GRETTA RAY

“I think part of me always knew that I was going to be a performer – I was lucky enough to begin performing at a very young age, and became addicted to it pretty much instantly!”

At just 19 years of age, Gretta Ray has had a big couple of years. Having been announced 2016’s Triple J Unearthed High winner, Gretta has since gone on to play sets at Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass. 2017 has seen her return from a stint in the United States.

2016 was also the year Gretta won the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition, on the day of her Year 12 English exam, no less. It was an accomplishment, she says, she still can’t believe happened.

“It was amazing to be recognised and credited for my songwriting, because it is something that I have been working at for years. At that point in time, Drive was the song that I was most proud of. I am so grateful to have had the support from APRA that I have,” Gretta tells RSOM.

What was an eventful day for Gretta was also a reflection on her ability to balance her studies and her role in the music industry.

“I do recall feeling a sense of pride that I was able to maintain a balance (between school and music). I intended to give both areas of my life the same amount of energy, and that night I felt like that was something that I was achieving.” 

So surely such a stellar start to a career would require a kickstart from an early age? That certainly was the case for Gretta, with many of her family also being musicians. She says music was an underlying theme of her childhood.

“I grew up playing instruments and singing in choirs, as well as going to see a lot of shows with my mum, who made sure I was immersed in music from a young age.”

At the age of seven, songwriting had become a hobby, writing what she could on her keyboard, and she admits it was a hobby she quickly became passionate about.

“I didn’t write another song until about two years later, but from that point forward I really kicked into gear and was writing little ditties whenever I got the chance to.

“I perceived songwriting as a hobby that made me fantasise about being a performer. I think the moment that I knew that I wanted that fantasy to become a reality. I think the moment that I knew that I wanted that fantasy to become a reality was during the process of recording my debut EP ‘Elsewhere’. I was in my element in the space of a studio.”

Along with songwriting, Gretta began performing at a young age and as a result has years of experience performing music in Melbourne. Having performed with groups such as Young Voices of Melbourne and If You See Her, Say Hello, Gretta believes that her experience with these groups, particularly in Melbourne, have shaped her into the artist she is today.


“Within the choirs that I have been a part of in the past, I have learnt much about myself as a musician, and also made some beautiful, talented, life long friends.

The Melbourne music scene is an incredible community, too. I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

Some years later, Gretta is known in the Australian music scene for her perfect rhyming, and use of alliteration, when writing. Despite her love of the English language; however, she admits that she doesn’t have a particular song writing process, and says this is what makes song writing worthwhile.

“A song often starts with a seed of inspiration, a concept, that I have been pondering on for a while. I will accumulate a bunch of ideas in relation to the initial idea, and then set side time to sit down with my work and construct the song.” 

And as for what she finds herself writing about, Gretta is particularly interested writing autobiographically, reflecting, rather than focusing on a narrative.

“I have predominantly written about relationships and the notion of observing the human condition. I want to write about a range of things over the duration of my career. 

[With Drive] I wanted to write a song that explored that concept of the intimate, magical atmosphere that is created in the space of a car when one is driving around with someone they love. In this song, the idea is portrayed as more of a fantasy than a reality.” 

With an abundance of songs up her sleeve, an EP and plenty more music to follow, Gretta is aiming to perfect her new music. Knowing the ins-and-outs of the Melbourne music scene, it will definitely be easier this time around, and slowly becoming a household name, she has plenty advice to pass on to up-and-coming songwriters.

Work really hard, make your own decisions about the direction of your career, seek inspiration, listen to those whom are more experienced in the industry and take their advice on board, continue to grow as a writer and person, challenge yourself but don’t become overly obsessive about your writing. Let your emotions and creativity drive your project.” 

There is no doubt that Gretta has had a massive couple of years, and that 2018 will be even bigger. Having finished off 2017 touring the country with fellow Melburnian Vance Joy, Gretta is back in the studio and is hoping to release more music in the near future.

You can check out Gretta on:

Facebook | Twitter YouTube | Website

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

 

MADDIE LUCY

“I got into music at a really young age, like I started taking professional lessons from the age of about eight. It’s been ingrained in me for a really long time I guess.”

With an extensive background in musical theatre and performance, a career in the music industry was always going to be the pathway for Melburnian up-and-comer Maddie Lucy.

