• Holly O'Kelly

Coffee Chats with Eileen Grace

You’ve just released your huge new single ‘Rage & Wine’, tell us a bit about how the release has been?

I’m so surprised with the response that I’ve gotten! For a first release I really wasn’t expecting much, I just thought that I would put it out there and do my best. Now I’m hearing 1000 streams in the first week, which is massive for me because I’ve never done anything like this before!

It was quite nerve-racking because not only is this my first release but I’ve decided to do the publicity side of it all myself. It was such a huge learning experience going into it, as a beginner its been scary but I’ve gotten so much help from people, which has been really awesome.

I’m really lucky to know some really talented friends who have helped me out. Especially doing work through Wrangler Studios which has given me so many connections, that’s been really really awesome.

What does this song mean to you?

It’s like an apology to my childhood self, and about taking ownership over different devices and coping mechanisms I’ve used. I have written it out of a place of wanting to say sorry to my younger self for not taking care of myself then and not taking care of myself now because instead, I’m using alcohol and other bad coping mechanisms.

This is me taking ownership of that and saying “No. I’m going to change that.” because I do need to start looking after myself. This is me basically wishing that I could go back and know these things when I was younger, but obviously I can’t and that’s where the track comes from.

Do you have any advice or anything you want people to take away from this song?

I really want people to understand that it’s okay to be angry, but you need to try and find healthy avenues for anger. The song at its core is about rage but also about self-awareness and working toward changing the bad habits in your life and breaking the cycle.

Obviously I want people to take away from the song whatever they want to, and of course, I know these things when I listen to it because it’s how I felt when I wrote it. But it is very much just about acceptance and okayness with being angry.

A lot of what I use songwriting for is to understand my thoughts and feelings and things that I have gone through in the past. Trying to get that down on paper and then seeing that maybe it’s not all that horrible or just feeling better now that it’s out there.

Tell us about what difference moving to Melbourne made to your music

I actually was travelling a lot before I moved to Melbourne. I travelled around New Zealand and did a little bit of music there, and I backpacked through Asia. As I was travelling I decided that I really wanted to do something with my music.

When I went back home to Perth, its quite small there and its really hard to get into the music industry if you don’t already have half your foot in the door. Then I moved to Melbourne, and the difference was spectacular. The amount of opportunities that have arisen since coming here is crazy.

I met Dean and Brit from moving in with them from Fairyfloss, so out of nowhere really, and they own the studio (Wrangler) and I ended up working at the studio and doing recording and meeting all these amazing people from throughout the music industry through that. It blows my mind what a huge difference just moving house made. When I first moved to Melbourne I moved to someplace in Coburg and had no idea what I was doing and then I happened upon this house and these people and its incredible!

You have a lot of classic inspirations, tell us about some of the artists that have inspired you as a musician.

My music taste has really varied over the years, but then when it came to wanting to create my own music, it had a lot to do with one of my close friends who I started music with back in Perth. They liked really classic stuff, and then I looked into it more and it really resonated with me. Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, all these intense and passionate female singers.

Especially Nina Simone, shes my absolute idol. What she did in her time as a musician and as a black woman in that time is just incredible. What she achieved through music is incredible. I could go on about her for ages, she’s just the best.

It was really the fact that these female singers, especially in a time where lead female singers don’t get taken very seriously and cop all the ‘you’re not as good as the male singers’, still came out and were so passionate and so strong. I think its really important to try and take that on board. We still live in such a male-run world in the music industry. I adore those artists so much and listen to them as a reminder that you can be a strong female singer and be successful.

Another artist that I adore is Nora Jones, and that’s different again because shes not this massive soul singer, she’s got quite a folk-jazz vibe to her. She was the first artist I ever sang in my singing lessons. There was just something in her style, she’s so unique and her style is so unique to her and I really loved that. Thats something I really wanted to take on. Music with lots of inspirations. I like to think theres some blues, some rock, some jazz and some folk sounds in there as well for my music.

Between all the promotion being quiet and the clips I had seen of you prior to the single, I wasn’t expecting the track to be so huge and rock!

Yeah! I think I like that because especially being a female singer, everyone expects a soft pretty, acoustic voice. So what I was really looking forward to with this song was the whole “They’re not gonna know, they’re not gonna see this coming, I’m not gonna let it slip that I have these massive vocals!” I only ever posted like the pretty cute stuff.

Who are some of your favourite Aussie musicians?

There is one band that I absolutely adore they’re called Grevious Bodily Calm and they’re an experimental jazz band, quite similar vibes to Snarky Puppy. I went to my local pub back in Perth and they played and I was just completely in awe. I recommend them to absolutely everyone!

The Grogans are the sweetest people ever, and their music is so catchy and so good! They played at Wrangler a few times and I just have to mention them they’re great.

When I lived in Sydney I went and saw Cub Sport during their Come On Mess Me Up days, and I don’t listen to their music that much anymore but I admire and adore how much they have grown. That’s something I’d love to take on from their band, they’ve developed their sound and grown so much as a band and as people so incredibly. Such a great Aussie band, and a great queer band that I absolutely adore. They’re one band that proves that you can really put yourself out there and grow from it.

We’ve seen some videos of you learning how to skate! Tell us about that and how you’ve been spending your iso time?

The skateboarding has a lot to do with moving in with Dean. I was like “I’ll give it a go!” and then fell every time I was on it, but then completely fell in love with skateboarding anyway. When I went back to Perth a group of my girlfriends all skateboarded and they were like “Come along with us!” and I didn’t have any shoes or a skateboard, so I borrowed some old shoes and a board and it was my second time ever skateboarding and I broke my wrist! The board slipped out from underneath me, and then everyone was like “you should probably stop skateboarding!” and I was like no no, I’m gonna keep doing it. I think it’s so much fun, and I like sharing my growth.

I’ve also been embroidering! As a side project I also embroider. I actually am in the middle of embroidering my own merch! I’m making little patches that people can sew onto their jackets and stuff. I’ve got 4 so far, I’m going to run some comps and stuff I think for these.

Are you a coffee or tea person? How do you take your drink of choice?

I never used to be a coffee person, but always a soy flat white. I’ve just gotten back into my teas, right now I’ve got a lemon and ginger tea with honey in it! I used to drink so much earl grey and breakfast tea. Then when I moved in here, we got really bad with coffee! We drink SO MUCH coffee! We go through one of those huge jars in like 4 days. I can’t stop! We have one of those pressed coffee pots, and everyone else will be asleep and I’ll drink like 4 coffees because it’s just so good to drink black.

Stream Rage & Wine Here

Check out Eileen Below!



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