We talked with the New Zealand-born artist about her musical inspirations, her debut EP last winter and where to next.
Wallace is a New Zealand-born, now Sydney, Australia-based future soul savant, songwriter and a huge Harry Potter nerd (read on for the deets). Her latest song “Frame by Frame” is an eclectic yet well-tempered track which reflects the impressive range and calculated chaos of this boundary-pushing babe. Beyond defying genre and delivering all kinds of unnameable yet intriguing emotions, the song is an ode to unconventionality. We chatted with Wallace about her musical inspirations, her debut EP last winter and what’s next.
Where did you grow up?
On a very windy hill in Wellington, New Zealand.
What lead you to your career in music? When did you begin to develop your skills as a musician / performer?
I’ve sung since before I can remember (my parents could never shut me up haha) I started doing musical theater from an early age and have never wanted to do anything but perform, I had singing lessons as a kid and then went onto study jazz at Uni in New Zealand.
Who are your biggest musical influences? Lovin’ them jazzy vibes.
My first loves were singers like Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan and Nat King Cole. Pretty much anyone that has a tone you got lost in (and don’t care that you can’t find your way out).
Which female artists do you admire most?
Bjork, Beyonce, Chaka Kahn, Yukimi (Little Dragon), Lianne La Havas, Emily King, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Little Simz, Erykah Badu, Eddi Reader… AHHHHH there’s way too many!
Your debut EP came out this past winter, and it’s full of both celebrations and lamentations. Where did the inspiration for “Pole to Pole” come from? What was the journey that lead you to craft such a badass yet poignant album?
First of all, thanks so much! It’s so exciting to finally have a body of work to my name.
‘Pole to Pole’ is a lyric from my tune ‘Diaspora’ which talks about my relationship with Scotland, where Dad is from. It’s a strange feeling being connected to places that are geographically so far apart. Also the EP is dedicated to the memory of my late Grandfathers who came from opposite sides of the globe, literally poles apart. Two beautiful, kind-hearted men who shared and nurtured my love of music.
The new track “Frame by Frame” is dope AF. What’s the inspiration behind this one?
I’m a self confessed gallery junkie and Harry Potter fan girl (I’m still waiting for my acceptance letter). Since 7-year-old me read The Philosopher’s Stone, I’ve always imagined the figures in paintings to be alive like the portraits that hang in the Hogwarts halls. I love wondering what they get up to when the lights go out and all the punters/muggles leave for the day.
The song feels like an exercise in very well-calculated chaos. What was the collaboration like for this track and how did it come to fruition?
The song was produced and co-written with Danny Barwick in between building sandcastle cities, drinking copious amounts of tea and hanging with some very sassy chooks.
When Danny wrote the original sketch he’d been checking out the MF Doom album ‘Keys to The Cuffs’ and loved how much mileage they get out of each particular sample on that record, and we think we achieved a similar thing. Then after hearing the rough vocal demo I’d made he thought that I was leaning towards middle-era Little Dragon – so naturally when we got Tiaryn and Lewis Moody (also two Little Dragon mega fans) to jump in with some synth plucks and lines. It really helped cement that world into place.
And then of course, how could we forget the real stars of the show: Danny’s flatmate’s chickens! We got them to cluck straight into an OP-1 sampler for a joke but then after some different treatments they created a really interesting layer and managed to weasel their way in. Danny’s still lucky his OP-1 is working; I think they thought the buttons were edible.
Any advice for girls in particular?
Be selfish and do the things that make you happy, also make sure you surround yourself with fellow badasses who inspire you and make you cry laugh.
You’ve toured around the world, opened for some amazing artists and developed your own repertoire of amazing work. What’s next for you?
Touring with some of my favorite artists, writing and hopefully spending some time in the UK and Europe abusing my dual citizenship and then more writing!
You heard it here first folks. Catch homegirl on tour in Europe, Australia and NZ later this year.