Q&A Scene: Grace Petrie

What’s your favourite work at this point in time? 

I’m very proud of Black Tie. I wrote the song as a letter to my fifteen-year-old self, telling past me not to worry about conforming, or changing to be what other people want. As a queer artist the song has had an impact on younger LGBTQ+ audiences that I couldn’t have predicted – I now sometimes even get people showing up to gigs wearing black ties and that it such a cool and rewarding  thing to see as a songwriter.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

The first time I played Glastonbury, it was at the invitation of the wonderful Billy Bragg. He is a huge hero of mine, and as a nervous young whippersnapper back in 2010 I could barely muster up the courage to speak to him. The second night on the festival, the stage crew, who are all lovely legends, were having a backstage campfire and they invited me to join them. Someone produced a guitar and asked me to sing. I was just launching into A New England, when Billy himself turned up and sat down and watched the whole thing with a big grin on his face. After I’d finished he joked “they don’t write them like that any more,” and I was drunk enough to reply “That’s right – I love Kirsty Maccoll.” He laughed his head off and I was able to talk to him after that.

What, or who, inspires you?

I’m very inspired by all the young climate change protestors who are taking radical action to protest the lack of adequate response to the climate emergency. Greta Thunberg is absolutely awesome and I think in years to come people will be baffled that some of the most famous people in the world embarrassed themselves by deciding to attack her for speaking out, instead of dealing with the most urgent threat to all our lives.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

I asked Twitter to help me answer this question, and the comedian Rufus Hound offered “vegan steak bake”. I think that works, because all the worst people hate it for political reasons but they can’t deny how many people love it!

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright. I could have written it about so many people in my life!

What’s next for you?

Really excited to get some new stuff recorded in 2020, and of course over the moon the be touring Australia for the first time. I have lots of travelling coming up this year, new places to visit and play in and that’s definitely the best part of the job.

What’s your scene?

Musically? Folk, punk-rock, protest, comedy, and many overlapping things in between! Lifewise, the place I’m happiest is probably in the pub with my pals.

Grace Petrie – Feb / Mar 2020

Thu 27th Feb Stag & Hunter, Newcastle

02 4968 1205 / stagandhunter.oztix.com.au / http://bit.ly/GracePetrie-StagandHunter

Fri 28th Feb Heritage Hotel, Bulli

02 4284 5884 / heritagehotel.com.au / https://bit.ly/2OJZ43A

Sat 29th Feb Smith’s Alternative, Canberra

02 6257 1225 / smithsalternative.com / https://bit.ly/2OAvhdr

Wed 4th Mar The Old Bar, Melbourne– NEW SHOW ADDED!

03 9417 4155 / theoldbar.com.au /

Thu 5th Mar Wesley Anne, Melbourne – SOLD OUT!

03 9482 1333 / wesleyanne.com.au

Fri-Sun 6th-8th Mar Port Fairy Folk Festival


Tue 10th Mar Brass Monkey, Cronulla

02 9544 3844 / brassmonkey.com.au / https://bit.ly/2sv7OSo

Thu 12th Mar Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney


marrickvillebowlingclub.com.au / Tickets

Fri-Sun 13th-15th Mar Blue Mountains Music Festival






Protest singing has never been so charming 

‘She writes the sort of songs you want to pin the lyrics of on your bedroom wall, or on the office door, to remind you and everyone else who might read them what is important and true’ Buzz Magazine 

‘A millennial’s Billy Bragg’ Songlines 

‘”Hello,” said Grace Petrie sweetly. “I’m a protest singer.” Murmurs of approval. “Actually I’m a socialist, feminist, lesbian, left wing protest singer…” The place erupted.’ The first lines of The Guardian review of Cambridge Folk Festival 

‘She’s an effervescent charm-bomb of a performer, even alone with an acoustic guitar, as she was that night, singing about Theresa May. “We’re getting stand-up and music,” a woman next to me said.’ The New Yorker 

A folk singer, songwriter and activist from Leicester in England, Grace has been writing, recording and touring relentlessly for ten years and has won an army of loyal fans in the UK who pile into her shows to sing back every carefully placed word of every song. Her unique takes on life, love and politics, and the warmth and wit with which they are delivered, have won over audiences across the alternative, folk, political and comedy scenes, including on recent support dates to Australia’s Hannah Gadsby. 

She has also racked up tour supports with Billy Bragg, Josie Long and in 2019 supported Frank Turner on his UK arena tour. She regularly tours sold out shows across the UK and has appeared at an eclectic genre- crossing mix of festivals Latitude, Musicport, 2000Trees, Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Greenbelt, Cambridge Folk Festival and in 2019 packed out The Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury Festival. Her ground-breaking album, ‘Queer As Folk’, was released in Autumn 2018. 


Queer As Folk may well turn out to be one of my albums of the year’ Folking.com 

She offers hope and solidarity, born out of absolute conviction and with no trace of empty sloganeering….this wake-up call is one to be both welcomed and wholeheartedly embraced.fRoots 

‘An album of personal and political power, passion and perception, it is hugely persuasive proof that Petrie most deservedly earns her place at the table.’ Folk Radio 

‘She’s the urgent, pulsing, compassionate talent this world desperately needs.’ The Observer 

‘Just when you thought that what folk music needs right now is a strident left-wing female causing a bit of carnage, here’s Grace Petrie.’ **** Mojo

About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.