The RSOM team were fortunate enough to chat to Maddie about growing up on the Mornington Peninsula, springboard diving and the release of her new single Letting Me Go. 

J: Hey Maddie, welcome to RSOM.
Would you be able to start by telling us a bit about your background?

M: “I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, in Mt Eliza. When I was really young, I was involved in a lot of different things, not just music. My sister and I did springboard diving for a while, to the point where we thought that was going to be a serious path we were going to take. I guess you could probably say I never looked at taking the most conventional path no matter what. I got into music at a really young age, like I started taking professional lessons from the age of about eight. It’s been ingrained in me for a really long time I guess. I have an older sister and a younger brother, and we’re all very musical and entertainment-based. My dad also sings and my mum sung when she was younger as well. We’ve all tried our hand at it, and we all kind of started out doing music theatre first. My sister and I did that for a really long time, we really loved it. My brother tried it and was like ‘yeah no way’.”

 

J: Do you think your musical theatre background has helped shape elements of your artistry?

M: “Definitely. I’ve been performing since I was eight, so now performing in front of live audiences isn’t really something that scares me at all. It’s more just coming into a completely different side of the music industry which is the most daunting thing for me, because believe it or not, even though they’re both music, they’re totally different worlds. It’s been a massive learning curve for me, I’ve had to be really proactive in my research and finding out how everything works. Because I’ve always had the passion for writing my own songs, and I’ve always loved folk music, but it’s always been something I had done hidden away in my bedroom, just writing my own stuff. I decided to do something with it about a year or two ago, so it’s still new to me, but coming from the music theatre side has contributed to the style I do, it’s folk/singer-songwriter, sure, but sometimes it’s a little bit quirky and I like having those really pretty sounds sometimes, or big dramatic sounds sometimes. It’s something I’ve had to try and work on too as well. In music theatre, it’s so important to speak clearly and make sure everyone understands what you’re singing, and then in folk music, it’s almost a no-no to pronounce your words right, people don’t want to hear every single little detail of your voice. Sometimes it’s nice to have that raw, untrained sound in your voice, so I’ve had to tap back into that sound I had all those years ago.”

J: Was there ever a particular moment where you realised you wanted to pursue music professionally?

M: “I think I’ve always known in the back of my head that I’ll probably never be anything else but a musician or at least in the industry. I’ve tried other things- I studied media at RMIT straight out of school. I loved it and I’ve been able to use those skills, but the office 9-5 thing wasn’t for me. I’m a very creative person and I don’t want to be locked in an office staring at a computer screen. I’ve tried lots of other things, I did consider doing a law degree for a while, but I always just came back to wanting to do music.

J: When did you begin writing your own music?

 M: “I began writing music at about the age of 15. Back then I was just dabbling in it and kind of kept it hidden from everyone. It wasn’t until the end of 2015 and the very start of 2016 when I delved right into songwriting, and really give it a good go, so almost two years ago.”

 

 

J: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?

 M: “Yeah I do! I can still play it, and I still think it’s one of the better ones. I don’t know what that says about me! It definitely needs work, but I think it has legs to become something. Maybe.”

J: Do you have a particular songwriting process?

 M: “It’s probably different with every song. Sometimes, I have lyrics I might’ve just written but most of the time it comes from me playing the guitar or piano and mucking around with melodies or tunes that sound pretty and force myself to sing along with them. Then I’ll work out if it’s not going to work, or if it’s a cool concept that I’ll start to explore.”

J: Was the process the same when you wrote Letting Me Go?

 M: “Letting Me Go was interesting. I had some lyrics for it, about three years before I actually wrote it- just some lyrics that I’d put down in the notes on my phone that I thought might be cool. Then I didn’t look at it for a really long time. I came back to it when my brother got a ukulele. I’d never really played one before, so I picked it up and started mucking around with it- it’s easy to do that. I started playing around with some chords and they sounded cool together, and something came out which was similar to what I had written down. I then realised that it could all work quite well together. It ended up being an easy one to write once I’d broken the back of it. It sort of came out after a while.”

J: What’s Maddie Lucy’s plan for 2018?  

M: “I’ve actually recorded a whole EP, just released the first single at the moment and hope to do a single launch. From there I’ll probably release another single, and then the EP. Hopefully in the meantime, people here it, and they like it.”

You can check out Maddie Lucy on:

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Soundcloud 

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra