Gretta Ray has become one of our favorite artists here at THP. Her defining, majestic sound and hypnotizing vocals lured us in, but it’s her being a wonderful human that made us stay. If you’ve never heard of Gretta Ray, allow us to introduce you to her and her music!
Her music and voice have a way of transporting you to a different world. She makes you FEEL the emotions she’s trying to convey, and it’s heavenly. Take the two songs in her new duology, for example, ‘READYMADE’ and ‘Bigger Than Me,’ both have different sounds and meanings, but both capture and showcase the story Gretta is trying to tell perfectly through the use of poetic lyrics and her ethereal vocals. It’s like a book or movie and its sequel all wrapped up into one pretty little bow. Listen to the songs below or stream them here!
And that’s just the first duology released in what we hope is a long line of fabulous duologies! Honestly, though, we’d listen to anything she released even if it was just one song- we’d play it on repeat forever. Lucky for us, we got to ask Gretta Ray some of our most burning questions about her music, songwriting, post-pandemic, and, of course, her unbelievable sense of style! Read her answers, and fall even more in love with Gretta as we did!
Duologies are very unique in the music industry, mostly found in books, movies, and video games. Before you started this series had you already been on the hunt for a unique way to stand out from the crowd?
Honestly, I don’t think so! I started writing songs at a very young age because it always made so much sense to me that would be what I would do with my life. However, I don’t think I ever fixated on how I would present myself in a way that separated me from other artists or writers. I just wanted to be a part of the wonderful crowd of musicians that were influencing and inspiring me. I wanted to contribute, but wasn’t set on being a stand-out if that makes sense. I just wanted to sing and play.
The ‘Bigger Than Me’ and ‘READYMADE’ duo is the first in a duology series that you plan to release, how many duologies can fans expect?
As much as I would love to, I can’t say how many Duologies there will be yet! But I will say that each Duology has its own theme in the way that Duology One does – both ‘Bigger Than Me’ and ‘Readymade’ are songs that discuss my relationship with creativity, and as for the themes of the upcoming Duologies well, you’ll have to wait and see!
What do you think is the biggest overlaying theme that ties ‘READYMADE’ and ‘Bigger Than Me’ together?
I think just how much I love being creative, and living a creative life. ‘Bigger Than Me’ might be a more bold, public display of my affection towards creativity, whereas ‘Readymade’ is more about my private, one-on-one moments with it, but both of them are ultimately saying the same thing. There is a great quote by Alan Watts – “every explicit duality is an implicit unity.” That’s what my Duologies are to me.
What is your approach to songwriting? Do you source any inspiration from other art forms other than music?
I do a lot of co-writing at the moment, so my current approach to songwriting is usually listening to a producer start working away at a track whilst the other writer/s in the room and I come up with ideas for a topline. And yes I absolutely source my inspiration from other art forms as well! In fact, I would say that most of the time, my inspiration for songs comes from conversations that I have with family members or friends, or sentences I’ve read in books or heard someone say on a podcast. Profound, beautifully worded sentences I find to be the most inspiring thing for my songwriting, for sure.
And we loved the ‘Bigger Than Me’ video, how did you come up with this concept?
Thank you so much! With the concept for that music video, I really just wanted to amplify how incredibly stimulating and fun it is to make art with other people. To learn from one another and be inspired by each other’s differing approaches to being creative is one of the most rewarding things about being an artist. I wanted it to feel celebratory and full of life, and the cast did such an amazing job of executing that vision.
How were the dance rehearsals with the amount of in-sync movement happening in the ‘Bigger than Me’ video? Do you have any funny or memorable moments you’d like to share?
The dance rehearsals were a total dream! I have a bit of a dance background and it felt so wonderful to revisit that world, finally. It was long overdue. The whole week that Zoee Marsh (the choreographer) and I were doing one on one rehearsals, I could hardly stop thinking about how excited I was to meet the dancers and to work with them. When that rehearsal finally came around, I was nervous and it all felt very surreal, but the first time we did that little moment of choreography in the second pre-chorus, we were all beaming from ear to ear and were so keen for what we were about to make together. It was also just so fun to be a dance student again for a week! Those extracurricular activities in the arts were a huge part of my upbringing. Those experiences made me the artist that I am today.
Can fans expect a video for ‘READYMADE,’ if so can you give us any details? And if not, what visuals would you imagine a track like this having?
With each Duology there will be a focus track and a B-side, so with Duology One, the clear focus track is ‘Bigger Than Me’ and the B-side is ‘Readymade.’ For the most part, we’ll probably have more visuals for the focus tracks, so we don’t currently have anything planned for ‘Readymade’ in that regard, but we will be finding ways to amplify that song a bit more so it gets its little moment in the sun too.
If you could play ‘Bigger Than Me’ on any big moment in your own story, like a movie soundtrack, when would you play it?
This is such a great question. When I hear Bigger Than Me I often think about the early morning rush of being at an airport, waiting to fly interstate to play a show. The month before I wrote that song I was on tour with Mumford & Sons around Australia. Everything felt incredibly exciting; I was getting to play venues that I had only dreamed about playing since I was very young. I think the energy of that tour served to inspire the song in a big way.
With living in Australia and being able to operate life as somewhat normal when compared to other countries, what’s been the biggest relief for you creatively since lockdown has ended?
Creatively, it’s been getting to be back in writing rooms honestly. I think if I was playing shows, my answer would probably be ‘playing live shows again,’ but at the moment I’m just very grateful to be off of Zoom! I wrote a lot of songs that I really love during a very long lockdown in Melbourne last year, but they definitely have a very specific energy to them that I could never recreate. It’s been really lovely to collaborate in person again. I actually just got back from a writing camp in New South Whales, and am feeling incredibly inspired after watching my insanely talented writer friends work so hard all week.
We’ve seen some shifts in how the music industry has operated during the pandemic – is there anything from your workflow during the pandemic that you actually want to keep in your work process such as maybe working over video chat or recording at home?
The main practice that I adopted during the pandemic that I want to continue is ‘morning pages,’ which is an activity from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way that encourages you to handwrite 3 stream-of-consciousness pages every morning, as soon as you wake up. Doing this has had such a positive impact on my songwriting; I often stumble upon ideas as I’m writing that I’ll take into a session a few days later. This practice helped center, calm, and inspire me, so I’ll definitely be continuing that.
We absolutely love your amazing sense of style, what are your top three go-to brands? When shopping what kind of clothing do you think defines a “Gretta Ray” outfit?
Oh wow, thanks! Most of my clothes are from Glassons at the moment, and I recently discovered this brand Esant that I really love… The “Gretta Ray” outfit has definitely changed over time, but at the moment it’s like, a really great pair of flare jeans, heeled boots, and a crop top of some kind… most of my tops are cropped these days. Playing around with styling in this new ‘era’ of my career is something that is brand new to me and so much fun. It’s been awesome to play and experiment with different looks on shoots.
We love her, and appreciate her taking the time to talk with us! If you’re new to the Gretta stan train, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite songs of hers to get you started!
Now that you’ve met Gretta, we want to hear from you! What do you think of Gretta Ray and her duology series? Which of her new songs is your favorite? Which question & answer was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also hit us up on Facebook and Instagram!
Need more of the drip? Check out these other exclusive interviews for more!
Featured Image Source: Courtesy of DediKATed PR/ BiBi Lara Graphic Designer for The Honey Pop