Music Q&A:
Grace Petrie

The protest singer is embarking on a Christmas tour, visiting Manchester's Night and Day on 12 December

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Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
Somewhere between folk, punk and acoustic music with a political and social focus on lyrics. Most often I get called a protest singer, but I just see it really as writing about my life and the political times I find myself living in.

How have you evolved as a musician over the years?
Politics wasn’t always a focus of my song writing. That is a more recent development of the past seven years. When the government changed in 2010 and there was so much opposition to austerity, and so much protest and resistance going on, I started to get more interested in activism and exploring how my music could be a part of that. And even that has changed within the last few years. I have tried to make a conscious effort to write things that are more uplifting and geared towards positivity rather than just complaining all the time!

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I’m about to kick off a UK-wide Christmas tour, coming to Night and Day in Manchester on 12 December, and in the new year I’m recording my new record for release in the autumn, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of new political songs to get down with, the way things are currently.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
I think the music industry has become quite afraid of anyone who is saying anything that can be in any way divisive; writing about social issues and politics is always going to do that. I think that not shying away from the fact that these issues are hard, they take a lot of chewing over, you will have people disagree with you and walk away forever but that’s a risk that I think is worth it for the one time in a million that a song or a lyric you’ve written can change a person’s mind.

What’s on your rider?

As long as there’s tea I don’t mind. I can live without anything except tea.

Tell us about your worst live show
I once played a comedy festival in Wales that shared its campsite with a small biker festival. My gig was in the music tent that doubled as the bar, and one of the headline comics was on at the same time so nobody came to see me. The only people in there were about six or seven very drunk Welsh bikers who had snuck in from next door and who heckled me all the way through the set.

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