Introducing to the stage…Miss Mylee Grace
When describing musician Mylee Grace words like sweet, considered, honest and creative come to mind - but you know what...R.A.D pretty much sums her up. She's just one RAD lady that you just want to get to know.
Mylee Grace your beautiful, seemingly timid ways don’t fool us – you can really belt out a tune! When did you discover this voice and talent of yours? and how did your band ‘Mylee and The Milkshakes’ evolve from this?
The earliest memories I have of really enjoying singing was recording into the tape player in my room, no backing track. Just singing random lyrics acapella. I’d also go out to the garden and set up a drum kit out of pots and pans. I spent a lot of time in my garden as a child. It’s where I wrote my first song titled, “Adrien” (who ever that was).
In high school I studied Jazz at night at the Sydney Conservatorium of music, I’d take the bus home after lessons, for an hour or so I’d sit on the bus and read over my notes and listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone on my Walkman. At that time i was singing in a jazz funk band with some fellow teenagers. I would mainly just scat, free style rap and dance around. We’d play at house parties on the Northern Beaches and jam regularly. Many lunch times spent in the school music room bonding with fellow music nerds, this fed my non interest in school yard politics and main stream conformity.
It wasn’t until my early 20’s after falling in love with Ozzy that the milkshakes evolved. The early songs we wrote together we’re of course love songs. Back in the days when we’d stay in bed all day pashing, writing music, playing Scrabble and he’d sketch me while I was sleeping. After retreating from the world for a bout six months we found some friends who’d jam with us. Members have drifted in and out over the years but the bands skeleton has remained,Ozzy, myself (and when she’s around) my mother!
Your lovely mumma is also a musician, tell us about perhaps her influence there?
Growing up, My mum sister and I moved homes frequently up and down the northern beaches of Sydney. Our living arrangements were often squishy but somehow mum would configure the lounge room to have a Grand piano in one corner, drum kit, guitars and what ever else in the other. I’d get home from school and mum would be like, “check out this piece I just recorded, it needs vocals. Can you sing something over it?”.
When I was 16 we made an EP together at home. We recorded 9 songs I’d written. Just vocals and guitar. When I was at school one day mum layered instruments on top and some vocal harmonies. It made me so happy to hear my songs come to life like that. I called it “songs from cat hill”. A friend suggested I send it into some radio stations. I was amazed when I got the call from a Sydney radio station that was preparing to launch. ‘ FBI radio ‘ wanted to use one of my tracks as the first song to ever be played on their station!
Now days my mum, AKA Maria Stratton also resides on the North Coast, in Mullumbimby. She plays in four bands. We went to her birthday party the other day and there were 20 people there. Every person was a member of one of her different bands. You could imagine the jams and harmonies that went down that night. I’m grateful she has always encouraged music in me and I understand why she makes it a priority to fill her world with it also. She’s not exactly your scone baking begging to babysit type of granny but her strength and passion constantly inspires me (plus she teaches me new tricks on the guitar!).
Both you and Ozzy grew up on the northern beaches of Sydney and recently after having 2 gorgeous bubs, Rocky and Goldie are now spreading your roots to Byron Bay – tell us how this has changed your lifestyle… (and I know you are loving getting back in the surf more)
Living in Byron has allowed us to continue our artistic endeavours, slow down and
enjoy sacred family time without the surrounding hustle of city life and the stress that seems to loom in the air. The migration has been on the cards for a while. We have friends and family that grew up here so it’s somewhere we’ve been visiting since we were kids, it’s always felt like a second home. Something clicked in the universe and made it happen last year.
You’re right, I’ve been getting in the ocean more since living here. The occasional surf has morphed into a full blown thing I must do OR ELSE! It’s that essential solo time in nature my cells crave every day. It’s a place where I recharge and clear my mind enough to let new ideas in. I’m excited to experience our first winter In Byron. Living In a house full of introverts means we can all reach our full potential of mellow living. Light fires, play our guitars, slow cook, create masks from felt and wacky badges with our new badge machine!
