Guest Playlist: Grace Woodroofe shares the songs that inspired a new “Beginning”

Grace Woodroofe

Singer/songwriter Grace Woodroofe has re-emerged after a hiatus of eight years, and we’re so pleased she is back. You might remember her from her previous moniker, R.W. Grace. “Beginning” is the first track back from Grace, and it was written as she emerged from the trauma of a long-term relationship.

“Beginning” has lush folk/pop sensibilities, stripped back with Grace’s haunting vocals paired with delicate keys. This is an emotional and personal portrayal of the beginning of the end of a relationship. The atmosphere is built upon with the addition of strings and backing vocals.

About the track, Grace writes: “I had written many resentment songs when I first began the process of writing this album. They were the easiest to write about and sit with. When I sat down to write ‘Beginning’, I knew it was time to depict the stages that came before the anger. The bargaining, denial and desperation I had to keep things going was an important phase in the story, and a key part in grief. Holding onto key memories, moments and feelings, in order to divert the pain.”

“Beginning” was recorded with ARIA nominated producer Xavier Dunn (Jack River, Peking Duk). Grace’s first album (Always Want) was produced by the legendary Ben Harper. In a sweet reunion, Ben had Grace on the support slot for his recent run on shows in Australia last month. Grace will be performing in Melbourne and Perth in late March and April. Dates are below.

This is one for fans of Julia Jacklin, Cat Power and Sarah Blasko. This is the first track to be released from Grace’s upcoming second album, so we can look forward to more music from her in the coming months (hopefully!).

Grace has curated her a playlist of songs that she has drawn inspiration from. Crank it up and enjoy some lush sounds.


1. Mary Wells – “My Guy”
When I started writing this record, these old 60s devoted, “my man is all” style songs were so eye opening to me. I never heard them in that way before my experience with emotional abuse. Romanticising the ups and downs as ‘tests’ to see how strong you are, clinging on to the passion, this devoted, no holds barred declaration of your commitment.

2. Karen O – “Ooo”
“Don’t tell me that they’re all the same / Cause even the sound of his name
Carries me over their reach / Back to some golden beach
Where only he remains”

That lyric and the raw delivery stabs me in the heart on every listen.

3. Dusty Springfield – “If You Go Away”
I identify so deeply with the desperation and bargaining told in this story. The reality of begging someone to stay, even when they treat you like you don’t matter.

4. The Shangri-Las – “Past, Present and Future”
The movement in the vocal delivery absolutely stops me in my tracks. I hear the emotion more so from the talking, which is like poetry or a diary entry.

5. Irma Thomas – “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)”
This is an incredibly accurate portrayal of loving someone despite them treating you bad. Thinking that deep down there is a deep connected love beneath the pain they must be feeling to inflict it on you.

6. Dreamliners – “Just Me and You”
I hear a hint of disaster imminent in this song, which I like to play with in “Beginning”. Although I’m singing about the profound love I felt, there’s a foreboding danger ahead.

7. Pond – “Holding Out For You”
The theme in this song of waiting for someone, moving on but still holding out hope, resonates with me so deeply. There’s a longing that things will return to normal despite trying to move forward with your life which I battled with.

8. The Shirelles – “Baby It’s You”
“You should hear what they say about you (cheat, cheat)
They say, they say you never, never, never been true (cheat, cheat)
Whoa, doesn’t matter what they say
I know I’m gonna love you any old way
What can I do when it’s true?
I don’t want nobody, nobody, no
Baby, it’s you”

No matter what anyone says, they have their hooks in you and you have your blinkers well and truly narrowed on the person you love despite outside opinion.

9. Mariah Carey – “We Belong Together”
Pure pop production masterpiece with exquisite melody and lyrics. I love this song so much.

10. Ms. Lauryn Hill – “When It Hurts So Bad”
Every line in this song so perfectly articulates my experience.
“But how could this be love / That make me feel so bad?
Gave up my power / I existed for you
But whoever knew / The voodoo you’d do?”



March 25th – The Workers Club, Melbourne Tickets
April 24th – The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth Tickets

 You can keep up todate with Grace Woodroofe via her Website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Header image credit: Jody Pachniuk

Bruce Baker

Probably riding my bike, taking photos and/or at a gig. Insta: @bruce_a_baker