As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Lily Grace.
Budding Australian contemporary country artist Lily Grace is already turning heads as she takes on the country music scene and releases her debut single in the U.S. At only 16, she has a blossoming music career ahead of her. With several years of stage experience already under her belt, she has performed and toured with several big names in the Australian country music scene including Amber Lawrence and Catherine Brit, Tania Kernaghan, and James Blundell. As a Cole Clark Guitar endorsed artist, Lily exhibits a natural warmth and undeniable stage presence and she cannot wait to connect with a whole new audience now in the U.S.
While balancing school and music, Lily understands and prioritizes her time while making sacrifices to allow her journey and music career to unfold. She has performed at numerous venues and festivals and is also a finalist in the Australian Country Music People’s Choice Awards in several categories including Best Female Vocalist and Most Promising Future Star. This award show will now be held in April following the postponement of the 50th Tamworth Country Music Festival. She also, just recently, took home two awards at this year’s Tamworth Songwriters Association Awards for both Country Song of the Year and Country Rock Song of the Year.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Igrew up as a little girl who loved singing, dancing and making music. I joined a singing group for fun when I was 10, and when I was 12, I got a guitar for Christmas and fell in love with it. I’ve been playing music ever since. Starting out busking at local markets, I spent my weekends singing to save enough money to buy an amplifier, so I could go and busk at the Tamworth Country Music Festival where Keith Urban started out. I loved the country people there, everyone was so supportive and kind, and I fell in love with country music. When the first wave of covid hit, there was nothing to do but write music. I sat down and began writing songs daily. I would write about things that had happened in my own life as well as the lives of my friends and family. Soon after, I began releasing music, performing ticketed shows and festivals. I’m still in school, so I balance my time between school and music. I get home from school and write songs and spend my weekends performing shows. Songwriting is one of my favourite things to do. I’ve written over 250 songs now and I love it. As my dad says I’m a part-time student and full-time musician. HAHA!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career so far?
As I mentioned above, I spent a lot of my time busking in the early years. At this time, I was performing at a busking festival here in Australia. I had all my gear set up and was singing my little heart out with an acoustic guitar. Next to me was another busker, ‘Tones and I’. Her music was a completely different style to mine and I thought it was crazy how different we were stylistically. Little did I know that 6 short months later she would break into the industry with her #1 hit ‘Dance Monkey’. She now has number one songs across the globe and has toured everywhere. It’s wild!!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
There are so many exciting things happening in my world at the moment. I have just released my latest single, ‘The Two of Us Meet’ which has been a long time coming and I am so glad it is finally out. In the last few months, I have been busy filming music videos, in the studio and at photoshoots getting everything ready for the release. The early response has been amazing. When it was released, we already had over 65 thousand streams on Spotify which is crazy!! I’m so grateful that all the fans are getting behind this track and adding it to their playlists. I am currently tied up with rehearsals for an upcoming tour I have booked which I am SO excited for. The tour is called ‘Up Close and Personal’ and it’s a stripped-back intimate show where I’ll be sharing a collection of both my unreleased and released music. That kicks off in mid-March in Australia and I am so ready to hit the road and play these shows.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like?
I love speaking with other artists and hearing their stories about the industry. I have entered the country music world in the middle of a pandemic where things are nowhere near normal. I love speaking to other artists about festivals, tours, music video shoots, songwriting and just everything that contributes to being an artist. My dream is to be a country artist and I gain so much from talking with other artists about everything it entails. They have so many interesting stories to share.
Which people in history inspire you the most and why?
My inspiration draws from artists who are hardworking and innovative. I love people who are unique with what they do, and I respect people who are driven and have worked hard for their place in this industry. I am a big fan of Taylor Swift both for her songwriting ability and for being so driven to make a name for herself. Taylor writes all of her own music which is something I hope to do too. I also admire other artists such as Beyonce and Michael Jackson for being innovative with their live performances and for working so hard on perfecting their craft. They are all amazing!!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
The majority of the songs I write are about relationships and friendships: situations that happen in my own life and the lives of my friends/family. Something I am working towards doing is writing more songs that inspire change. My brother had a disability a few years back that put him in a wheelchair. Every time he went out in public, people would stare at him which was discouraging. I wrote a bunch of songs about this and performed them at my gigs. People really connected and I thought that was a beautiful thing. I would love to release a song with a strong message behind it and share this with the world.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not burn out?
Surround yourself with people who you genuinely love working with. Everyone on my team and that I work with are fun, kind people who I enjoy spending time with. My photographer, videographer, co-writers, and entire team who assist me are all great people. When you have fun people surrounding you, it doesn’t feel like work. I get such a good time out of releasing songs — hanging out with my producers, going into co-writes, filming music videos, meeting radio presenters and going on tour. There are so many exciting things that happen, and I love sharing these experiences with a great team of people.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Have confidence in yourself — If you don’t believe, you don’t achieve. When you get up on a stage and are nervous, you never do anywhere near as good as you would if you got up there feeling confident and hyped. Self-belief is everything!!!
Fake it till you make it — There are so many stories I could share about not feeling ready to do something but doing it anyway. When I was 12, I went down to my first Tamworth Country Music Festival (the biggest country music festival in Australia). I busked on the streets amongst another 400 buskers competing for a place to perform on the main stage. Completely unexpected, I was selected to perform and had to get up in front of 5000 people. I was so scared to get up there and did not think I was ready. But I got up on that stage and sang my little heart out. I am so glad that I did.
Social media is your best friend — In current times, social media is such a powerful tool in connecting with an audience and growing your fanbase. I post everyday across my social media pages (@lilygracelive if you want to check me out 😉) and it has helped me exponentially with sharing my music across the world.
Meet as many people as you can — In this industry, everyone knows everyone. If you have a chance to go out and meet someone new, you should take it!! It makes festivals and other events so much more fun when you know the attendees.
Go to other people’s shows and watch — As busy as you may be, watching other people perform is so helpful in improving your own performance. You notice what you do wrong and what you need to improve on just by watching someone else performing.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me on my website at www.LilyGraceLive.com. I am also on all the social platforms @LilyGraceLive.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Interview by: Edward Sylvan, for Authority Magazine