There’s no stopping this gem. Last year’s Unearthed High winner has been sharing her music around the world, and she’s coming home in November, having announced a run of regional intimate dates in her home state. We chat to Gretta ahead of the tour.
Hi Gretta, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with Forte. What’ve you been up to as of late?
Hey! No worries. Well, these past few months I have been travelling around the US writing new music, spending time with family and beginning to plan releasing new music in 2018.
For those who don’t know of you, or are yet to listen to your music, how would you sum yourself up?
I would say that I am a singer-songwriter based in Melbourne – I have been writing songs since I was around 7 years old and one of my favourite things in the whole world is literature and language as a whole. I just love words, and I enjoy challenging myself to phrase my lyrics in a way that allows me to include bigger, bolder words, and depict feelings about love and relationships in a way that is relatable, yet maybe has not been said in that exact way before.
While most year 12 students had their head in the books, you were juggling study with songwriting. How would you explain this time period, looking back on it?
I’m really proud of that period of time actually, and I love looking back on it. I was in a very fortunate position because I had unwaveringly supportive parents and friends, wonderful mentors, an incredible manager, and most importantly, amazingly trusting and encouraging teachers, who supported me in my slightly crazy decisions to go on tour and record new music in the middle of study for exams. I think being surrounded by such support pushed me to accomplish all that was on my plate at the time. I really wanted to do well in school as well as music; it was a high priority of mine. So, I think I will always remember that time in my life fondly, as I had the opportunity to achieve a balance between music and my education, and I like to think that I did that to the best of my ability.
We hear that 2017 has been quite the year for you, with you being able to dedicate your time to your music. What has the year so far entailed?
My band and I had the opportunity to play a bunch of festivals at the beginning of this year, which was incredible. It was particularly mind blowing to witness such large audiences singing along to the single we released in the middle of 2016, ‘Drive’. Festivals such as Splendour In The Grass and St. Kilda Festival have been huge highlights of mine. Aside from playing shows, shooting my first music video and releasing a song called ‘Towers’ as a single in March, I have been predominantly focused on writing new music, developing my songwriting, learning the ways of the world now that I no longer have the routine and structure of high school, and just being the teenager that I am. Having the opportunity to travel as well, and continue to be creative in other parts of the world has served to grow me a lot as a person. I’m enjoying time off just as much as I am enjoying working hard on new things and preparing to release new music.
Of your time spent touring thus far, have you had a particularly memorable, or favourite, performance?
Honestly, I find them all pretty memorable. I still can’t believe that I get to perform on a regular basis and have it be my job! It is where I am my most present and most content. I think St Kilda Festival still takes the number one spot on my list of favourite shows though. It was the first time people had all gotten on their feet voluntarily at one of my shows, and sung and danced their hearts out to that last song. Those kind of moments are the ones that I dreamed about as a kid, and for them to actually be happening is the most overwhelming, emotional, beautiful thing.
What’s next for Gretta Ray?
I have my first tour coming up! As soon as I get back from the States, I have a couple of weeks to settle back in before embarking on a tour around Regional Victoria. I’m so excited to play shows in places that I haven’t played in before and meet new audiences! Following on from then, I’m playing a few shows in support of Vance Joy and the Music Vic Awards, while continuing to finish writing my record.
Congratulations on all your exciting achievements up until this point and thank you again for taking the time to chat with us. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Thank you so much! I may as well add this little thing, as it’s on my mind after answering these questions – the feeling that comes with working really hard on your craft and seeing that pay off is indescribably rewarding. If you have something that you’re passionate about, do not hesitate to give it your all. The journey from that point forward is amazing.
When & Where: Karova Lounge, Ballarat – November 10, Tap House, Bendigo – November 11, Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine – November 12, The Loft, Warrnambool – November 16, Lorne Hotel, Lorne – November 17 & The Workers Club, Geelong – November 18
Image by Emma McEvoy