There’s no doubt music runs in Australian singer-songwriter Grace Sewell’s family. Her brother, Conrad Sewell, recently supported legend Ed Sheeran on his Australian tour – enough said. Now it’s Grace’s turn under the limelight. Preferring to be known as just Grace, she has surprised all with the delivery of her first EP Memo.
The 18-year-old Brisbane dweller was signed by RCA Records earlier this year, working closely with producers Quincey Jones, Diane Warren (Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey) and Parker Ighile (Nicki Minaj) to bring her EP to life. Setting the premise for the epic hip hop, pop infused record, is swag inducing track ‘Dirty Harry’. Much like Clint Eastwood’s gun-toting vigilante character, Grace’s smokey vocals fill you with an urge to rebel. Her Amy Winehouse-esque tonality and devil-may-care lyrics are all too enticing for the listener not be swept up in the action.
‘Feel Your Love’ is an absolute love fest for the senses and Grace isn’t shy about the outpouring. From the brassy instrumentation you almost expect an old world ballad, until the tempo kicks in and we’re reminded that there’s a lot more to Grace than simple love songs.
If Lesley Gore was still around she’d be pretty chuffed about Grace’s rendition of her 1963 hit ‘You Don’t Own Me’. The original had women everywhere screaming out to be liberated from their patriarchal ball and chains, and with her funky remake, Grace has put women’s equality back on the agenda. Featuring American rapper G-Easy, the cover showcases Grace’s sultry tone and controlled powerhouse vocals – we dare you not to belt out the chorus.
Exuding a classic bar vibe is ‘The Honey’ – that is until the beat drops and you’re catapulted into the 21st century again. The song transitions from one genre to the next with an ease that most upcoming artists would struggle to get right the first time round, yet Grace makes it seem like child’s play. Deviating from its predecessors is final track, ‘Memo (Boyfriend Jeans)’ which was recorded on an iPhone in a bathroom. The location’s great acoustics bring you directly into the room, almost as if you’re witnessing the raw performance first hand. A tender piano plays and lyrics “looked in your eyes and I knew it was over” is our first indication to her heartbreak. As the song goes on, we’re swiftly reminded that Grace’s voice is the ultimate instrument.
In its entirety the EP is a fantastic first release, it’s confident, sassy and has a real edge to it that makes you curious for the things to come from the talented musician.
Words by Nizza Munoz