Grace Gillespie is a London-based artist and producer originally from Devon, who spent much of 2017 touring as part of 4AD’s Pixx. Her sound takes influences from the folk, psych and dream-pop traditions, providing a backdrop to her intriguing vocal melodies, shifting harmonies and introspective lyricism.
Her early demo ‘Restoration’ saw her tipped to Q Magazine by Newton Faulkner and brought her to the attention of Kaleidoscope, who are set to work with her to produce her first solo releases in 2018.
Hear “Restoration” below:
Girl Gang Music got to do an exclusive Q&A with Grace Gillespie around the release of her new single. Check it out, in full, below:
GGM: Did you always know you’d be a musician?
GG: “Absolutely not. I played a fair few instruments when I was pretty young – Sax, Drums, Piano – but it never crossed my mind to be a musician. I didn’t dream of being onstage or anything like that, in fact it was always quite a struggle to persuade me up on stage! I thought I was going to be an Architect or something like that I think. I liked the way that the technical side of things curbed the abstract and created an end point or a definite finishing point. Its hard to find satisfaction in things that are continuous and can always be improved…. much like songwriting, much like life itself. Obviously this chaotic and incomplete side of things turn out to be the most interesting – but also the most challenging. Finishing a song and being happy with the end result is the most satisfying feeling ever, but very rare and often doesn’t last long. But you keep chasing the perfect song and production just to get that feeling again… Anyway – I’m getting away from the point. No, I absolutely did not think I would be a musician. I still struggle to classify myself as one now. I’m more of a songwriter I think.”
GGM: How do you get over fears or insecurities & create?
GG: “With extreme difficulty.”
“It took me absolutely ages and I had to almost cut myself off from the person I was before – which meant losing a lot of things from the past and effectively isolating myself until I created a new reality in which writing songs and performing was totally normal. I think its far better to get into these things when you are really young. I was already old (in my mind) when I starting playing guitar and writing. Already full of fears and insecurities that had to be attended to. Its not easy at all and I sympathise with anyone who battles with fears surrounding creativity and self-expression.”
GGM: What was the songwriting + production process behind this record?
GG: “The songwriting took place a long time ago. Restoration was written when I first moved to London a couple of years ago… it was a really cold winter and I wasn’t at all used to being in a big city, especially on my own! I think you can still hear the kind of empty, wintery coldness in the final track.
In terms of production, they are very simple songs. I sat down with a very nice Martin guitar that someone kindly lent me and did a couple of takes.
At this stage we are trying to keep production stuff very simple – the more exciting stuff in terms of production will be appearing later on!”
GGM: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
GG: “Hmmm. Perhaps that guitar is not my first instrument, I find piano much more natural. All about getting out of your comfort zone though, right?”
GGM: Do you think being a woman in music has affected your career? If so, how?
“I think it did a bit at the beginning. When I was going to open mics in London initially, I had to go alone (who can you persuade to come along to these things and i genuinely knew no-one in London anyway) and the practicalities were sometimes a bit off-putting. Being a woman going to a bar alone can be a bit daunting…. I actually never had any problems once I was at the event – people were always incredibly welcoming and supportive. What I did have an issue with was having to trek back through London on my own late at night. Its still scary to walk around on the streets at night, for men too I imagine, but as a female I guess I just felt particularly vulnerable. I meet women all the time that are scared walking home at night, it makes me mad that we still are made to feel like this. I try to be strong and pretend its not scary but some men still feel that they can use their physical power to make you feel uncomfortable. Anyway, I feel a lot better about it all now, but when I was a bit younger it would put me off going to gigs/shows etc if I knew i was going to have to get back on my own. ”
“So I don’t really think being a woman in music has effected my career so much, but being a woman in general life has definitely had its effects…”
Grace Gillespie’s Girl Gang Picks
“Okay. Favourite female artist right now … Crumb, Widowspeak and my girl PIXX of course. Gone back to listening to her EP – truly magical. (I realise Crumb and Widowspeak are more bands with lead-women-type-scenarios.. hope that’s okay!)”