Published by BMA Magazine, 12/07/16
Brisbane-based rapper MALLRAT hates Westfields, at least according to her single ‘Inside Voices’. Instead, Grace Shaw divides her time between babysitting jobs and playing shows supporting local legends Allday and Tkay Maidza. Her music has generated hype on triple j and all over the internet, and she recently collaborated with E^ST, so it’s slightly frustrating that at only 17, Shaw can’t even legally attend most gigs. She recently played the biggest show of her life at the all-ages Come Together festival in Sydney, and for once she didn’t have to worry about getting kicked out.
“Come Together was the first festival that I’ve played,” she says. “It was so much fun, I especially liked that they had an under 18s crowd. Hopefully there will be more stuff like that.” A year and a half ago Shaw began making music while she was still at school, after realising at an Allday gig that she could actually pursue it as a career. When she graduated, she decided to focus on music full-time. Mallrat quickly grew to become a genre-defying favourite, even before the release of her debut EP, and with Uninvited she has proven that this is no side project.
“The obligation of doing school was very frustrating when I knew I wanted to be out there doing something else,” she explains. “I had always expected myself to go to uni and my parents did too, but I realised I’ve spent the last couple of years looking for excuses. Now I’m really enjoying doing music because I’m learning more every day and I can travel with it, so it’s perfect.”
Growing up in Brisbane has had a subconscious influence on her sound, she says. Her laidback rap delivery is complemented by indie pop vocals, and she has often collaborated with producer Tigerilla. “There’s sort of suburban monotony that I’m feeling at the moment,” she says. “I feel like I know everyone and everything about Brisbane, even though I probably don’t, but that’s how it feels. The sense of it being quite small and wanting to go and explore is something that I feel very strongly.”
Shaw has started working on producing music as well as vocals, and has big plans for the future of Mallrat. She has built a loyal fan base through her casual social media interactions, and knows that her lyrics need to continue to connect with her audience on a personal level. “I hold myself to very high standards,” she says. “I set aside time to write every day but sometimes I’m on the bus or I’m at work when the ideas come, because I spend a lot of time people-watching – it’s one of my favourite things. I find people so interesting, so I guess that translates to the lyrics.”