Q&A with Grace Knight.
One of Australia’s most successful recording bands from the 1980s, Eurogliders, are reuniting for some special Live & Intimate shows throughout 2014. With a swag of hits to their name such as Heaven (Must Be There), We Will Together, City of Soul and Can’t Wait to See You to name a few, these concerts promise to be the perfect stroll down memory lane for music fans. We chat to frontwoman Grace Knight in the lead up to the shows.
How did you get your start in the music industry?
Back in the 1970s my boyfriend and I played and sang as a duet in little clubs and we entered a talent contest in the UK run by Courage Breweries. We managed to win a few heats and get ourselves through to the semi-finals where a talent scout spotted us and offered us a three month booking on a floating hotel moored in Dubai Creek in the United Arab Emirates. After that, I got a gig on a cruise ship and sang my way to Australia in 1977.
Best part of what you do?
I make people happy for a living. The songs I choose to sing evoke many of the emotions the audience have experienced, this touches their heart, it moves them because they recognise themselves in the lyrics. The musicians I use have honed their skills over many years, they play beautifully and this can’t help but uplift the listener. I consider myself very fortunate to have a job that not only uplifts the audience, but uplifts me.
And the worst part?
Waiting in airports, delayed flights, cancelled flights, drinking coffee to relieve the boredom.
Any interesting experiences you can share?
You know the old saying, “What happens on the road stays on the road”. I’ve had plenty of interesting experiences over the years…you can’t spend 35 years on the road and not accumulate a few stories from the trenches. However, in an attempt to protect the guilty I think I’ll pass on making any of them public.
Favourite album of all time and why?
I don’t have a favourite album, I have tracks that I love until another track replaces it and becomes my favourite. I purposefully steer clear of listening to female singers. It is very easy to copy something you like, so I try to stay true to myself. At the moment I am listening to Ahmed Jamal the great jazz pianist, I’ve got a double live album of his from the early 60s that still sounds as fresh as if it were recorded yesterday. I listen to a pretty wide range of music from opera to jazz to world music, it depends on what mood I’m in at the time.
Best live performance that you’ve ever seen?
I only go and see live performances very occasionally, probably much less often than most people. I guess it’s a product of working when a lot of shows are on. It’s one of the reasons I like playing festivals, you get to listen to other artists. I guess if I had to pick one show, Michael Jackson was pretty spectacular.
Favourite bars/clubs/pubs to hang out in?
I’m not really a drinker so I don’t hang out in bars or pubs. I have a gin and tonic whilst I’m putting on my make up backstage at a gig and I usually take it onstage and sip it through the show but that’s about the only time I drink. I’d actually prefer a nice cup of tea, but it can be a problem getting a decent cuppa’ at most venues so I go with the gin and tonic. I sort of do my hanging out during the day light hours at the local coffee shop…I’m seriously addicted to caffeine.
Take us through a typical day in the life of Grace Knight.
I sort of have different typical days. When I’m working, it’s airports, taxis, soundchecks, doing my hair and make-up, performing and a fair bit of waiting around between things. If I’m promoting upcoming shows or a new CD I’ll be on the phone most of the day or driving from interview to interview if they are live at a radio station. When I have some down time I really like creating stuff…it might be painting, designing, sewing or making something, anything. If I’m not making something I feel bored out of my scone. I’ve used concrete, fabric, gourds, leather, the list goes on forever. I’m having a shed built at the moment so I can start playing with a wood turning lathe. I can’t wait to get my hands on some gnarly old wood and hopefully turn it into something beautiful.
What advice would you give to someone looking at getting involved in the music industry?
I make a distinction between the music industry and performing. From a performance point of view, do as many gigs as you can…work out a way of getting in front of an audience and practice your craft. Singing is about a lot more than just singing, you have to work out how to connect with an audience and how to hold them, how to take them on some sort of emotional journey. From a business perspective, don’t put your head in the sand and then grizzle later on that you didn’t understand the contract you where signing. Make sure you understand what you are obligated to do and most of all understand the financials…so many artists generate rivers of money and end up with very little because they didn’t understand where it was all being siphoned off. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be fobbed off…it’s your career and you won’t win any prizes for having other people make a mess of it for you.
Any news or final comments?
I’m back in the recording studio with my old partner in crime, Bernie Lynch. We’re redoing a lot of the old Eurogliders hits as well as some newer songs in a semi-acoustic style and hope to have an album out in the second half of this year. The songs are coming up a treat and they sound very fresh, it’s a very different sound…all the synth keyboards and electronic drums have gone and we’re using banjos, guitars and mandolins. We’ve done a handful of gigs in smaller venues in this format and the crowds seem to really like what we’ve done with the songs.
© Danny Canak
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