25 October 2016
We first saw Gretta Ray play a private show at Sofar Sounds Melbourne in 2015, showcasing songs from her debut EP ‘Elsewhere’ to a captive, silent, intruiged audience. There was a collective feeling that we were witnessing a moment in history, the first showcase of an artist who will soon have the world at her feet.
It was Gretta, a then 16-year-old, who confidently introduced her song ‘Long Distance’ with the backstory, ‘This is a song I wrote about a long distance relationship when I was 15.’
So when we were all 15-year-olds jumping on trampolines, Gretta Ray was penning down complex lyrics mapping out the distance between Melbourne and New York; describing a relationship that was both physically and emotionally distant and turning it into a song that would later feature on her debut EP in 2016.
There are moments in life where young people do extraordinary things, and it’s easy to say, they’re an ‘old soul’ and they are ‘wise beyond their years.’ This one in particular is a teenager who has been gifted with an ability and intuition to analyse the world in a way many don’t know how, and then express it for us through her music and her words. All of Gretta’s songs elicit pangs of nostalgia and familiairty where she speaks our thoughts, occasionally with one eyebrow raised and a contagious grin across her face.
Earlier in the year, Damon Hughes gave Gretta Ray her first spin on triple j Unearthed digital radio, unbeknown to all that just 6 months later Gretta would be coined the winner of triple j Unearthed High with her song ‘Drive’, capturing the attention of fans locally and internationally. We were thrilled to have filmed and recorded Gretta playing ‘Drive’ live at Howler, Melbourne.
’Drive’ was produced by award-winning composer Jonathan Dreyfus in collaboration with Nashville-based Australian music producer Josh Barber (Gotye, Archie Roach) before being mixed by acclaimed US producer Ryan Hewitt (Sheryl Crow, Angus & Julia Stone).
Gretta Ray’s intriguing way of combining lyrical complexities that express personal feelings of love and heartache, with tongue-in-cheek facetious anecdotes, is only part of what makes this young talent so unique.
Gretta Ray’s music is ageless.
It’s exciting to ponder the musical journey of this young Australian artist, who is sitting her final high school English exam as we write this article.
Gretta Ray plays her last headline show for 2016 at The Toff on Wednesday 07 December 2016.
Tickets available here.
Words by Charlotte Abroms.