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Western Sydney to the world: the rise of indie artist grentperez

Feb 05, 2024

Image: provided by artist

The past year has been an exceptional glow-up for Western Sydney bedroom indie pop artist grentperez (Grant Perez, to his parents) – international touring, critical and internet acclaim, an APRA Award for ‘Emerging Songwriter of the Year’, multiple releases and a UK/Europe/Asia tour that kicks off in Amsterdam tonight.  

Encouraged by his musical older siblings, he started out posting acoustic covers to YouTube as a teenager (starting, fittingly, with Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’) and showcasing his sweetly soulful crooning voice. His gently-uplifting, almost ASMR 2020 covers series Sing You To Sleep blew up virally, amassing millions of views.

An original EP followed quickly in 2021 and LP Conversations with the Moon in 2022, led by Bossa nova flavoured earworm ‘Cherry Wine’. A testament to the global, viral nature of modern fame, by the end of that year he was off on world tour ‘i’m cool I promise’, taking in Australia, NZ, Europe and US dates.

2023 was dedicated to more intense touring (he’d already withdrawn from university to put everything into his music career), playing rescheduled US dates in June, supporting his much-loved influence Rex Orange County across Australasia, returning to the States for a phenomenal 23 date completely sold-out tour, then home for 11 more shows.

@grentperezuhhh,,,, ahhhhh,,,, yea. C u soon♬ original sound – grentperez

“But at the same time, the whole stardom thing hasn’t been the most important thing. As long as I can provide for my family – I do want to actually work for putting my family into a nice spot. I want to help them, with just normal bills and whatnot. My community and my family and my friends come first.”

The commitment to family and wholesome, positive vibes is a constant for the 22-year-old (he’s recorded four Christmas songs – it’s a time he “loves very dearly”). In many ways, he owes his career to family support. “I think my dad provided the tunes, for sure. He’s not the biggest singer himself (he does karaoke, my parents both do karaoke). But he provided me with the music that I enjoy listening to, like Bread, The Eagles, and my siblings provided the R&B side of things, like Musiq Soulchild.

“[Performing is] something that’s always been encouraged by my siblings. They always suggested that I write my own songs, because they did. They always wrote their own music, but I kind of just threw shade to that idea. I didn’t really understand it until, I think, 2019.

“There was this songwriting competition for this youth group I used to be a part of. And I wrote the song, and I thought, ‘Hey, this is pretty good’. I didn’t end up winning. I thought that was rigged, because the song is actually pretty good. I listened to it maybe a few months ago, and I was like, ‘Hey, this is a pretty good song. Why didn’t I win?’ But I guess that’s how it started. And from then on I was like, ‘Hey, I might have a knack for this. Let’s try writing love songs now’.”

His nostalgic, soulful original songs about love, losing love, and growing up have very clearly struck a chord with listeners globally. With just over two decades of life experience and one long term relationship to draw from, Grant is, “very heavily influenced by other people’s stories at the time, or even movies and stuff. I definitely take into account the feeling that I get when people talk about their breakups, or if they did find someone new. So I guess I’m just the storyteller of another story, when it comes to writing my music. With last year’s EP, it was very nostalgia-based, because I was just thinking about my family a lot.”

It’s back on the road very soon for Grant, with a fifteen-date (and growing) UK/Europe/Asia tour starting tonight, including a sold-out show at the 800-capacity O2 Islington; but new music is also incoming. Lately he’s been loving neo-soul polymath Steve Lacy and LA psych-soul band The Marias, along with his early influences.

“I’ll be having an album this year, hopefully,” he says. “I might be leaking new music on my YouTube channel, too, so have a look on there. I do want to do R&B, that’s definitely for sure, but I think I might have to push that till next year. I want to establish myself in this crooner-y lover-boy vibe, before I rock it off to another genre, just for now, you know what I mean? Stay tuned. It’ll be an exciting year.”

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