also believe the EP was a way for me to introduce myself as a soulful artist.
The single, "Memo (Boyfriend Jeans)," was written when I was 16 and recorded on my laptop with Apple headphones. It was also the song I used for my demo. The song's message was based on my friends wearing their ex's clothes after a break-up. It sounds crazy but I understand because you don't want to let them go, and their clothes is a reminder that you're still attached. You know you have to move on, but you're not ready to accept the fact that it's over.
Debut Single "You Don't Own Me": The single was produced by Efe Ogbeni, a terrific producer that has worked with Enrique Iglesias and Akon. Efe, who is also my manager, is very close with Quincy Jones and Adam Fell. Quincy listened to some of my original music, and he was impressed. And then Efe suggested that I should do one of his originals from the 1960's. He told Quincy it should be Lesly Gore's "You Don't Own Me," since she was seventeen years old when she recorded the song. The fact that Quincy loved my voice and believed that I can relate to the song, it was settled.
When G-Eazy added his verse on the song, it was needed because it added a special gloss. It was a good fit for everyone. It was so exciting because I worked with a legendary producer. When I heard the song again a few times, I fell in love with the song and Lesly because the song's message is so powerful. It was just an honor to work on an original Quincy Jones worked on years earlier. The track did so well, 4 million streams online and it's number one in Australia so I'm just excited. Lesly passed away in February, so I feel like this was my special tribute to her, and I just have to say well done.
I am so blessed that I am pursuing my dreams of becoming a singer; it just feels right. I'm just getting my foot in the door, and I already covered Lesly Gore's song. The song is also doing well in the United States. I was so inspired behind the message, and I think all feminists can relate to this song.
Musical Relationship with Efe: It's great, and we're family now. I trust his opinions and instincts because I know he has my best interests at heart. While we were working together on the EP, we learned more about each other's personalities and built that level of trust on a professional and personal level.
Upcoming Projects: Right now, my EP is available for pick-up. I am currently working on my debut album. I'm in the studio working with some great writers and producers. We would like to have the album out by the end of the year. I would also like to do some shows in Europe and the United States to increase my fanbase. It is also a great opportunity for people to hear my voice and watch me perform live on stage.