Grace had me captivated at SXSW in a way that I hadn’t been since Patti Smith was on her knees performing in her usual jeans and a perfect button down shirt at The Beacon Theater a few years ago. “Howling and growling on stage,” as Grace puts it, wearing her own hair in her face with a gray slouchy tee, leather pencil skirt and ballet flats, Grace says that she feels most like a woman while performing. There is something irreplaceable for me in inspiration when a female artist is willing to be so vulnerable that their seduction is in the music alone and they feel no need to be exhibiting themselves in a corset and heels. When Grace says that it hurts to love, you feel how genuine she is, from the depth of her lyrics to the freedom with which she wears a girly baby doll dress, even if it is the opposite of her compelling, husky Janis Joplin-like vocals.
Much like her dad, who Grace describes as someone whose guitar is like another limb, her art is a seamless extension of her life. Grace’s first album, Always Want, which Ben Harper produced, is an exposé of the painful journey she experienced when her mentor and strongest supporter, Heath Ledger, passed away. Heath had called Grace 14x when he first became aware of her talent (she was seventeen and living at home in Australia at the time). The actor left her with the words, “Only be the artist that you want to be and only create the music that you want to create.” These are pearls of wisdom that are not hard for someone like Grace to follow– she is as alluring as they come because she is exactly who she is, no makeup or coif and all.
Video Edited by Andrea Cruz.