Grace Woodroofe is blessed. Not only is this six foot tall twenty year old Australian in possession of one of the finest sets of vocal tubes on the planet, this willowy individual is also a great songwriter. And seriously connected. Ben Harper produced her debut album after receiving an email about her from Heath Ledger.
She entered some demos into an Australian radio contest which were heard by LA based collective The Masses who subsequently flew her to LA. She then collaborated with Mark Eitzel of American Music Club, Carlos Nino of Dublab Collective and performer / arranger Justin Medal-Johnsen, who has worked with NIN, Beck and Gnarls Barkley.
The late Heath Ledger then sent an email to Ben Harper telling him about Grace and after she finished her studies back home in Perth she returned to LA where he produced her debut album, Always Want, over the next couple of years. She toured California supporting Harper and learnt the craft of live performance with him before scoring supports with Cat Power, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
I saw her play at the Aussie BBQ last Saturday at The Delancey. Most of the shows were happening downstairs but Grace played three sets upstairs whilst I was there. And I stayed upstairs to watch her as I was transfixed by her voice and her beauty. Her voice is honeyed and husky and her style wanders from Beth Orton style singer songwriter to Portishead trip hop and Janis Joplin blues to an incredible cover of I Wanna Be Your Dog by Iggy and The Stooges which ripped its way through the room.
Afterwards I talked with Grace and her manager and offered to do a quick photo shoot before she headed off to LA that evening so we dived outside and wandered around for 15 minutes, which is when I shot the pictures you can see here.
I haven’t heard Grace’s album yet but I’ve watched the video on her website and been listening to the songs she has on myspace. They are truly stunning, so go check them out and make a point of going to see her when she plays in a town near you. For the moment she is playing small clubs but I have no doubt the day will come when she will be playing huge venues. And she will deserve it. She is a unique.