By: Shayla Lee
Being a young adult can feel beautifully monotonous. Mallrat effortlessly captures how this feels.
Growing up in the sunny Australian city of Brisbane, Mallrat (aka Grace Shaw) is a singer, songwriter, and producer known for infusing elements of hip-hop and R&B to create atmospheric electropop that is completely unique. The 20-year-old has been quickly gaining momentum outside of Australia; she is currently on a North American tour supporting Maggie Rogers and will be touring with gnash early next year.
Following her 2016 release of her debut EP ‘Uninvited,’ Mallrat released her second EP titled ‘In the Sky’ in June. Mallrat co-produced the five-song EP which she describes as “a big step up” compared to her debut. Some of her music on ‘In the Sky’ will make you want to dance and others may make you want to cry, but one theme is always present: Mallrat’s music effortlessly glitters with nostalgia and every song will make you feel something.
We had the chance to chat with Mallrat about her EP ‘In the Sky’ how her music has evolved since her debut EP, and what practices she implements to maintain balance in her life while on the road touring.
Femme Riot: I never like pigeon-holing music into a genre but your music is truly impossible to put into a genre. When I listen I can hear hip-hop, pop, electronic, and even folk elements. Who would you cite as some of your musical influences?
Mallrat: I love anything that makes me feel something! Some of my all time faves are Kanye, ASAP Rocky, Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, SOPHIE, Lorde, Florence and the Machine, Crystal Fighters, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Burial, the OC Soundtrack, Mura Masa, Kid Cudi, and an Australian rapper called Allday.
Earlier this year you released a beautiful five-song EP titled “In the Sky.” How have you evolved as an artist since the release of your first EP “Uninvited?” Can you tell us more about the EP?
Thank you! The Uninvited EP is made up of the first six songs I had ever written so even though it’s cool I didn’t really know what I was doing. In The Sky feels like a big step up, I co-produced everything and was really able to explore all the different directions each song could go in. My favourite song from it is the last track, called ‘Make Time’.
You have a gift of being able to create music that sounds airy and melodic while still addressing important issues like in your track “Texas.” In an interview with Happy Mag, you explained that the song was about “wanting someone to be well but they’re struggling.” Does it ever feel scary releasing music that is so personal? Or does it feel therapeutic?
Thanks! Writing the songs is therapeutic but releasing them is really scary. But I think I have to do it anyway because being vulnerable in songwriting is such a strength. And it can help other people heal. I hate being asked about what songs are about because it’s scary enough singing about it, I don’t want to give people context. It’s like having somebody steal your diary.
Writing the songs is therapeutic but releasing them is really scary. But I think I have to do it anyway because being vulnerable in songwriting is such a strength. And it can help other people heal.
Mental health is something that is really important to us at Femme Riot and we love hearing about how others maintain balance in their lives. As a busy musician who is going to be travelling across North America to tour over the span of a month, how do you ensure your health and well-being are taken care of? Is it difficult to maintain balance while touring?
I’ve never done tours this long before! Back in Australia I’m usually at home during the week and then just travel on weekends to play shows. But America is obviously much bigger so we’ll see how we go. I think it’s really important to love the people around you: my DJ is my best friend and our tour manager is fantastic. Eating healthy vegan food also helps! And I’m straight edge so that makes things easier. Knowing myself, if I drank and did drugs I wouldn’t be able to music as a job for very long.
You’ve performed at Australia’s largest music festivals, have collaborated with many talented artists, and have a plethora of incredible music to your name. Have you experienced an “ah-ha” moment when you realized that all of your hard work was paying off? What would be the ultimate dream for you as an artist?
So many crazy things have happened! Working with Allday and getting to know him is the most special thing for me because he’s the reason I started making music. We also opened for Post Malone when he came to Australia this year which was cool! And being able to go overseas with music is amazing, it’s a dream come true. My ultimate dream is to work with Kanye, and write and produce songs for other artists as well as doing my own Mallrat stuff.
For fans attending a live show on your upcoming tour, what can they expect from your performance?
My favourite thing about my shows is always the crowd! Wherever we go they are such a beautiful group of people.
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
Nup, thanks for asking such nice questions
More information about Mallrat’s current and upcoming tours can be found on her website. Stay up-to-date with everything 🐁 by following her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Check out her EP below!