Michael Green Interviews... Grace Jukes
Updated: Mar 31, 2022
Originally posted on September 17th 2019 here is a Q & A with singer-songwriter Grace Jukes. She talked about her experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
I used to love singing, and I was always writing little ditties as a kid. Then I remember my Dad saying I should learn an instrument and he thrust his battered old Spanish-necked guitar into my hand and taught me some chords. I caught the bug from there, really! Who are your influences? From a very early age I loved Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift and, later, Owl City - I think they really shaped how I write songs, my approach to music and the kinds of sound I like in my own writing. Although to be fair, my music taste has always been very eclectic. With songwriting where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs & what's your process? I think like a lot of people it comes in multiple ways, but it’s often from a string of chords I smush together, and then mash some lyrics over the top. Or I find a catchy ‘hook’ for the song, and build everything else up from there. What's your process when it comes to learning songs to cover? Oooh this is a fun one as I’ve just finished off learning 50 new songs over the past 2-3 months for an upcoming gig. I usually play the original song on repeat until the melody and lyrics are in my brain, and then I underpin them with the chords. Then it’s playing it over, and over again; until I’m confident.
Grace Jukes - Get It Together Or Get Yourself Back Home
How important do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
I actually think it’s really important to keep up to date with everything. You don’t necessarily have to like all “modern” music - but every new artist needs an audience, and I think it’s really cool if we can support each other.
I also think you can learn a ton from others too - so as much music - new and old - that you can listen to the better! Your own songs really benefit from it for sure.
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
I didn’t used to like live music that much as a kid (sacrilege, I know!) but having stepped out more as an artist myself I think it’s really important to keep topped up with inspiration. So now I try and go to gigs regularly - seeing other peoples’ passion helps fuel my dream too - and theirs! Win-win.
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to songwriting & performing?
A great piece of advice I got about songwriting which has stood me in really good stead was: “Don’t just use words because they rhyme. Work out what you are trying to say first; and THEN fit your structure around that”. Sounds really simple. But sometimes it’s harder to say what we mean than we might think, and I think a little care at this stage can go a long way. Don’t just say words that are rhyming couplets. Say what you mean.
And with performing: you are not alone in finding it a little intimidating (trust me), but it doesn’t have to be. Think about all the people your performance is going to influence. You’re going to change their life - maybe in a small way, maybe in a big way. So practice hard. Plan for it to go well. Then make that happen. You got this.
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