A young singer-songwriter from West Sussex is getting ready to release her debut album.
Grace Monroe, who grew up in West Chiltington, has been working on The Truth About Love, a collection of stylish jazz and blues numbers, for two years.
The album should be out this autumn.
“What we wanted to achieve was a kind of timeless feel,” says Grace, describing how she and the producers approached the record.
“We incorporated a lot of modern technology into the album, but we tried to keep it traditional in the sense that you could listen to it now and you could listen to it ten years down the line and it would still be relevant.”
Grace, 25, grew up listening to old-school blues, jazz and soul and developed a love for that specific sound thanks to her parents’ interest in the genre.
“My Dad used to play Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Tom Jones, Donny Hathaway, and all the old classics like Tony Bennett,” Grace explains.
“He would always sort of push me to listen to that kind of music as opposed to, you know, S Club 7 or Hear’Say or Britney Spears,” she laughs. “Not that I’m saying I didn’t love that sort of stuff growing up.”
“I just saw Tony Bennett at the Royal Albert Hall,” Grace adds. “He is a phenomenal inspiration of mine. This is his 90th birthday tour and at 90 years old he’s still one of the best singers in the entire world.”
Grace attended the National Youth Theatre and the prestigious Hurtwood House Sixth Form College in Dorking before furthering her education at the Circle in the Square Theatre School on Broadway, New York.
Afterwards, she made acting appearances in film and classical theatre. Just last year, for example, Grace performed in the favourably reviewed Emilia Galotti at The Space theatre on the Isle of Dogs. Before that, she starred in the short film Pardon The Intrusion with veteran British actress Sara Kestelman.
However, after careful consideration, Grace decided to swap the stage for the studio and pursue a career in music.
“It just got to the point where I thought: I really need to give my whole self to one element at this point in my life,” Grace explains. “And for me music has always been the first thing that I’ve ever done. Growing up I fell into music first.”
Grace is now living in London but she visits Sussex regularly to see family members, friends and her bandmates who are based in the area.
Those who would like a taste of the upcoming album can listen to Grace’s debut single, ‘Paper Heart’. It’s available on iTunes, GooglePlay, Spotify and SoundCloud, and the music video, which was filmed around Sussex, is on YouTube.
“This was the first song I recorded when I went in to write the album,” says Grace. “It was always the one that had the most weight and meaning behind it.”
“At that time in my life it was a really big experience for me and it’s a sound that really introduces me as an artist.”
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