When you've earned the approval of both Heath Ledger and Ben Harper, let's just say the stakes for your debut are set pretty high. So what do you do? In the case of Grace Woodroofe, you get a running start and leap over them. When she was a teenager the Australian singer and songwriter was discovered by Ledger, who then sent her demo to Harper. After four years writing and recording with Harper and cultivating her soulful sweet sound (think a bluesy Joss Stone mixed with Grace Potter), the now-20 year old Perth native is releasing her debut album this month. Filled with molasses smooth melodies and Woodroofe's signature silky vocals, Always Want is kind of like wrapping yourself in a cashmere blanket- cozy, comforting, and impossible to leave. Meet Grace Woodroofe below.
What musicians were you obsessed with growing up?
I was a major Beatle-maniac as a young girl. Listening to and discovering the Beatles for the first time - I found I became infatuated with the quest of finding love. At 12 years old I had never experienced it, but through the discovery of these songs and records I learned what it could be like and that's what initially drew me in. The notion that experiencing these emotions could create such art made me strive to achieve both.
How did you first start playing music professionally?
When I was in high school I kept my songwriting/singing very close to my chest and felt much too shy or embarrassed to expose it to anyone. One day I decided to take a leap of faith, record two demos and enter them on to a radio station website competition. Within a week I was invited to Los Angeles to record an album and from that point on I never looked back.
What's the most memorable show you've played so far?
It was the last show of the 2011 North American Ben Harper tour, and from the second I stepped out on stage this incredibly overwhelming feeling of joy and emotion overcame me. The lights were so warm across my face, the crowd were entirely attentive, and my band were on fire from the first note. It was a culmination of sentimentality (with it being the last show), appreciation for the experience, and total satisfaction I had challenged myself and delivered the best I could. It was possibly the greatest and most fun show I have ever played.
What is the story behind your song "Bear"?
This was the last song we recorded for the album. The Relentless 7 boys and I were hanging out in the studio, sipping on Jameson infused coffee's and (for some reason) completely riffing on things to do with bears. I sat on a chair and just began scribbling in my journal all this word play with things to do with bears - even referencing the football team. Took us about 30 minutes.
If your songs could be the soundtrack to any movie, what would be your dream film?
My biopic, obviously!