Coming down one Christmas in her early teens to find a guitar, microphone and amp under the tree, gifted to her by her father, Grace Pitts’ life’s work began without her even truly realising. Playing classical piano from an early age and singing around the house, she had an inkling that her real talent may lie with songwriting. After starting out writing folk songs she then, due to growing up “not just as an artist but as a teenage girl,” gravitated back to the piano and to new, poppier climates.
Her big break came co-writing and featuring on ‘Numb’, the 2017 track from Australian artist and producer Hayden James which quickly became platinum in their homeland. A left-of-centre pop smash, it showcased GRAACE’s silky vocals which also saw GRAACE join Flight Facilities as a touring vocalist on their 2018 “The Return Flight” tour, playing shows across Australia as well as North America, Europe and New Zealand. It was quickly followed by the singer’s debut single proper, ‘Kissing Boys’, an equally catchy bop that fleshes out a piano base with fluttering synths while still using simplicity as its greatest weapon.
It was followed by 2018 debut EP ‘Self-Sabotage’, which has garnered 30 million streams globally to date. Described by the singer as “very melancholic”, the collection sees her not shying away from life’s downsides, but embracing them and learning from them in order to become stronger. It shows her unwavering commitment to honesty in her music, stemming from her using songwriting to pull through at her lowest moments. Her father – her biggest champion – passed away when she was 14, and so every move she makes forward, it’s with the knowledge that he’s willing her along.
“The EP was useful to me,” she reflects. “It helped me to get all of those feelings and negative emotions out, and as soon as I released it, it felt like I’d taken all of my baggage and threw it and burnt it – it was a huge weight off my chest.” She describes the release of the EP as “probably the most satisfying thing I’ve done, especially for my mental health”.
This shedding of emotion has allowed GRAACE to put the past behind her and make bold, brilliant steps forwards. In her 2019 singles, ‘Have Fun At Your Party’ and ‘21st Century Love’, she cut a more hopeful figure, transmitted via huge choruses that burst out with confidence.
This was showcased when she took on a version of Avril Lavigne classic ‘Complicated’ for triple j’s lauded Like A Version series, taking the pop-punk classic and turning it into a sombre piano-led heartbreaker, fleshed out with help from a gorgeous, sweeping string section.
“Avril is the best,” GRAACE exclaims. “She completely changed music for women in that age. She reminds me a lot of Billie Eilish, who I feel like is doing similar things now. I’ve been waiting to do ‘Like A Version’ since I started making music. I was pinching myself all day, I cared about it so much.”
GRAACE’s first single of 2020, ‘Hard To Say’ featured African Australian rapper I.E, and was a touching tribute to a friend close to her heart who took his own life. Balancing delicacy and tenacity GRAACE pours her emotions out through her pensive lyrics and velvety vocals, leaving a glimmer of hope and happiness behind.
Now, in August of 2020, GRAACE is set to release some of the musical gems she’s had saved in her locker. The first of these, ‘Body Language’ takes her back to where it all began with the track produced by friend Hayden James.
GRAACE says, “I wrote this song on my loop pedal the week I got back from my trip to Thailand. It was hands down one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I was so inspired by the people there. How kind, inviting and intelligent they were to communicate with me through body language when we didn’t speak the same language.”
Drawing from her beginnings playing alone with a guitar to piano-driven solo efforts and glossier, chart-leaning pop, the next year is set to see GRAACE realise her world-conquering vision as an all-encompassing artist, flexible in her style but with a firm, vibrant personality – more simply put, as the breakout crossover artist to watch