Interviews

Get To Know Grace: An Interview With Grace Davies

So, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.

No worries m’dear!

Let’s start with a bit about Grace the person. What was it like growing up in Langho, and what was it like going from a village to a city?

The move to the big smoke was craziness! I loved growing up in Langho, I’ve lived in the same house all my life so just leaving that and leaving my parents (and my gorgeous children Charlie and Elsie) was mad – I’ve had to really grow up in such a short amount of time. Langho is such a tiny village, full of fields and sheep – so as a child it was fantastic, but as I got a bit older I couldn’t wait to move – purely because I felt there was nothing left for me there. I knew I needed to make that big step and move to where I could really “spread my wings” with my music…

Without sounding cringe! I think moving really was a big wake up call, not only financially but also just going “oh god… I’m actually an adult now”. A lot of people have that transition from childhood to adulthood through University, but I’ve known from the age of 12 that Uni wasn’t for me – so I think my independence all came at once, which was super scary! But I’m loving living here so far, London is where I’ve always wanted to be and I know now that it was such a great decision.

Now from music, to something else. I know that you have done musical theatre in the past. Is that something you’d consider for the future? Maybe a career in acting?

Yeah, I started dancing when I was 3 years old and it’s something I’ve always had a huge passion for. Then I brought in acting when I was 10 and singing when I was 11. I instantly wanted to do musical theatre for the rest of my life. I was in productions of: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I played the role of Nancy in ‘Oliver’, Glinda in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, Lily in ‘Annie’, Roxie Hart in ‘Chicago’, Michelle in ‘Allo Allo!’ – and loads more!

I always wanted to be on the West End stage and I think singing really took over at the age of 14, when I started listening to old Jazz and realised I had a “unique tone” to my voice, so the acting and dancing took a back seat. I still did Musical Theatre and Drama in college but singing definitely took over when I realised how much love I had for it. I would never rule out acting in the future. I wanted to be in Corrie when I was younger. I’m very good at “real life” acting – I still use acting every time I perform. It’s something I would definitely love to pick back up again in the future if I am ever given the opportunity.

Some rather big roles there! So what is next for Grace Davies? What are some short and long term goals career wise?

I guess my short term goals are just releasing new music and hoping that it spreads a bit further! Things are very busy at the moment, I’ve been writing, recording, and testing out my new songs at a few gigs, but I can’t reveal any plans for new music at the moment. I feel bad because it’s been almost 2 years since I released ‘Ghosts’ and the ‘MK’ EP and I’m so aware and appreciative of the support I’ve had from people since then – so I kind of feel like I owe it to everyone to release new music ASAP…

But I just want it to be perfect before I put anything new out there, so I’m taking the time to make sure that it is.
I do have long term goals in my head, but I don’t want to say it out loud and set the bar too high for myself. I’m constantly pushing myself and know where I want to be one day, but for now I’m just happy with what I’m doing, watching myself grow and loving everybody’s support – we’ll see where it all takes me.

Now you mentioned a bit about your family. I was there for your Stageit, and your mum was watching from home. Are you close with your parents? Did they have any influence on your career?

Haha – yes my mum was loving the StageIt with her G&T!!! I’m very close with my parents, I’m the youngest of 3 so I guess I’ve always been able to get away with a bit more than my brother and sister because it had all been tried and tested… Though I will admit I have tried and tested my parents’ patience on many occasions!

I lived at home with just my parents for a long time after my siblings had moved out, so we definitely became closer then. I wouldn’t say they had any influence on my career choice, I come from a very un-musical family, but they definitely influenced my work ethic. My Dad inspires me every day with how hard he works and what he has achieved in his career and that really helped me see how hard I should be working for what I want to achieve. Not for one moment did my parents try and sway me towards a different career choice.

My Dad is my number one fan, he was my roadie for years before I could drive and came with me to every gig I did. My Mum would always help me with lyrics and definitely liked to tell me when my singing wasn’t so good haha!!! But saying that, having them there at gigs when I was younger definitely made me a better performer, my Mum constantly (and to this day) saying “Grace you need to talk to people in between your songs!” and giving me her expertise on fashion for my stage outfits!

