The future is here and it’s in the sound of artists like Mallrat.
Combining languid pop with booming hip-hop beats and vulnerable lyrics with confident, matter-of-fact vocal work, the 20-year-old Australian (her real name is Grace Shaw) is a young, emerging artist creating her own lane.
The numbers on Spotify show Mallrat has been connecting with audiences around the world. A sample of her numbers on Spotify: 10.6 million listens for the piano-pop jam “For Real,” 9.8 million for the chill electro-folk opener “Groceries” and almost 10 million for the dreamy “UFO.” While these are exciting for Shaw, she says she doesn’t put as much stock in them as she does the tangible response at concerts.
“When you see the numbers on Spotify, it’s really cool seeing 10 million there. But it’s hard to comprehend it as actual people. When you’re at a show and you hear everybody singing along, that’s when it clicks,” she says.
On her first tour of the United States, Shaw will open for Maggie Rogers, another young singer-songwriter with a knack for combining electronic music with a folk songwriter’s sensibilities, at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at The Truman in Kansas City.
Touring in support of her latest EP, 2018’s “To The Sky,” Mallrat doesn’t have an immediate hit off the album, which allows her the freedom to perform a broad sample of her work on Rogers’ tour.
“Because it’s a new audience that have never heard me before, I can kind of play whatever that I feel like playing because it’s going to be new for them anyway,” she says.
Having recorded her first EP, 2016’s “Uninvited,” when she was 16, a music education and notoriety came at an early age for Shaw.
“’Uninvited’ was the first six songs I had ever written. It was beats I was sent on Soundcloud or Facebook or Twitter,” she says. “’In The Sky,’ I co-produced everything and was super, super involved in the production and the mixing. I think it’s a better representation of what I like. It’s got some knowledge behind it.”
“Uninvited” also worked as foot in the door in the music industry. Its success led to invitations to open for artists like hip-hop superstar Post Malone and Rogers in her home country, which caused the latter to bring her back on the American leg of her tour.
Shaw says her chill demeanor doesn’t allow for the fame to get to her. She still has a lot to learn and more people to win over.
“It’s kind of hard to know (about a big break). All these different, cool things that happen, sometimes the effect of them you can’t really notice for a few months,” she says. “You don’t really know who started listening to you from what show, what playlist.”
Working on another EP, Shaw says it’s hard to verbalize its sound, other than saying fans will like it.
“It sounds good. I don’t know how to explain it,” she says, laughing. “All the songs kind of sound quite different to each other ... I’ve noticed I like really short songs. Hopefully, they’ll be a bunch of two-minute tracks.”
— Andrew Gaug | St. Joe Live