Friday, January 27, 2012

Grace Woodroofe 8.00pm tonight at The Ellington

With her uniquely warm, husky, and sometimes mournful voice, Grace Woodroofe is about to make a special mark on the music scene.

At just twenty years of age, Perth-born Grace possesses wisdom and artistry well beyond her years. Forming a bond with music as a teenager, Grace taught herself to play guitar and sing.

“I was greatly inspired by blues singers, and developed my own blues indie sound,” she says. At the age of sixteen, Grace’s demo was placed in the capable hands of Ben Harper by none other than the late Heath Ledger.

“I got an email from Heath saying ‘I think you make really honest, pure music, and I want to help you get it out there’. Heath flew me out to LA, and he organised for me to do some recordings with several producers that he thought could help me. That’s when I first met Ben.”

In the fall of 2008, Ben led her into the studio, and together across 9 days, they created her debut self-titled album. Grace had years of song inspiration that Ben helped to craft. “It started when I was 16, and I’m 20 now, so it’s taken a lot of work. This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have my heart and soul into it, and it wasn’t meant to happen. It happened because it needed to.”

Both determined and introspective, Grace explains, “Most of the songs on the album were written in my bedroom in the dark in the early morning. I put my guitar in my lap, closed my eyes and the songs just released themselves.”

With a deep, honeyed huskiness, Grace creates incredible observations of youth, love and death. “It’s definitely a dark album,” she reveals. “The songwriting is very honest on my behalf, and it’s very much written from a personal perspective. I wouldn’t know what else to write about and I do feel like I’m exposing myself. Especially when I play a live show, I feel so emotionally exhausted because I’ve just given so much of myself.”

Grace has been developing her stunning live show for the last two years. "When I was living in LA, I played in a lot of small clubs and opened for Ben on his Californian tour. I learnt a great deal and matured a lot there. I was away by myself for eight months, and pushed myself out of my comfort zone. It was so inspiring."

Grace’s time away from home was rewarded with a glowing review from LA Weekly who announced her show was ‘powerful, dynamic and striking’. She has since performed several shows, at Byron Bay’s own East Coast Blues and Roots Festival and Perth’s Ellington Jazz Club. In August 2010, Grace joined Ben Harper and his full orchestra on stage at Splendour In The Grass to play a mesmerizing rendition of one of her original songs, ‘I’ve Handled Myself Wrong’ in front of the 30,000 strong crowd.

In the words of Mr. Ben Harper himself, ‘You are not going to believe this girl’.


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