Your partner Ozzy Wright is a world renowned free surfer and artist what an awesome creative household! Tell us about it…
Yep Ozzie a very talented son of a gun. He’s a magnetic human and has always worked hard whilst doing what he loves. In fact he doesn’t really stop creating. It flows from him with more ease than anyone I’ve ever met. He lives in his own (signature Ozzy) dreamy world, does what he wants and doesn’t care too much what others think.
It a beautiful thing to share a creative vision with your partner but there’s definitely a trick to coexisting in a relationship with two artists. We’re still trying to work out the trick! This year will be our 10th year together. I’ve watched our love strengthen and evolve over the years. We still get gooey over each other which makes me think We’re on a good wicket.
How do you get creative with the kids?
We don’t have a lot of toys which encourages them to be creative in how they play.
Our son Rocky’s creativity is often ignited with his wacky sense of humour so I’ll try and spark him by asking a bizarre hypothetical question. Or we’ll use a bunch of rocks and crystals to create our own world. Apart from this there’s the obvious creative outlets the whole family enjoy like painting (sometimes on me) and playing music. I’m humbled to say, Rocky can play the ukulele better than me. Goldie likes to smash the tambourine as hard and fast as she can. Come night time she sings herself to sleep at the top of her lungs.
When we started chatting about styling for your shoot you said to me “I’ve got more vintage than Africa!” I love that – it sounds like a shop name… Tell us about your favourite outfit to wear on stage.
Ah yes, you’ve seen my clothes hoarding den! I opened a vintage store on the northern beaches just before I found out I was pregnant with Goldie! It spawned from a long standing obsession with op shopping, sewing my own clothes, collecting old wares and my affinity with 60’s and 70’s pop culture.
Having the shop was a lot of fun and I loved discovering “Business Mylee” but leaving the shop behind recently was the right choice for my family and I. Turns out moving to Byron was a way better idea! I brought with me my favourite pieces, somehow that turned out to be a small truck load! I’m in no rush to sell it off as I know there’s nothing disposable about well preserved true vintage. Plus I have trouble letting go of the special ones.
Favourite outfit to wear on stage would be some kind of psychedelic beaded pants and a sequin top with some chunky platform boots. As long as the boots are comfy. I’ve been known to stack it mid dance trance. Also hair would be out. A milkshakes set would never withstand an up-do of any kind.
On which stage, anywhere in the world would you like to perform most?
As long as it’s a stage that would fit all of my friends on it. My dream is to have all my favourite people playing in a giant rhythm section together on stage, all singing into mic’s at once. Then Stevie wonder gets up and does a mega piano solo and Keith Richard gets on with his guitar then Stevie Nicks appears and we all sing ‘Gypsy’ together! There’s more surprise guests but I won’t go into it right now.
If you could meet any influential music type in this big, wide, wonderful world who would this be? dead or alive… (who influences your music style)
Id like to meet Bob Dylan before he dies (touch wood). I’d tell him Ozzie and I tried to learn one song a week of his until we knew the whole song book.We started a lounge room cover band called “The Bob Dylans”. He’d probably give me a biggest tragic fan award.
I love the way Leonard Cohen has the perfect mix of story telling, drama and facetiousness in his writing. Lou Reed has a similar knack and has undoubtedly written some of my favourite songs. Dirty country artists like Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt have been influences. If I was to curate an all girl band it would definitely include PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Nico, Emmylou Harris and Grace Slick.
It’s Easy for me to write lots of ‘bummer’ songs, I guess it comes naturally when you’re venting with your pen at the end of the day. I really admire writers who have a light approach to songwriting. they inspire me to not take myself too seriously and make music that’s fun. Jonathan Richmond, Sonny and the Sunsets and Adam green,they all spring to mind.
And finally, any words of wisdom for aspiring musicians out there?
Write a little everyday and write like no one is ever going to read it! That way you’re doing it for your self which is deeply satisfying.
How do we find a link to your latest tune?
All gorgeous film images by the wonderful Melody x
Cream dress, crochet swimsuit & velvet jacket by All That Remains
All vintage peices are Mylee’s own