A four-time UK champion beatboxer, Grace Savage recently released her debut EP “Savage Grace,” featuring her incredible vocals, electronics, and, well…. Beatboxing. Self-effacing and thoughtful, Grace makes time in her busy schedule to work with children with special needs and teaches them how to beatbox. I’ve said ‘beatbox’ entirely too many times. It was an honour and privilege for her to make time for me and you should absolutely grab her EP; it’s an incredible album. Grace begins her tour September 29, and hits several places around the UK. Her social media and tour dates can be found below. Check it out!
Just wanted to thank you again so much for agreeing to this. I discovered your music, I think through Facebook and was immediately drawn to your work.
Musicians fascinate me, probably in part because it’s something I really cannot do. I lose time finger-drumming on a counter top. But you and I both used to imitate sounds and voices a lot as kids! Did you spend a lot of time by yourself too? Haha.
I had two older brothers growing up so I wasn’t an only child. As the youngest, I wanted to do everything they did and my mum and dad always encouraged me to do so – I was the only girl not he rugby team, I played football, cricket, skateboarding and I would play fight too (which is probably why I never questioned that fact that I could also be a beatboxer). So I wasn’t really a lonely child in that sense but I did have a huge imagination and I was quite an obsessive kid. I was weirdly obsessed with the Olsen twins and watched the film “it takes two” probably about thirty times – then once I knew it off by heart, I started down with pen and paper and wrote the ENTIRE script out from memory. Ha. I liked to challenge myself with things like that and so when I started to learn beatboxing, my obsessive personality was very useful, I would have to just sit and make the same noise over and over until I got it right.
Earlier today you posted on Facebook about getting into a fight in school over somebody calling you “ginger pubes.” Wow, did that take me back. I had this kid in grade nine who aaallll the time used to call me “fire crotch.” Never fought him, but I think I called him a cocksucker or something highschool-y.
Have you always been a scrapper?
Haha. Like I said, I grew up with two older brothers and I used to play Rugby, so I was always used to being physical and getting into play fights but that was my one and only actual fight…I think. I was brought up that you should stand up to bullies and defend yourself, so I did but I did grow up in the country side….maybe it would be a different story if I was in London as a kid growing up now…it can get a bit darker than just a bit of rough and tumble in the fields!
I read that you grew up in a very bass-oriented environment with dubstep and drum-and-bass; did your family have an impact on that at all?
No that was nothing to do with my family, ha. That came at a stage when friendships really start to take over and become significant, around 14/15 years old. My parents had split up when I was 13 and music became a really important escape for me. We never used to get I.D’d back then and we would go out raving to drum and bass all the time. It was amazing. I have so many great memories form that time.
Besides having that very local and UK-oriented influence, how much did hear of North American talent, like Rahzel or Bobby McFerrin? (I can’t think of McFerrin and not think of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSHalUwk6cE)
Rahzel was the first beatboxer I ever saw live! He came to Exeter when I was 14 and he did a beatbox set before the DJ, he did the famous “melody, bass and beat at the same time” and it blew my tiny little mind. I remember getting home from that gig and being like “I HAVE to learn how to do that”. I didn’t find out about Bobbby McFerrin until much later in life – obviously he is a booming legend.
Beyond the obvious addition of layers and looping tracks, what do you feel technology affords you in terms of creativity? Does a particular piece of equipment or effect make you go “Oh shit! I can make something from this.”
I have been a loyal Boss/Roland looper from day one. The RC-505 is what I perform with and I think it’s brilliant for writing and performing music. I am a bit behind when it comes to tech stuff and I can get a bit impatient when it comes to using anything too tech heavy but I’m sticking with the loop station now because it’s taken me years to get to a point where I almost understand everything it does and I’m really comfortable with it on stage now 🙂 But I love discovering new things about it and playing around with it, there is still so much more I could learn.
You said you had been playing with “(Oops) Oh My” by Tweet and Missy Elliott; I just recently heard Ladytron’s cover from a bunch of years ago! Any other covers you’ve mulled over?
Yeah, I’m heading out on my first tour in a couple of weeks and that is going to be the newest addition to the set. It’s quite a complex one to perform with my dj, live looping and triggering samples so it should be a fun one to watch. I just love anything missy Elliot does and that song is a stonker. The simplicity of it and the top line is what I Loe th most. I was thinking of doing “Habits” by Tove Lo – It came on in a shop the other day and I though “this could be sick” to cover.
Concerning your first blog entry, what exactly is involved in an obligatory blog ritual dance? Being a part of the Commonwealth, does Canada have the same one as the UK? Mine usually entail flailing arms, some bastardization of the Charleston, and broken relationships.
Blog! I didn’t think anybody actually read that. I really need to do that more. My blog ritual dance involves lots of incense, cocoa butter, a single hair plucked from a previously loved pet and some Marilyn Manson style moshing.
What was it like being named as one of Elle UK’s 100 Most Inspiring Women?
Brilliant. Always nice for people to think what I do is inspiring….when essentially I’m just blowing raspberries into a microphone for a living.
That’s all for now, kids! There may be more later……
Thanks for reading!