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Grace Kelly in the Spotlight

June 14, 2019 at 11:51 AM

Year 12 singer/songwriter Grace Kelly has made a mark as a confident performer at College Rock Nights, SKC’s Got Talent and as part of the Chalmers Band at House Music, but not many would know just how far afield her talents have taken her. 

Tim Wilson and a videographer from TV1’s Seven Sharp programme paid a visit to the College last week to prepare a segment about Grace, ready for screening on last night’s TV show. They were curious to know how a Saint Kentigern schoolgirl has become the face and voice for the San Jose, Tourism Board in the USA! 

Grace has always had a love of music. She plays both guitar and piano but considers vocals her main instrument. She has been song-writing for almost six years but recognises that her best work has developed over the last three. She used to write and listen to pop songs, was also influenced by jazz, and while she liked country music, she didn’t listen to a lot of it. This all changed when she got the chance to visit Nashville! She fell in love with country music and knew she wanted her music to have a country sound. 

She is very grateful to her parents for recognising and nurturing her talent which resulted in the opportunity to spend time in a recording studio in Nashville, working with professional studio musicians. 

As a youngster, Grace spent some years living in San Jose and came to love the area. On a visit back to the city she met the CEO of the tourism company, ‘Visit San Jose’ who, on hearing that Grace was a song-writer, suggested she write a song to promote the city. Grace didn’t give it much thought at first, then one night an idea for lyrics and a melody came to her and she finished her song in one night. She said it was easy for her to write as, having lived there, it had a special place in her heart. 

The song was duly sent away and months went by then out of the blue the call came. They loved it and flew Grace out to San Jose in April to film a music video! From Saint Kentigern schoolgirl, Grace was on location around San Jose with a crew of 15 professionals who make music videos as a living. The song was embargoed until its release at a special event on Wednesday night in San Jose, for which Grace was flown back. The theme of the evening, was San Jose, Nashville and New Zealand, so while Grace is promoting San Jose, she’s also playing a part to promote New Zealand! Grace said, ‘I felt so much gratitude towards them for giving me that opportunity and I was extremely lucky that a whole team of people believed in me and my song.’ 

During the visit, Grace was also invited to perform at a sold-out concert at a Californian vineyard and to sing on radio! 

So where does Grace seek her inspiration? She says, ‘I love Taylor Swift's lyrics. For me, it’s the way she writes that is so poetic, and I try take a lot of song-writing techniques I've noticed from her, to put into my own work. At the moment, I’m loving listening to Maren Morris as she's such a fierce woman in Country Music right now. I’m also enjoying the more acoustic-based pop sound of Mitch James.’ 

Grace is also extremely thankful to the support she has received in the Music Department at Saint Kentigern. She said, ‘The NCEA Music Projects Course they run at Saint Kentigern is so amazing for artists like me, where the more theory and classical-based music course isn't quite fitting. It's so amazing getting to come to class and write, record, work on performances, and share songs with each other. I think some may underestimate the value of the course, however, for students like me who want to do music as a career, it provides me more time during the day with help from teachers and professionals to learn more. Ultimately, I wish I could be there all day but the dream is that one day, that will be my reality!’ 

Right now, there is no shortage of supporters hoping Grace’s dream comes true! Well done Grace we love your song!

Click here to watch Grace’s San Jose song
Click here to see the segment on 7 Sharp

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