Last week, 18-year-old Melbourne student Gretta Ray won Triple J’s “Unearthed High” competition. Last week, I hadn’t heard “Drive.” Oh what a difference a week makes.
In February the youngster released her unassuming debut four-track EP Elsewhere, receiving critical acclaim for her astounding vocal control and masterful song writing. New single “Drive” has an undoubtedly bigger sound than those first offerings, channelling elements of indie-pop, folk and country with the help of award-winning composer Jonathan Dreyfus and Nashville-based producer Josh Barber (Gotye, Archie Roach).
The big melodic hooks come in the chorus but the verses keep the same lyrical sharpness and Ray still retains her uncomplicated, conversationalist vocal delivery the likes of which conjure comparisons to Regina Spektor and Sheryl Crow.
Currently touring as part of Japanese Wallpaper’s band, Gretta Ray is set to record her debut album in Nashville after she finishes high school. At five minutes, “Drive” flexes some serious song-writing muscles and shows why she took the “Unearthed High” title.