Grace Savage Q&A: 'I feel I'm creating something completely new'
Grace Savage, a two-time UK beatboxing champion and the Brit, who the Times said has 'extraordinary oral effects', is branching out into full-band music.
Pressparty caught up with the motor-mouth talent to find out more about the progress on her debut album, the Savage sound and the beatboxing scene.
For those who haven't heard your music yet, how would you describe your sound?
I would best describe it as atmospheric electronic pop, with trip-hop influences.
What acts and artists do you take inspiration from?
Growing up I was really inspired by strong female artists from lots of different areas of music such as Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Adele, Eva Cassidy, Missy Elliot. Recently I have been listening to a lot of BANKS, Kwabs, Jamie Woon and Little Dragon...and when I say ‘listening to’, I mean obsessing over...
You're working towards your debut album - when will it be released?
I have been working in the studio with the super talented producer that is, Dee Adam, writing and trying to create a fresh sound for the album. I plan to showcase to labels early next year and hope to release the album not too long after!
You are a two-time UK beatbox champion - how much beatboxing has made it into your full band material?
For both recorded production and live performance the beatboxing element has gradually become less and less prominent over the past year or so, which is a direction that I am keen to pursue for my music. Whilst I acknowledge the rare/edgy quality that beatboxing adds to me as an artist, it is only a very small part of what I have to offer and what my music is about. So in the production, there is a mixture of produced drums and ‘human’ beats that we have tried to balance in an effort to create an organic but still hard hitting sound. Most of the new material has minimal beatboxing if any at all.
However, for my live performances, I perform solo beatbox and loop station sets sporadically throughout the songs with my band and since having a drummer on board, have been working in rehearsals on refining the balance of beatbox and live drums. I use a loop station to record my beats live and sing over the top as my drummer triggers samples and reinforces the beat. Before this, I was responsible for both the singing and the entire rhythm section through my loop station so I feel now that some of the pressure has been taken off me as a performer and we now have a sound that is much bigger and stays true to the style of the production.
Is the beatboxing scene quite male-orientated? If so, how does it feel to be a successful woman in the scene?
The scene, as with hip-hop in general, is definitely more male orientated - I am very aware of the unique label that I carry by being a female beatboxer and for that reason I do feel a certain kind of responsibility to do it well. I do a bit of education work too and am sort of on a personal mission to inspire young women through my music and help them see that gender isn’t and never should be something that holds them back from doing something they want to do.
How much practice did it take to become one of the country's leading beatboxers?
I have been beatboxing for about seven years now and over those years the motivation has come and gone in waves! There was a time that I was practising solidly for two hours a day in an effort to improve but for now my focus is to become a better all-round musician and so I am working more on my singing, songwriting and loop station compositions. I would much rather be a jack of all trades and master of none. I get too inspired by too many things.
Do you feel like you offer something different in the music scene at the moment?
I do feel that what Dee and I have created in the studio and with the live set up is something completely new i.e a female beatboxer/singer fronting a live band....so yeah, that in itself is quite exciting and different, as far as the mainstream music scene goes.
You've previously played at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire as support for Newton Faulkner - do you hope to headline venues like that in the future?
Absolutely. I love intimate gigs where you can interact with the audience and really feel the energy in the room but performing on that scale as a headline act would bring with it so much emotion and sense of achievement; I’m pretty sure nothing would compare.
Watch Grace Savage in action below:
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