Great Southern Nights presents Gretta Ray
Positive Spin comes to you bathed in golden light, a hazy sunset of love and heartbreak, growth and understanding. It’s an infectious album, full of beautiful moments of classic, emotive pop from Melbourne’s Gretta Ray.
2021's Begin to Look Around captured the magical sound of an artist coming into the world. Positive Spin matches the energy and melodic-high of the best-selling debut with a new layer of complexity. Ray’s confidence, and capacity for reflection and grace resonate across her second full-length release. Positive Spin is charged with the rosy glow of “optimism… Songwriting is so therapeutic, and my way of moving through my emotions has been to put a positive spin on my experiences”.
From a Triple J Unearthed win in 2016, to the Vanda and Young Global Songwriting Prize, it’s hard to imagine a more impressive start for Gretta Ray. Her 2021 debut album Begin to Look Around was nominated for both an ARIA Music Award (Breakthrough Artist – Release) and a J Award (Australian Album of the Year). Add to that a sold-out headliner tour in 2022, an Australian arena tour supporting Gang of Youths and a viral - moment - with her poignant and entirely breathtaking cover of Billy Joel’s Vienna on TikTok (a dazzling high that has so far hit over 20 million streams globally, and half a million creates across socials).
Making pop music this good isn’t easy - there’s a commitment to and understanding of the form, the way to capture an audience’s hearts as well as bodies that comes from hours of performing, creating energy and connection on stage. The beats are electrifying, holding time and building momentum for the lustre of the melodies and the power of Ray’s vocals. Seemingly effortless and often playful, Ray knows just when to be soft and conspiratorial, and when to soar; finding perfect pop-coated moments to lift you up again and again.
Listening to the chorus of Heartbreak Baby feels like running into a friend on the dancefloor who is one drink ahead of you and just glowing and owning the space. The album's production strikes a delicate balance, blending textured layers of sound without feeling too busy. It's a skilled use of variation and intensity that never overwhelms. The sound is cohesive, a just-right balance of trusted partnerships and new collaborators.
Ray says of the process: “the energy that you create, and the relationship that you create with the songs in that studio environment is the foundation of everything”. It’s a powerful sentiment, when working with the likes of Alex Hope in Nashville, Evan Klar, Hailey Collier, Justin Hayward-Young and Caroline Pennell in LA and Omri Dahan and Maestro ‘TheBaker’ in London, alongside Gab Strum, Robby De Sa, Hamish Patrick and Josh Barber here at home (their combined key credits include Troye Sivan, Carly Rae Jepsen, MAY-A, Mallrat, Blusher, George Alice, Yungblud, Demi Lovato and Rihanna).
Positive Spin does what every sophomore album hopes for, it both extends and refines the work of the artist. The tone and agility of Ray’s vocals give her lots of room to play, and her maturity as both a songwriter and a performer is evident. Her last album brought with it a sold-out headliner tour, and support shows to arenas nationally - a real baptism by fire when it comes to honing your craft.
Ray feels entirely at home in herself with this album, making and embracing her best and most honest work yet: “Being in pop music and being a woman in pop music… your perception of where you’re at can get very warped. I’m starting to really settle into my mid-20s… I feel stronger now than I ever have… I am so much more equipped to do the job now, and to be this person now… I feel really empowered by the knowledge that I have gotten, over the years of experience that I have had in this industry”.
Great Southern Nights 2024 will take place from 8-24 March 2024 featuring more than 300 gigs across 17 nights throughout Sydney’s inner city and Western Sydney, as well as shows in seven key music communities across NSW, including Tamworth, Wagga, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Northern Rivers.