Women in Music 2016
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Aussie Singer Grace Talks Remaking Lesley Gore's 'You Don't Own Me' With Quincy Jones & G-Eazy
Watch some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Grace, Jones and G-Eazy remaking Lesley Gore's feminist anthem, "You Don't Own Me."
Grace Sewell, an 18-year-old singer from Brisbane, Australia, who has the toughness of Janis Joplin and the sultry moodiness of Joss Stone, is making waves with her rendition of Lesley Gore’s iconic feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me,” featuring Oakland rapper G-Eazy and the song's original producer, Quincy Jones.
Sewell, who lives part-time in Atlanta and goes by the stage name Grace, had been searching for her voice as a rising solo artist and met industry legend Quincy Jones at a charity banquet last year. He'd heard some of her music thanks to an existing relationship with her managers and suggested the two hit the studio to remake one of his classics. He chose the 1963 hit “You Don’t Own Me" because Gore was exactly Grace's age when she and Jones recorded it.
Below, watch some exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage of Grace, Jones and G-Eazy in the studio.
“I wanted girls to drive in their car and sing it in the shower the same way I imagine they did decades ago," Grace told Billboard. "I wanted younger generations to feel revived by that.”
Billboard spoke with Grace by phone from her studio in Atlanta about what it was like to work with a legend like Jones, and why she wanted to carry on Gore's legacy.
Her musical influences: “Soul and R&B singers with a message: Lauryn Hill, Diana Ross, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Gladys Knight, and in terms of killer performance, Shirley Bassey. She knew how to captivate a room.”
On doing Lesley Gore justice: “It’s difficult to be a woman in this industry. I’m around men all day. But I know who I am and what I want to do, and this song speaks to that. It’s so important to go after what you want, to be strong. Lesley’s generation paved the way, so I felt like this was a way to say thank you and to keep that momentum going.”
Inspirations: “What Oprah has overcome and achieved is astonishing. Angelina Jolie has real impact on the world. And Taylor Swift is fearless and unfailingly down-to-earth. As a young woman in this business, I look up to her.”
On working with Quincy Jones: “Unforgettable. And he was hard on us. When we played our first attempt at the song at his house, he nodded slowly and said, ‘It’s good, but we have a lot of work to do today.’ He helped us comb through it and get it to where it is.”
All in the family: Did you know that Grace’s brother, Conrad, is the vocalist on Kygo’s track “Firestone?"
Grace's debut EP Memo is out now via Regime Music Societe/RCA.