Beginning as a dream teen music sensation, Mallrat aka Grace Shaw is approaching 20 with the force of a speeding train. Having released her very well received In The Sky EP earlier in the year — full of nostalg indie-pop, late-night hip hop, electronic peaks, juicy production, lyrics way beyond my teen angst — and selling out an entire national tour to support it, she’s literally unstoppable.
In a moment of chill, we caught up with her to talk pushing forward, her local scene, and the ins and outs of Nike’s new Sport Pack Collection.
When did you first start making music?
When I was sixteen!
And when did you realise you were pretty good at it?
At first I had no idea if I was any good, but it was the only thing that I was passionate about and I had a gut feeling that I could be good at it.
Are you generally a confident person?
Not especially, but I feel like music has helped me become more confident. I had to be more self-assured in order to share my music.
Do you think it’s important to be active — not just in a sporty sense but also in a push the limits of what’s possible sense?
Yes! It’s rare to find something that you are passionate about, but when you do, you have to hustle and give it your all and eventually take some sort of leap of faith!
You’re definitely a leader in pushing boundaries within your industry — do you see yourself as a leader?
Thank you! I think it happens when you do your own thing.
And what kind of goals do you have for yourself at the moment?
I want to write and produce for international pop and hip hop artists, so at the moment I am focused on building my skills and confidence as a producer.
How would you describe your style – as in the way you dress. Is it reflective of your artistic output?
I think my personal style and my music are both reflections of how I feel and what I like. I work very intuitively 🙂
The Nike Sport Pack Collection is built for getting active in but it looks cool worked into everyday wear – how does it fit within your wardrobe? Which pieces are your fav’s?
I love the Cropped Tank and the Element Hoodie with the thumb holes. I love how functional and flattering these pieces are, and they’re perfect for pairing with any high waisted skirts, denim or wide leg pants.
I know you have that song, ‘Uninvited’, which is a bit of an introvert/antisocial person anthem — how do you push yourself to get out there and feel good every day?
I feel like the best version of myself when I get lots of sunshine and vegetables, go to boxing training, make music that excites me, and see my friends who make me laugh.
These questions about ‘How does it feel to be a woman’ in whatever male-dominated industry are starting to die down a bit in the music world — which is a good sign — do you feel like you’ve got any barriers or are you not paying attention to them?
Yes! Things are getting better — the internet and social media means that artists are more diverse and more in control. This hasn’t completely permeated mainstream pop yet but people are becoming more aware and things are slowly changing.
I don’t know if it’s just me living in a lucky bubble, but actually it feels like women are really leading the charge in certain parts of indie music in Aus (and globally). There are so many powerful female artists out there. Are your mates doing similar stuff to you?
Yes! There are so many incredible Australian women making music. Some of my favourites are Jack River, Tkay, Kaiit, Hatchie, Miss Blanks, Nicole Millar, Stella Donnelly, Gretta Ray… there are actually way too many to list. I’m a big fan of all of my friends’ work and it’s exciting to be a part of it.
Who else in your scene is really pushing the boundaries and testing limits at the moment?
Tkay Maidza and Allday are two of my favourite Australian hip hop artists, they have such a global perspective and taste in production. Other Australian artists that I love are Golden Vessel, Cub Sport, The Jungle Giants, Japanese Wallpaper, Jack River, Nina Las Vegas, Basenji and Gretta Ray.
How do you like to clear your mind before you lock into a project?
I don’t really compartmentalise projects, I just think about the song that I’m working on in the moment and eventually I have enough finished songs that I think should live together. But, when I am feeling distracted or frustrated I try to take a few days off to get some sunshine and not think about my music.
Finally — what’s going on right now? And what are you working towards next?
I’m working on EP number 3!
Photography: Daniel Goode
Fashion: Sarah Starkey
Make-up: Gillian Campbell @ The Artist Group
Hair: Sacha Lorge
Photo assistant: Nick Ryall
Fashion assistant: Harriet Crawford
Production: Oyster in Partnership with Nike