Australia's most arresting and revealing new pop artist Gretta Ray cuts straight to the heart with her third double-single release of 2021, Cherish/The Brink (Duology Three): the latest ravishing studio creations in her bold, innovative and hook-laden Duologies series lifted from her forthcoming debut album, ‘Begin To Look Around’ which will be released on August 27 and available to pre-order now.
This morning Gretta captured hearts and minds alike when she performed on Triple J’s Like A Version her latest single Cherish, alongside a stunning rendition of Gang Of Youths’ Deepest Sighs. Covering one of her favourite Gang Of Youths’songs felt like the most natural choice to Gretta given the budding creative partnership developing between Gretta and the band: David Le'aupepe sings backing vocals on one of Gretta’s yet to be released album tracks, Worldy-wise, which also features additional production by Gang Of Youths.
“Worldly-wise is one of the songs on the record that sings of a regained sense of independence, found in your surroundings. It’s written like a letter of encouragement to myself I suppose. Having Gang Of Youths involved in the song felt perfect, because while writing the album, a lot of the times that I felt like I was finding myself in the world I was on tour with that band.”
"Cherish and The Brink are probably the most closely linked in the Duologies story because I wrote them a week apart," the Melbourne singer-songwriter confides. "And obviously something happened that week. Something pretty large."
In the soul-bearing tradition of the greatest pop songs, both tracks mine her immediate experience with unflinching truthfulness and the creative empathy of co-writer/ producers Dylan Nash (Dean Lewis) and Chris Collins (Skeggs, Ruby Fields).
"I was having a bit of a rough time in my personal life," she reveals. "I went out and had this terrible night and this crap argument and I was just so tired of arguing... I got into the studio the next day and Dylan was like, 'How are you?' I put my head in my notebook and when I pulled it away from my face it had water all over the pages."
The session that followed yielded the tender flesh and bones of Cherish, "sort of a crying-in-the-club song," Gretta says; an intimate internal dialogue driven by a slow-building dance undertow. "At the time I was really mad. I think I just needed it for my pride. But when I went to finish it with [producer] Robby De Sa, I heard it as more sad; bittersweet."
One week later, brittle turned to broken in Gretta's personal life and sessions with Chris Collins felt even more raw and dangerous. "The Brink was the first song where I really felt like, oh, music is holding me right now. This is my safety net," she says. "Chris had these piano chords and we wrote the song in maybe four hours." Later that night, he sent a demo that felt like emotion made sound, from back-sliding intro to a chorus that balances lost innocence with a looming fear of the unknown. Gretta was stunned. "That sounds like how my heart feels right now," she told him. "That sounds like my anxiety."
‘Begin To Look Around’ boasts an A-list team of creatives working together to bring Gretta’s Duologies to life. Primarily produced by Robby De Sa (MAY-A, The Veronicas), Dylan Nash (Dean Lewis, Fergus James, Azure Ryder), Kyran Daniel (G-Flip) and mixed by Dan Grech-Marguerat (Halsey, Lana Del Ray, Troye Sivan) and Rich Cooper (Banks, The Temper Trap), the album will feature a series of Duologies: two songs joined in theme but creatively distinct; written from differing perspectives, released as a pair.
A wonderous and empowering coming of age record, BEGIN TO LOOK AROUND chronicles the journey of a young artist navigating the winding lanes of womanhood, romance, heartbreak, travel and friendship.
“This record is a documentation and celebration of the lessons I have learned about love, life and my unremitting passion for music as I’ve stepped into my early twenties. It is beautiful how much you change your mind throughout those formative years; things can always be seen from a different perspective, and when you’re immersed in incredible opportunities that see you travelling the world, falling in and out of love, and losing your sense of independence only for it to return stronger than ever before, it is only natural that your view of yourself and the world will be refined when you wake up, and begin to look around.” Says Gretta of her debut collection.
At just 18, Gretta famously won Triple J Unearthed High and the prestigious Vanda & Young Songwriting Award for her high-rotation hit, Drive. Two EPs, Elsewhere (2016) and Here and Now (2018) have taken her from Falls and Splendour to her first shows in the UK and USA opening for artists such as Mumford & Sons, Gang of Youths, Lianne La Havas and James Bay. Now, at 23, her story truly begins.