21 year old singer and songwriter from North Queensland, Australia, Jack Gray is only at the beginning of his career. Gray blends organic instruments with electronic sounds in his alt-pop music, giving off atmospheric ‘ear candy,’ big pop electric guitar riffs and epic choruses with dramatic production. Gray has already had a successful career, opening for Dean Lewis and having his debut single “Red Rental Car” having millions of streams on Spotify and having over 365,000 monthly listeners. Gray is only at the beginning of his what will be prosperous career. ECHO had the chance to chat with Gray about his music and touring! Check out the answers below!
How are you?
I’m great! This has been such an incredible year for me. I started at the end of 2018 after being on the road with Dean Lewis and E^ST and wanted to make this year all about new music. I started putting up new songs every couple of months and culminated in my EP launch a few weeks back. That said, I’m not slowing down, I’ve got my first headline tour of Australia and I hope to put out at least three to four new songs this year. My career started in my bedroom in Mackay, North Queensland and I’m constantly in awe of how far playing guitar has taken me.
You’re currently in LA working on music! What can we expect?
I am. I’ve been working on new music ever since I landed in the US. It’s been quite a journey. My songs have always been an extension of my emotions and I’m finding since I’ve been in the California sunshine, I’ve been writing songs with really good vibes. It’s a bit of progression from my first EP – – but now that I’m doing more live shows it gives the live show a nice balance.
You released your EP Nights Like This recently. What was the creative process of that like?
Sharing the tracks on Nights Like This with the world was a bit surreal for me. I think as a homegrown musician, I never truly believed I would get the chance to put out an “EP” with a record company. It was honestly like what I imagine an “out of body” experience to be like. But that said, these songs are so personal to me and each one defines such a specific time in my life or a specific event that I’ll never be able to think about them as an “EP”. To me, these songs represent my life up to today, each one separate, each one special for a unique reason.
Do you have a favorite song off of it?
HA – – that’s like asking a parent to pick their favorite child!
You’ve toured with Dean Lewis a few times as well. What was that experience like?
Dean’s amazing. Dean and I have the same publisher in Australia and so I tell a story in the live show about this rehearsal space where I was basically living when I first moved to Sydney. It was owned by our publishers and Dean was already on his journey while I was just starting out on my own. We spent so many hours in rehearsal rooms next to each other. As Dean started to blow up back home and around the world, it was like watching great things come to my big brother. So when Dean asked if I would join him on a couple of tours, if was almost like we were on a bit of a family road trip.
Do you have any upcoming US shows?
I do. Hopefully we’ll be able to make an announcement soon.
Who are some of your music idols?
I don’t know that I really have musical idols in the traditional sense – – I love music, all kinds. My first concert was Kiss and Motley Crue with my dad before I was 10. My sisters exposed me to all kinds of great pop artists before I was 12. I played covers at country festivals in my home town because it was the only way I could do what I loved. I imagine it boils down to a love to of musicians. I admire people who can really play. I’m a huge fan of harmonies, layering vocals and what’s now possible to do in my home studio that only 5 years ago would take an entire symphony. It’s a pretty cool time to be a musician.
What are some things you do to clear your mind before going to write a song?
How funny, I dont really have a ritual. I’m not one of those song writers who sit down and say “I’m going to write a song today”. My stories almost spill out of me in no consistent pattern. I can find inspiration anywhere. I literally made a beat on my iPhone driving to rehearsal one day. I also think as more people get to know my music, my day to day schedule is changing hourly, so I have to grab creative time where I can, and that with today’s ability to make music anywhere, it’s pretty awesome. I never know when a new idea is going to push its way out.
Advice to people trying to make it as a musician?
Learn your craft. And I don’t necessarily mean go to music school, although that might work great for some people. I’m self taught. I learned how to play the keys, guitar, bass and drums from different family members at a very early age. YouTube taught me how to use logic. And once I could start recording the songs I was playing, the sky became my limit. I mean those early songs were horrible, but the act of teaching myself how to be a writer and producer, freed me from having to depend on anyone else’s schedule to make music. It’s what allowed me to practice until a song felt like it was true to what I was hearing in my head.
Finally, what are your goals for the summer?
Honestly, I’m hoping to make a visual story accompaniment for one of my songs. I have this track that I love, and when people listen to it, it has one meaning that’s pretty obvious, but to me the song means something totally different – – and I really love the idea of telling one story thru the musical composition, but then embodying a bigger idea thru visual storytelling. It’d be pretty cool, but it would be important to do it right, and if I can’t do the idea justice, it might not happen – – we’ll see how it plays out.