Grace Lightman is something pretty special.
The singer started out working as a member of London psych outfit The Hypnotic Eye, before electing to go solo.
Playing tiny shows and struggling to find her feet, fate placed Grace in the path of producer and collaborator Patrick James Pearson.
The pair met in 2015 and quickly developed a close creative relationship, helping her solo material to take on renewed life.
A flurry of stellar singles underline her potential, while live shows have showcased an artist locating new strength and stellar ambition.
Grace Lightman is set to play this year's Live At Leeds festival, so we decided to catch up with her and talk Influences...
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Susanne Sundfør - 'White Foxes'
When Pat (my keys player) and I travelled to Belgium to play one of our first shows very early on, he played me this song as we waited for the ferry. We had time to kill because we missed ours...
I’ll never forget the feeling I got the first time I heard the chords change in the chorus in line with the melody of ‘You gave me my very first gun...’. I was like, woah music can change so much in one song and make a listener feel THIS excited!
It will always be one of my favourites. I like to sing along to it really loudly before going on stage if I’m lucky enough to have a green room or whatever.
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Perfume Genius - 'Slip Away'
I would have probably said a similar thing that I said about ‘White Foxes’ if I had chosen the track ‘Queen’ off the eponymous Perfume Genius album because that was a revelation the first time I heard it too.
But the thing about Perfume Genius is that he symbolises the perfect ‘artist’ to me. Each album encapsulates a theme within the Perfume Genius world so well, it’s rare you get that as well as innovative production, aesthetic, songwriting AND performance.
‘Slip Away’ is the track off the latest record that sums up my interpretation of the ‘No Shape’ album. It’s got everything and it’s so special to come across that. I aspire to be the kind of artist Mike Hadreas has created with Perfume Genius.
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Frank Ocean - 'Thinkin Bout You'
I know it’s a cliché but this is just one of my favourite songs. It made me get really into Frank Ocean’s songwriting. He has such an incredible mind. I love ‘Blond’ but ‘Channel Orange’ was a bit of an awakening for me. Again, it’s another great concept that isn’t gimmicky and is still left open to the listeners interpretation, but presented through great pop songwriting.
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The Carpenters - 'Rainy Days and Mondays'
The Carpenters have too many great songs to choose my favourite. I grew up listening to a Carpenters compilation every night to get to sleep. When writing, they have become a silent inspiration. We just end up falling into that realm of songwriting and I’m more than ok with that.
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BBC Radiophonic Workshop - 'Out Of This World'
This record is probably my biggest source of inspiration. Sci-fi from the 70s. My dad gave me this LP and I used to play it on a portable record player on stage in between songs!
The music I am currently making is totally inspired by that feeling of what people in the past thought was futuristic. It’s a very unsettling sound but it’s where I feel most comfortable.
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Live At Leeds takes place on May 5th - click HERE for tickets.
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