They supported me for years at home financially, letting me live “rent free” in order to pursue my career in an industry that brought me zero pence – and for that I am eternally grateful. I’m sure my Dad lost a lot more hair and what he had left went grey because of me – but hopefully one day I can buy him his racehorse that he’s always wanted and show them both that it was all worth it!

That’s really great. When I was doing my research on you, I read that you enjoy writing songs. What was it like writing your EP “My Kingdom”? And a second question I have is; Do you listen back to anything you’ve recorded? I know some artists don’t.

Writing the “My Kingdom EP” definitely did not come naturally, I worked so hard at it, writing a song is not an easy thing for me – but I’m determined. I even went to the extreme of teaching myself piano at 16 purely so I could write my own songs. I was dedicated. Writing for the EP started when I was 16 years old, though I didn’t know it was going to turn into an EP at the time.

I entered a local talent competition hosted by Reidy’s which is a music store in Blackburn. The terms and conditions of the competition were that you had to audition with an original song, so I wrote a song for it… It was over 6 minutes long… The most dreary, long winded, depressing love song the world has ever heard! But it got me into the final haha!!! As my first song, obviously it got scrapped, but the second song I wrote happened to be “Ghosts” – and following that, the title track for the EP: “My Kingdom”.

I remember writing “My Kingdom” and thinking “that’s the one” and I played it to my Mum on my piano in my brother’s room (which I had adopted as a temporary studio, unknown to him) and she thought the exact same. It was like “yep, that’s a corker” – maybe not a “hit” but for a 16 year old we thought it was pretty decent. What people don’t know (I think) is that, when I wrote these songs, I was just a child. It’s definitely hard for me to listen back to the EP because I was writing and singing about what I thought was “heartbreak” and yet in reality when I listen back to it now I’m like “ha ohhhhh you had no idea”…

It is hard to listen to, for me personally, because… It’s a bit cringe. I still love it and I’m still so proud of it because I was 16/17 years old when I wrote these songs; I organised the EP by myself, got musicians together, wrote all the songs myself, did all the artwork myself; all while I was studying for my A Levels. It’s definitely something to be proud of, but it is a bit weird to listen to because I was so young.

Listening back to the songs I’ve written recently I don’t feel embarrassed or anything like that, but then again I think my lyrics and my style have matured and got much better since then.

Well I personally love My Kingdom. I think musically and lyrically, it’s by far one of the best EP’s I’ve heard. Tell us a bit about Insomnia Music?

The best year of my life in terms of music has been spent with Insomnia Music Management. I’d met with a few management companies beforehand and just never felt a connection or felt any trust, but I definitely did with IMM – something I’ve since been told is very rare to find in a management team. I just instantly knew they had my best interests at heart and were so passionate about music in general, but especially mine.

I remember getting a notification on Twitter saying that they’d followed me, had a wee stalk and was like “OMG Janet Devlin’s management have just followed me!” … Five minutes later: “OMG Janet Devlin has just followed me!”. Turns out, Janet and my manager, Rick, were up North on one of Janet’s tours and were sat in the car listening to BBC Radio Lancashire. I just so happened to be performing my original songs live on BBC Introducing at the time and Rick had no idea whether it was live, recorded, new or old but he put Janet on a mission of finding out who I was!

I was overjoyed when I finally plucked up the courage to message Rick saying that I was in search of management and received the reply “What took you so long?” (*dances around the house*). I travelled 4 hours down south with my Dad to the IMM office to meet the team and do a little performance for them – THE MOST nerve wracking moment of my life!!! Since then I’ve been having so much fun working with them and I even took the step earlier this year to move into my first home, 4 hours down south to work daily with my management team!

Better still, I moved in with Janet who is genuinely one of the loveliest human beings I have ever met and we’ve grown so close which has been amazing. The move has definitely been hard; expensive, but also I don’t have any friends down there, so to live with someone who shares so many interests and class them as a close friend has been fantastic.

