Mallrat Talks Songwriting, Kanye West and New EP 'Driving Music'

Michelle Pitris
Mallrat

This Mallrat won't be trapped. 

Grace Shaw, the precocious Australian talent known as Mallrat to her growing legion of fans, is many things. A feminist and a vegan with a keen eye for a thrift shop bargain, a self-taught producer, award-winning songwriter, a recording artist. 

You get a sense the 20-year-old from Brisbane is only getting started. And with the release of a new EP Driving Music, out last Friday via Nettwerk, and a north America tour kicking off in the days ahead, Mallrat has huge ambitions.

“My dream is to work with Kanye, he’s my favorite,” she tells Billboard. “I’d like to write or produce some songs for other artists. More than anything right now I’m just pleased for this EP to be out in the world and for people to hear it.”

Mallrat has already lived the dream. She toured with Post Malone in Australia last year, and Maggie Rogers in Europe. She hangs out with Mark Ronson and calls Allday her roomie when she lives in Los Angeles. 

A passionate songwriter, Mallrat last year won a coveted Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition award in the “unpublished” category, for the song “Better”. Another song from In The Sky EP, 2018’s “Groceries,” earned the Aussie the “next big thing” tag and a warm reception from a slew of critics.

“I love (songwriting) so much. It’s so rewarding,” she enthuses. “Just the feeling when you leave the studio and you’ve made something you like, and in the car you just listen to the song over and over again. That is the best feeling in the world.”

Driving Music is six tracks of honesty with hues of nostalgia, all wrapped around warm melodies. Its highlights include “When I Get My Braces Off,” a gift to her younger sister; “Drive Me Round,” Mallrat's so-called “baby,” her first song produced without any support; and the single “Charlie,” a piece about all the good things in life, with a proper bounce in its step.  

Mallrat’s maturing and she’s in a great place. “I feel like I’ve figured out how to use my voice, whereas before I was just singing but I didn’t feel that confident in my voice. I think I’ve figured it out a little bit more now and become better at production and figured out some subtleties in songwriting. I’m growing in lots of different ways.”

Mallrat kicks off her tour of the U.S. and Canada with Allday on Sept. 18 at Chicago’s Subterranean. 

Stream Driving Music below.

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