Q and A session with Jazz and Shiraz headline act Grace Knight

Published: 20 Mar 2014

Logan City’s popular twilight event, Jazz and Shiraz, is just over a week away, and will showcase some of the best soul, swing and funk talent. Acclaimed jazz singer Grace Knight from the Eurogliders will headline this year’s event, held on the grass of the historic Kingston Butter Factory Community Arts Centre from 3pm to 9pm on Saturday 29 March. Grace spoke to Logan City Council ahead of the event.

You’ve been involved with the music industry for more than 35 years. When did you first discover your voice and how did you get started?

Probably when I was about four or five-years-old. I used to stand on the lounge room coffee table and sing to amuse my dad and his pals. Later on, in my early 20s I started singing with my then boyfriend in pubs around where I lived in the United Kingdom, and then we entered a couple of talent contests. An agent saw us and offered us a few months’ work in Dubai which I guess was my first truly professional engagement. Around that time I started to think, “wow, maybe I could actually do this for a living”.

What is the secret to being part of the Australian music industry for so long?

I don’t think there is any secret. You probably need a bit of luck along the way but good old fashioned perseverance is the main ingredient. Everyone in this industry has their ups and down but at the end of the day you’ve got to keep getting in front of people doing gigs and you’ve got to keep looking forward and planning what you want to be doing tomorrow and the day after. Try to surround yourself with good people that have your best interests at heart and will work hard on your behalf.

What is it that you love about performing live at an event like Jazz and Shiraz?

Festivals like this are great, everyone there is single-minded about just having a good time. As an artist, festivals allow you to play in front of people that aren’t necessarily your fans…you’re always looking for opportunities to introduce what you do to people that might not be familiar with your work, and hopefully you pick up some new fans along the way. It’s also great to catch up with other artists and check out what they’re doing.

You have performed for prime ministers, presidents and royal families. What connects you to an audience?

I’ve always considered myself a story teller as much as a singer even though I’m using songs as the vehicle for telling those stories. I only do songs that resonate with me in some manner and that I have a connection with. This helps me to connect with the audience because it’s odds on that whatever I’m feeling is something other people have also felt. Hopefully you take the audience on a journey with you and they relate what you’re singing about to their own emotions and events in their lives.

Are you planning anything special for Jazz and Shiraz?

I put out a new album a bit over a year ago so I’ll be doing a few songs from that as well as songs from across my career.

What’s next for you musically? Are you planning any new recordings?

I’m involved in a recording project at the moment doing some Eurogliders songs. The band recently got back on the road and we’ve had a great response thus far. Some of the shows have been done semi-acoustic in smaller venues and we’ve decided to re-record a lot of the old hits as well as some new songs in this stripped back format. I don’t have a release date yet but we’d like to get this out as soon as we can.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not performing?

I really like making clothes, most of the gear I wear on stage are my own creations and I really enjoy trying to create something that complements what I’m doing musically. I enjoy travelling, I’m off to Vietnam in a few weeks which is pretty exciting….I’ve never been there before but I’ve heard lots of great things so I’m really looking forward to that.

About Grace Knight

Grace Knight is one of the most enduring talents in Australian music. With Aria nominations and chart topping recordings in each of the past three decades, her career spans more than 35 years.

Acclaimed for her live performances, Grace is one of the finest interpreters of popular music in Australia today. Knight’s spellbinding performances touch the soul and lift the heart. Her magical presence connects with audiences of all ages like few others can.

She blew audiences away throughout the 1980s as lead singer of internationally successful band Eurogliders. She captivated fans with her “Manic Ballerina” stage persona and Eurogliders took the charts by storm.

As a solo artist she transformed herself from Pop Princess to Queen of Cool and lit up the screen in ABC TV’s award winning mini-series, Come In Spinner. A string of successful solo albums followed. During her jazz career, Grace has done countless live shows including performances for five Australian Prime Ministers, President Clinton of the United States, Princess Diana, and the Thai Royal Family.

Her album, Willow, was nominated for an ARIA in 2008 and her seventh solo album, Keep Cool Fool, was released in 2012.

Never one to slow down and rest on her laurels, Grace released her critically acclaimed autobiography, Pink Suit for a Blue Day in 2010. Written with wit and warmth, she combines hilarious stories from her childhood with frank revelations of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Grace felt obliged to write her story to show solidarity with the countless other victims of childhood abuse.

As well as her gruelling schedule of live work and recording Grace recently made a guest appearance in the long running TV show, Neighbours. She is also an Ambassador for Heal For Life Foundation, an organisation that empowers people to heal from childhood trauma and abuse and is a patron to the Choir Of Hope And Inspiration (formerly Choir Of Hard Knocks) and last year re-recorded her smash hit, Heaven (Must Be There), with the choir.

About Jazz and Shiraz

  • Saturday 29 March, 3pm to 9pm at Kingston Butter Factory Community Arts Centre
  • Acclaimed jazz singer Grace Knight from the Eurogliders will headline a great line-up, including David De Vito, Scat, Renae Suttie, Laura Mitchell and Mal Wood and Friends
  • Event goers can bring along a chair or picnic rug and enjoy the tunes under the stars while tasting some of the best food and wine from around Queensland. Gourmet food will be available for purchase from Focus by James, pizza from The Fire Inside and waffles and pancakes. Wine and other beverages will be available from Sirromet Wines and Cedar Creek Estate Wines. Coffee will be available from The Rich Pour. Picnics are welcome but no BYO alcohol is allowed at the venue.
  • The free Jazz and Shiraz smart phone app is now available to download from app stores. You can keep up-to-date with program and event information, weather updates, how to get there and to share event photos.
  • By using the feedback tab on the app or filling out a feedback form at the event, event goers can enter the draw to win tickets to Robbie Williams’ The Swing Tour or a mystery weekend away for two people valued at $300, staying at a four star hotel with breakfast and a bottle of shiraz, kindly donated by Premier Cruise and Travel.
  • Tickets are $20 and available for purchase by phoning 3412 5626 or online at www.loganentertainmentcentre.com.au
Grace Knight