Lastly some general questions. Favourite colour?

I think anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE pink… I mean, I even have pink hair!!! And pink trainers… And pink dresses… And pink lipstick and eyeshadow and glitter and… Yeah…

Favourite food?

Ooooh this is such a hard one… I’m a real sucker for a big ass cheeseburger, BUT I was brought up on spice and curry is a big thing in my family – to the point where we have a sacred recipe that is passed around and that definitely has to be my favourite meal. My mum’s Ceylon chicken curry!!!

Favourite drink?

Chocolate Milkshake, every damn time. Though I am known amongst family and friends for my addiction to ‘Strawberry & Lime’ Kopparberg’s.

Favourite ice cream?

Got to be cookies and cream! I’m all about that Oreo life… But maybe also Honeycomb… Or Peanut Butter and Jelly??? Am I allowed three scoops? Haha!

Favourite animal?

CATS. All day, errrrday. All types of cats though, I think Tigers and Lions etc are so beautiful. Like, come and give me cuddles but don’t kill me please.

Celebrity crush?

GAH, Tinie Tempah!!!!! Big time crush, he was my wallpaper on my phone for years. And also Greg James! I can’t get through the week without listening to his radio show.

Any hobbies?

Obviously singing is my favourite hobby and also my job (which is awesome) but I love doing people’s makeup. I always play around with makeup and I’m forever getting calls off my friends asking if I can do their makeup for nights out and their prom etc etc! I also really love interior design.

I think if I hadn’t have gone down the performance route then this is something I would have done! I get it off my Mum, she definitely taught me well and Janet will admit that I took over when it came to decorating our house… Wandering around Homesense & looking at Next Homeware is definitely my weakness.

Any annoying habits?

Messing with my hair and flipping it from side to side every 30 seconds. Yawning. My management team will vouch for this. I’m not even tired or bored, yet I yawn – constantly. Saying “yas queen” to everything. Not really a habit, but my laugh is the worst thing the world has ever heard. Imagine a witch cackling sat next to Elaine Paige cracking up… Yup.

Any tattoos or piercings?

I don’t yet have any tattoo’s (sorry Mum and Dad, there is a ‘yet’). As much as I want one my parents would disown me so I’ll give it a few more years… I have my ears pierced and also got my nose pierced when I was 17, which my Mum cried at, followed by the statement ‘you won’t be able to sing anymore’ – I will never forget that. If anything it’s an extra hole to breathe through, am I right?!

Zodiac sign?

I am an Aquarius! I’ve never really read much into them but I assume the internet will tell you that they’re pretty awesome…

Biggest influences?

I grew up listening to Busted, Girls Aloud, Sugababes etc etc, and my Dad would always force us to listen to Earth Wind & Wife, Rose Royce and Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry in the car (which I’m definitely not complaining about) but I think my main influences came along when I started listening to old jazz at a young age.

Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McCrae, Billie Holiday, Etta James – their strong and captivating voices really hit me and played a big part in how my voice and tone formed.

Favourite quote?

“I have late night conversations with the moon, he tells me about the sun and I tell him about you.” – S.L. Gray

Biggest fear?

MOTHS. Me and Janet have so far been infested with lady birds which was AWFUL. We’ve had spiders big enough to pay rent, a slug in the kitchen which I’m still baffled by, and moth season is approaching. I’m genuinely petrified of the little (and also humungous) buggers.

So, yeah thank you for letting me interview you. I know it hasn’t been easy.

Hope its all okay! No no its been fine, sorry I’ve been a bit slow at replying!!!

So that was my interview with Grace Davies. One of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. This interview took so long to finish, but she kept coming back to answer even though she was busy, which was amazing.

Looking back, the ending of this sounds more like a Tinder profile. So guys if you want to impress Grace, give her a pink cat in a cheeseburger costume and a Koppaberg, whilst telling her Aquarius’ are awesome.

You can find Grace on the following links;

www.gracedaviesofficial.com

YouTube

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