Interview: Amy Bell
Australia's most arresting and revealing new pop artist Gretta Ray cuts straight to the heart with her third double-single release of 2021, Cherish/The Brink (Duology Three): the latest ravishing studio creations in her bold, innovative and hook-laden Duologies series lifted from her forthcoming debut album, 'BEGIN TO LOOK AROUND' which is released now!
At just 18, Gretta famously won Triple J Unearthed High and the prestigious Vanda & Young Songwriting Award for her high-rotation hit, Drive
Talking about her album she says...
"I was having a bit of a rough time in my personal life," she reveals. "I went out and had this terrible night and this crap argument and I was just so tired of arguing... I got into the studio the next day and Dylan was like, 'How are you?' I put my head in my notebook and when I pulled it away from my face it had water all over the pages."
We got to speak to Gretta about her new album release!
Hi Gretta! Thank you for talking to ReVamp, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks so much for having me! My name’s Gretta and I’m a pop singer/songwriter from Melbourne - I’ve grown up listening to and making music, and am finally about to release my first full length album ‘Begin To Look Around’ out into the world! I’m very excited.
At just 18 you won the Triple J Unearthed High and the Vanda and young songwriter competition, what made you enter these competitions?
I was encouraged to enter both of those competitions by a number of friends of mine who also worked in the music industry - my producer Josh in particular who had known me since I was 15, was very encouraging. Those competitions made for an amazing final year of High School!
How did it make you feel knowing you won both of these competitions and did this help motivate you even more?
I felt really honoured that my work as a songwriter had been recognised in such a special way, especially considering I was so young. It definitely motivated me more, for sure. I was excited to learn more about songwriting. 5 years on from that time in my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to become a much more seasoned writer and musician, after working with so many different collaborators over the years.
You revealed that you were going through a rough time in your personal life when writing this album, did it in terms of writing help you through that rough time by writing down your feelings and portraying them into your music?
It helped hugely, more than I can verbalise. I felt a sense of urgency when it came to writing some of these songs - like I had to transform my emotions into song immediately, because I wanted to make sense of what I was going through and I wanted to process it through my creative outlet.
What was the writing and recording process like for the album, and which took the longest to write?
The writing process was super educational for me; I was working with so many different writers. Some days were super easy and others were a lot more challenging. The recording process was so much fun. I made this album with Robby De Sa, who is the most wonderful producer to work with. We got into a really good routine, and I had a lot of creative control. I really miss that time!
What was your favourite memory from writing this album?
I have quite a few, but I think I felt particularly strong and self-assured right after I wrote a song called ’The Cure’. I wrote it in London with Jonny Hockings - London was almost like a second home to me before the pandemic. I listened to the first demo on the tube a lot… it definitely helped me regain a sense of strength in myself.
If you could choose one song from the album, what would it be and why?
I feel like the song that sums up the record the best is the song that has the album title in it, which is called Paris. I’m really proud of that song. It uses the city of Paris as a metaphor for heartbreak, and I did a lot of healing from my own heartbreak when I was in other parts of the world. So probably that one!
What do you want people to take away from this album?
I want this record to validate those who feel as though things have been thrown a bit off course for them, like they haven’t really found their feet yet. These songs celebrate the idea that it’s ok to frantically change your mind about how you feel… I hope this album feels like a warm, reassuring hug!
What is next for you?
I’m waiting until things can safely open up in Australia again so I can play some shows! In the meantime, I’ll be promoting the album from lockdown and hopefully connecting with my online audience as much as possible.
You can now stream Gretta Ray's new album 'Begins To Look Around' here!