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WPGM Commentary: Grace Davies Is Excited For New Beginnings On ‘Roots’

I’m Grace Davies. I’m a singer/songwriter and producer from Blackburn, Lancashire. I’m going to talk to you about my song “roots“, how and why I wrote it four years ago and why it’s so important to me now. “roots” is the penultimate single from my second EP i wonder if you wonder, out on November 26.

I wrote “roots” completely by myself on 7th February, 2017. I’d just moved to North London from my hometown in Lancs to be closer to my management, writers, studios & do music full time. It felt like a new beginning, a fresh start, new opportunities and I was so, so excited.

I’d exhausted all that Lancashire had to offer me, performed in every pub, bar, restaurant and wedding venue that would have me. Even venues that didn’t do live music had had my business card pushed through the door, but this felt like I was entering a new part of the industry.

I wasn’t a wedding singer, I was an artist. “roots” is completely about that. The house that I moved into represented all those feelings, and to the boys of my past who think this song is about how in love with them I am – sorry, hun, it’s about a house.

I’m a simple player when it comes to piano. I taught myself when I was 16 and I can’t read music – I barely know what chords are, I just play whatever sounds right in my head. I had these two chords on a loop, C & F – and that’s literally the whole song. For me, it was very much about the topline, the rest was secondary.

Lyrics are the most important thing to me; telling a story and telling it well. I came up with the chorus first which I was actually convinced I’d ripped from somewhere. It was so instantly catchy and felt so timeless – I kept googling the lyrics because I was so sure they weren’t mine haha! Most of the time when I write I have a concept / a song title in mind, but with this, I really didn’t.

After writing the lyrics “let me love you until we’re old, let me love you until we’re grown“, I had to take a step back and think ‘okay, this chorus is super open to interpretation and personal experience, so how can I make the rest of the song relate to my experience? What is it right now that makes me feel this way?’ and it was the house and my career! ‘Cos my roots won’t keep me warm’.

My roots, my hometown, everything I knew and had done throughout my life was just not cutting it for me anymore – and I didn’t want to go backwards.

I had plans to release “roots” independently in 2017. I had started putting songs together for an EP when I was approached (for the fourth year in a row) by X Factor. I kept saying no because I wanted to release my own music and not sing covers – it was then that they offered up the opportunity for me to sing my original songs on the show that I caved and said yes.

“Roots” became the song I auditioned for X Factor 2017 with, and also the song I performed as my potential winner’s song, in the final, with Paloma Faith (spoiler alert – I came second!)

One major record deal and one major label demise later, I just released “roots” independently 4 years after its debut on National TV. I produced it with Marcus Andersson, who is so insanely talented.

He was so encouraging when it came to me being a producer on the track. I’ve always had such a strong vision for the song so being actually able to physically engineer it myself, after teaching myself production this year, alongside Marcus was awesome.

The version that was presented to me in the final of X Factor was so close to what I’d always dreamed of for this song, so I didn’t want to stray too far away from that production wise.

Strings were always going to a huge part of this track and I had such a fun time arranging them with Sally Herbert. They really made the song come to life and this was the first time I’d ever had real strings on a song before, so they really brought all of the goosebumps!

With over 200M views online on my audition video, I knew the fans were always going to love this release. After begging me for four years to release it, I knew it would be a special one but I reeeeeally didn’t expect the reaction it got.

Charting at #28 in The Big Top 40 two days after its release, #4 in the Official Charts downloads chart, #3 on the iTunes Chart, plays on BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, BBC Radio 2, Capital, Heart – all in one week. This song continues to blow my expectations out of the water and it’s been such a journey from start to finish.

You can listen to “roots” below and stream and download it on all the music streaming services here.

Words by Grace Davies // Follow her on Twitter + Instagram

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