• John Van de Mergel

Sounds | Grace Cummings, Heaven


DANG! Die stem, beste mensen. Of toch vooral de combinatie tussen wie je ziet en wat je hoort. Zéér intens, hypnotsierend en in combinatie met de video wordt het zelfs wat freaky. Waarom? Kijk en luister gewoon zelf.


Storm Queen verschijnt op 14 januari 2022 via ATO Records / PIAS


Luister ook naar: Sweet Matilda


Lees


On the majestic “Heaven”, Storm Queen instantly reveals the untamed intensity of Cummings’s voice, as well as her penchant for crafting lyrics both poetic and brutally forthright. “The chorus to ‘Heaven’ has the words ‘Ave Maria’ in it, but not because I’m religious in any way,” Cummings explains. “To me talking about God or Mother Mary is a way of labeling something beautiful that I don’t understand, something that’s not quite a part of the world we live in

 

A near-lifelong musician, Cummings got her start as a drummer in a series of high school bands whose repertoire largely consisted of AC/DC and Jimi Hendrix covers. As she began writing songs of her own, she mined inspiration from artists like seminal Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly, Bob Dylan, and Spiritualized frontman J Spaceman, as well as from the traditional Irish folk music her father often played at home. “Irish melodies are some of my favourites; they go to such dark and dramatic places,” she says. Soon after striking out as a solo artist in the late 2010s, Cummings landed a deal with Flightless Records (a Melbourne-based record label founded by former King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard drummer Eric Moore). Having attended drama school, she’s also spent much of the past decade performing in the Australian theatre, and recently played the lead role in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Joanna Murray-Smith’s Berlin. Noting her eternal fondness for Shakespeare Cummings has found her lyrical sensibilities indelibly informed by certain literary influences. “To me poems and stories are sometimes more of an inspiration than music, because they don’t give you a melody: you have to just imagine your own,” she says.

Over the years, Cummings has matched her idiosyncratic musicality with a deliberately spontaneous approach to songwriting. “I don’t really do that thing where I lock myself away and sit down at a table like, ‘Right, let’s write a song now,’” she says. “If I feel like I have something I want to write, I just get it all out in the moment.” And in the studio, Cummings remained wholly committed to following her deepest and most immediate instinct. “I’m not precious at all about recording; it just doesn’t make sense to me,” she says. “I am who I am and I sound how I sound, and I’m not really interested in going in like some kind of magician to try to make it sound any different.”

In the making of Storm Queen, Cummings reinforced the self-possessed naturalism at the heart of her artistry, ultimately distilling her vision down to its most elemental essence. “In the past there were times when I’ve let other people’s opinions affect me too much,” she says. “But with this record I learned that I’m allowed to influence myself instead of taking in anyone else’s ideas. I learned to completely trust what I see and hear in my head, and I stuck with that and just focused on creating what I love the most: something real and raw and ugly and beautiful.”


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