Singer aiming for national tour

MUSICIAN: Temuka singer Grace Kerridge
MUSICIAN: Temuka singer Grace Kerridge

Singer songwriter Grace Kerridge would love to take her guitar on the road and try the muso life full time.

The first big step is likely to be a nationwide tour next year mixing soul, the blues and country rock.

The 25-year-old, who grew up in Temuka and attended Roncalli College, is these days teaching phys ed, health and outdoor education at Gisborne Girls' High School.

Kerridge's early musical influences were varied.

"When I was eight my parents took me to a Midge Marsden concert and I fell in love with the harmonica and that was the start of my love for blues."

It was only at Otago University she started singing seriously.

"I teamed up with musician Nic Leeden and we started to gig together."

That led to her first EP, with six songs.

"It was fantastic and a great learning experience for me but ended up being quite a long process.

"I was writing a lot at uni and I would come up with a new song that I thought was pretty good and I'd take it to Nic and play it to him.

"Then we would talk about where we wanted to go with it- what instruments would sound good.

Kerridge says Leeden also played all the instruments on the album and did all the engineering.

"He put in a hell of a lot of work and I'll be forever grateful for that.

Her favourite track on the EP is the first single 'Wondering'. Those early family influences that have moulded her remain strong.

"I grew up listening to and imitating strong female vocalists like Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey.

"As I started to delve into the blues and soul genre I discovered legends like Muddy Waters, BB King, Bonnie Raitt and Otis Redding.

Kerridge's motivations for song writing are varied, as is how it all comes together.

"Mainly emotions and experiences I have been through and some of my songs are about people I have known. I find that if I sit down and try to write it doesn't work as well as if I'm just playing and start mucking around with melodies, words and themes of songs just come naturally.

"Singing and playing guitar is really therapeutic for me."

Kerridge admits music is her real passion.

"I'm planning a tour at the moment, there's so much to organise. I'm still always writing and practicing whenever I can.

Kerridge is also learning that the music industry is all about networking, promotion and exposure.

"But for me the main thing is getting out there and playing music and meeting awesome people."

The Timaru Herald