SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Lily Grace

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with Lily Grace.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

When I was little, I loved to sing & dance and at 11, I was given my first guitar. I had started having singing lessons and then guitar lessons which I loved. I began playing open mic nights across the coast and started busking at local markets with the goal to get a gig. I saved up all the money I earned and put it towards an amplifier and microphone so I could start performing gigs. I headed down to my first Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2018 and to my surprise made the top 10 in the busking competition and got to perform on mainstage to a crowd of 5000. That trip really made all the difference for me. Being so immersed in the country music community, I met so many wonderful people which really drew me to the genre. Everyone was so kind and supportive which was really magnetic and motivating as a young artist. 

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

I love music and it is so rewarding. When you perform a song you’ve written to an audience and they are attentive or singing the words back to you, that is the best thing in the world. I love it when people can connect with a song I’ve written, and I think that is a really special thing. I also have a strong support base around me that are constantly motivating and supporting me in my musical ventures. My team and my family are so kind, and they are always cheering me on which is amazing.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

My two favourite things to do are write music and perform music. I love expressing myself through the means of a song and I love connecting with an audience with those songs. My goal is to continue doing that, write my own music and have an audience that respects it. In the short term, I hope to travel to Nashville and connect with the community there. Nashville is the centre of country music and there are so many talented musicians in the one place. It would be a dream to visit. Hopefully the covid situation stays under control so I can visit. 

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

More music and more shows!! In between school and music, I have some super exciting gigs coming up which I am really looking forward to performing. I’m currently in the midst of rehearsals for my upcoming tour ‘Up Close and Personal’ which is an intimate, stripped back show where I’ll be performing a combination of both my unreleased and released music. These shows will be held on the 11th and 12th of March in Bundaberg at the Old Bundy Tavern and in Townsville at The-Ville. I’ll also be performing at ‘Roma’s Easter in the Country’ and Tamworth Country Music Festival in April. I have lots to look forward to.  

Tell us a bit about your latest release ‘The Two Of Us Meet’ and how would you best describe your music?

I am so excited for this song to be out into the world. It has been a long time coming and I’m so glad it’s finally here. I wrote this song 6 months ago and have been wanting to release it ever since. This song describes all of the feelings and intricacies of young romance. It’s a song about falling for a guy who is new to town and they have their doubts about them, not knowing their past. Even if he did everything right, she was still adamant. In the chorus when he takes her hand to dance, all those doubts go away. The girl in this story overthinks and stresses herself out; however, whenever she is with this guy, everything she once doubted disappears every time the two of them meet. The early response with this release has been incredible. In just a week, it has hit 100k streams on Spotify which is crazy!! I’m very grateful that everyone is getting behind the release. Fingers crossed it keeps climbing. 

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

I write all of my songs acoustically with just a guitar. I love song writing and I draw inspiration from things that have happened in my own life and in the lives of my friends and family. I love collaborating with other songwriters too. Normally I bring in some ideas and a melody I’m working on and we’ll go from there. On the production front, I work with my amazing production team to build the songs into what we release. We start out with an acoustic guitar track and a raw vocal and build from there. We add in our other instrumentation and then record another vocal take, harmonies and then send it off to get mixed and mastered. I work with Okay Spider Productions. They are amazing.

Success, what is the secret to it?

In my opinion it is a combination of hard work and loving what you do. The most successful artists are constantly working and showing up every day so they can improve. At the same time, for most, that doesn’t feel like work. When you love what you are doing it isn’t a chore to consistently be working at it. In my own career, I love nothing more than writing songs and performing shows. Even though I am doing these things every day and I know they are important in growing as an artist, I enjoy them, and it doesn’t feel like hard work. It’s just a matter of having the discipline to show up every day to do these things.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

The career highlight for me would have to be the Annie June tour that took place last year in July with James Blundell. On this tour, we played 3 shows across South-East QLD, two of which were sold out. It was the most rewarding experience because the crowds who attended really appreciated and respected the music we were performing. Everyone was attentive and listened to the story behind each song and really embraced both James and I which was incredible. 

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

There are so many other artists I draw inspiration from. Some of the most inspiring for me are Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, James Blundell and Maren Morris. All are brilliant storytellers who have really mastered their craft. Keith was the first big artist I saw in concert, and his guitar skills and performance on stage were incredible, and inspiring. James is someone who can get up on a stage and speak for 5 minutes and have everyone in the audience captivated. He has this charisma that draws everyone in. I aspire to do something similar in my performance. James has 40 years of experience behind him, and it really shows. Maren Morris and Taylor Swift are two of my favourite songwriters. Their approach to song writing is unique and the songs they produce are amazing. For me, I admire Taylor Swift’s work ethic. She spent so many years in Nashville learning to write songs before debuting and did everything she possibly could to promote her album when it was finally released. That’s something I really respect.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

Yes, absolutely. I have over 250 unreleased songs and a heap that I want to record. I’m going to continue writing, recording, and releasing more music and booking more shows. I’m making my debut splash in the US with this release and have been working closely with both my Nashville and Australian team to put this song out into the world. I plan on continuing working with them and getting more music released.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

Definitely still making music, hopefully with an audience that respects this music and comes to shows. I hope to move to Nashville after I graduate and spend my time meeting with all the music makers that live in the city. There are so many amazing people in that town that I want to go and rub shoulders with. I want to collaborate with other artists to write more music. Hopefully in a few years’ time I’ll have an album out and I’m booked to perform many more shows. What a dream that would be!

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

My favourite thing to do is perform live shows. I love the thrill of getting up in front of an audience to share a very personal story through a song. I love connecting with people through music and meeting new people at shows. My least favourite part is how important social media is in my career. I post every day on social media to keep my audience engaged and share what I am up too. It has been huge in growing my audience, but it takes up a lot of my time that I would prefer to spend writing music. I love connecting with people online and replying to their messages and comments but making content for social media can be stressful and time consuming. 

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

A few of my favourites are The McClymonts, Catherine Britt, James Blundell, Amber Lawrence and Casey Barnes.

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

I’m going to continue working closely with my US team and staying relevant on social media. With technology nowadays, you can connect with people all around the world just from posting which is crazy!! I’m going to continue to make content for everyone who follows me on there and work with my team to get my music out through other means whether this be radio, press or through streaming services.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

I love collaborating with other artists. There are so many people on my wish list, but I’ll mention a few that are right up the top: Hunter Hayes, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. I am a big fan of Hunter’s music, and his songs are constantly on repeat in my house. I grew up on Taylor Swift’s music. The first album I got was 1989 and from the age of 7 up until now I have been listening to her music. She is a huge inspiration for me. Keith Urban is up high on that list too. I feel like I’ve come from a similar place to Keith Urban. We are both Aussies who went down to Tamworth and then he moved to Nashville (which I hope to do too). I’ve seen Keith live a couple of times in concert and he has blown me away. His music, performance and whole aura is so inspiring!! Working with him would be a dream. 

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

To take every opportunity you get offered. There are so many occasions where I’ve played a small gig or taken something last minute and I’ve met someone important at that show. The more you are out there meeting people and getting your music in front of a new audiences,  the better. You never know who is in the crowd.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

Social media is the best place for that. Send me a message on Instagram or Facebook and I’ll get back to you for sure. 

Website: lilygracelive.com

Facebook: @lilygracelive

Twitter: @LilyGraceLive

Instagram: @LilyGraceLive