Graace knows a thing or two about self-sabotage. So much so, the 21-year-old Australian artist has written an entire EP about it. Released today, Self Sabotage was inspired by Graace’s own experiences of undermining her relationships. “I didn’t realise that I’d been self-sabotaging until I listened to the collection of songs and noticed a pattern. It was really confronting to self-reflect on that fact,” says Graace, who is based and Sydney, was born in Melbourne and spent part of her childhood in Portland, Oregon. “I found that the relationships I was in ended up being quite toxic, we would fight and there was jealousy because I wasn’t going into the relationships loving myself. When you’re not fully in love with yourself, it’s not going to work out.”
The experience of making the EP was therapeutic for Graace, who is ready to break bad habits. “Listening to the songs and looking back I realised I am so much more than that. I thought, I deserve way better than this and the only person who can change it is myself. So I’m going to do it,” she says.
The first step is self-love, and in Graace’s case: there is a lot to love. The songstress started playing classical piano when she was six and has been devoted to music ever since. When her dad gave her a guitar, amp and mic for Christmas at age 12, Graace knew in that moment she was going to be a musician. “I loved the feeling that music gave me,” she says, looking back. Now, she writes, composes, produces and performs all of her music – and it’s bloody brilliant.
Here’s why we love her…
MC: Your debut EP Self Sabotage is dropping today. How are you feeling?
G: It feels unreal because I’ve put so much work into it this year. It feels crazy that it’s finally, actually happening. I’m having a last minute freak out, where I wish I could do last minute touches. But I’ve put all of my love and work into it and it’s something I’m really proud of.
MC: How would you describe your sound?
G: It’s quite organic and electronic. When I write my songs, it’s just me and my piano. But when I produce it, I try to make it a little more vibey and dancy. I listen to music to move and I feel like a lot of people listen to music to escape, so I wanted to do both of those things.
MC: What music did you listen to growing up?
G: I loved Joni Mitchell on her guitar. I grew up listening to so much jazz music and Frank Sinatra.
MC: Your singles ‘Last Night’ and ‘Kissing Boys’ are fantastic. What is your process when you start working on a track?
G: Honestly, I just sit at my piano at night and light three candles. I play random chords and start singing melodies. I don’t enjoy being vulnerable, and I find it hard to open up emotionally and verbally to people. But the most real way I can do that is sitting at my piano and writing and singing.
MC: You really hit the big time last year with your track ‘Numb’ with Hayden James. It has nearly a million views on YouTube. How does that feel?
G: Ridiculous. So many people know the song, it’s really weird. Especially because I wrote the song in the taxi on the way to Hayden’s place. It went from me and my taxi driver to having 30 million streams on Spotify.
MC: You also toured with Flight Facilities this year. What was your favourite memory from that tour?
G: When I started out I was so scared because I really hadn’t had experience on stage at all. I pushed myself to do it. I knew it would be really daunting and I would have the worst anxiety of my life – which I did – but Jimmy was such a good mentor and taught me so much about stage presence. Now I go on stage and it feels like a second home.
MC: The documentary Her Sound, Her Story recently came out, about women in the Australian music industry. A lot of the musicians spoke about people mistaking them for the drummer’s girlfriend backstage and people not believing that they wrote their own music and produced their own tracks. What are your experiences with that?
G: That has literally happened to me. I’ve struggled with disrespect and naivety [from other's]. I’ve been backstage and had someone ask, “So who are you dating from the line up?” It’s so common. The biggest thing for me is when people ask me who writes my tracks. I write them. Women can write. And produce. And play instruments. It’s crazy to think how much we’re underestimated, but we just have to kill it and show them.
MC: What do you say to people who question if you actually write your own songs?
G: I reply really positively. I’ve had people message me saying, “I usually prefer a male vocalist, but I enjoy your voice.” I write back and say, “If you enjoy my voice, listen to these people” and send them links to my friends. It’s cool to open their eyes.
MC: Fighting the good fight. What’s next for you?
G: We have the EP launch on November 7. I’m really excited to perform live because it’s my favourite thing ever. I pretty much have my second EP done, and I have so many songs ready to release next year.
Bring it on.
Get Self Sabotage here.