Gretta Ray

Singer-songwriter Gretta Ray kicked off her career with a bang. In 2016, she was honored with the Vanda and Young Global Songwriting Prize among also winning Triple J Unearthed – an Australian online radio station and music discovery platform. In 2021, she released her debut record Begin to Look Around which scored nominations for an ARIA Music Award for Breakthrough Artist and a J Award for Australian Album of the Year.

Ray has been making moves in the industry since her acclaimed debut and has released the deluxe version of her album Positive Spin, appropriately titled Positive Spin+. We sat down with the artist to discuss the deluxe edition and much more.

Hi! Thank you for taking the time to chat! First, tell us why you wanted to go back and re-release this album as a deluxe.

Hey! Thank you for having me. I wanted to release an extended version of my sophomore album Positive Spin because I wrote so many songs for the album and really felt as though songs like ‘Roses’ and ‘Better’ belonged on a version of the album’s tracklist. They are some of the earlier songs that I wrote with my dear friend and collaborator Gab Strum, who I made the majority of the record with.

Can you dive into your new single “Roses”? What inspired it?

Gab and I wrote “Roses” in 2020, in the depths of one of Melbourne’s many lockdowns, over Zoom and AudioMovers. It was the second song that we had ever written together, and the lyrics describe how much I was longing to be back in London. I had moved to London at the beginning of the year and had planned to be there for a while, but instead had to rush home before the Australian borders closed. I have been traveling to London since I was 18; I’m very attached to the version of myself that the city brings out in me.

What was your favorite part of creating Positive Spin+? Any stand-out memories?

Writing for this album was a longer process than I imagined it would be, but I have so many standout memories. I particularly loved writing songs “Don’t Date The Teenager” and “Can’t Keep It Casual” – they were very euphoric writing sessions. I loved the summer I spent in London writing for the album. I wrote “You’ve Already Won” during that time and it perfectly captured how I was feeling over the course of that month.

What are some of your favorite lyrics that you’ve written for this album?

Hmmm… I love “museum self-guided tours, music is mine and it’s yours” in “You’ve Already Won.” I wrote that lyric about going to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, which I have been to a handful of times now. Going to that museum makes me feel like a tiny, tiny dot in the music industry which is an extremely grounding and wonderful feeling. I am reminded that while music is both so deeply personal and hugely significant to me, it is also this universal connector that unites millions of us and belongs to us all. Mine and yours, and far bigger than me. I also love the lyric in “Positive Spin,” “take in the view, you’re doing it: all that you set out to do” – it’s a very rewarding lyric to sing when I’m playing a show.

I want to talk about the title track, “Positive Spin”. How did you decide on that being the title track for this album as well?

I already had the title in mind before I wrote the song! I had become attached to Positive Spin as an album title, and went into a session with writer-producer Alex Hope, with the intention of writing a song that would sum up the overall theme of the album. I also knew that it would be the opening song on the tracklist. There is a recurring theme of optimism, seeing things through a glass-half-full perspective, and making lemonade out of lemons throughout the 12 tracks that make up this album.

What is your favorite song from this album and why?

I love them all dearly for different reasons! I do love “You’ve Already Won” a lot because I gave that song extra love in order to ensure it would make the album – it’s also become a fan favorite, and one that is incredibly fun to perform live. I also have a real soft spot for “Nobody Here,” and I am immensely proud of “Heartbreak Baby” as a pop song.

What 3 songs would you choose to soundtrack your perfect day?

Well, as I’m answering these questions, I am currently on holiday in Japan and have just had a perfect day at Osaka Castle, where there is cherry blossom everywhere! I’ve had these three songs in my head all day: “cherry blossom” by Kacey Musgraves, “Cherry Blossom Girl” by Air, and… why not, I’ll plug my own song with a cherry blossom reference and say “Heartbreak Baby – Acoustic,” hehe.

You have a headline show coming up this May in London! How exciting! How pumped are you? What can fans expect from this show? Are more tour dates on the horizon?

I’ve been looking forward to this show in London since the moment I finished playing my last one back in November, so I’m very excited! Fans can expect a few different songs from the last show… I’m looking forward to playing “Roses” in London for the first time. A few days after the show I’ll be playing The Great Escape in Brighton, which I’m really looking forward to as well.

How do you feel that you’ve grown as a musician since your last album release in 2021?

I’d like to think my voice is stronger now, and I also think I’ve gotten better at writing pop songs. Because my live show is a lot more demanding now, it’s longer, and the songs are more challenging to sing, I’d also like to think that my stage presence has, hopefully, improved with all of the shows I have done over the past few years!

Lastly, what do you hope listeners take away from your music? 

I’ve written a lot of songs about focusing on the light amidst the darkness and learning to look around and appreciate all of the magic in your life. I really hope that my music can help people feel a little lighter, and thankful for the things in their lives that they might usually take for granted.