Coby Grant is a singer and songwriter based in Berlin, who has recently appeared on television in Germany and about to tour their own music in May. Back in April 2011, there were in Australia preparing to leave for their big music adventure and while in Adelaide, South Australia slipped into the kitchen of The Wheatsheaf on a Sunday arvo for a brief chat about their plans.
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(Transcript of Coby Grant chat below, check to delivery in audio)
IMAGE CREDIT: Beck Rocchi Photography (EPK/Supplied)
Also, while in the archives a little of a chat recorded with Jamie Lawson back on 1st April 2015 – days before their hit Wasn’t Expecting That was released across Australia to be an instant number 1 charting tune. Lawson is about to release their latest album – The Years In Between – in a few weeks, so felt a good time to chat some of them talking about their earlier work and having Ed Sheeran as a new boss (back then).
SHOW NOTES: Coby Grant episode
Where to find the show to subscribe/follow:
- PlayPodcast – this link directs you, to the Podcast app on your device 9subscribe to not miss an episode)
….or you may prefer to Search “radionotes Podcast” in your favourite podcatcher.
FEATURE GUEST: Coby Grant (3rd April 2011)
- Official Site
- Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – YouTube (including recent covers)
- I Need to Know (I Could) (Spotify)
- Winter Bear (Links To)
- Charlie – Live at The Promethean (Soundcloud – bootleg)
- Newton Faulkner (Official Site)
- Bon Aqua – TV Commercial (YouTube)
- Hailey Calvert (Official Site)
- Something Borrowed – Grant’s cover’s Album (Spotify) and iTunes here
…as for Coby Grant’s new album, will update with link here once out.
Also from the Archives: Jamie Lawson (1st April 2015)
I’m a sucker for cake
In The Box:
- Ferla (Official Site) I’m Fine (Official Music Video) Album Pre-order (Pozible)
- Liv Li – Bloom The James Yammouni Remix (Official Music Clip)
- Regurgitator – Pogogo Show Theme (Official Music Video)
- Delsinki – And There Was Found, No Place For Them (Bandcamp)
- Blake Babies – Innocence and Experience, re-issue through American Laundromat Records
Next episode guest: Mosquito Coast
- Sweet Talking (Official Music Clip)
More details on playpodcast here, thanks to Matt from them.
Theatre – worth seeing from where I sit:
[Radio Production – notes: Only 29 minutes, this episode. Both chats are from the Archives for In and Out Qs, email me and will get you on the weekly list – to make it all a breeze]
Theme/Music: Martin Kennedy and All India Radio
Web-design/tech: Steve Davis
Voice: Tammy Weller
You can make direct contact with the podcast – on the Contact Page
For direct quotes check to audio, first version of transcript by Lezie L at REV
Tammy Weller [Introduction]:
Coby Grant originally from Perth, Australia…. now based in Europe.
At nineteen was studying medicine, when they decided to travel one side of Australia to the other – to Melbourne – to follow their music dream.
A Song About Me, to date is one of their most popular tunes… they also captured hearts with Winter Bear, a tune co-written with a Grand-parent about a still-birth.
Recently, they’ve found a huge and new audience through appearing regularly on German television in a music contest. From that released an album of covers, that highlight their unique vocals.
Number of years ago Coby Grant toured through Adelaide, South Australia and played The Wheatsheaf Hotel. Before the show she slipped into the kitchen and sat on the bench to speak with John…
John Murch: From WA to Victoria, straight through to the world, it’s Coby Grant who joins us now. Coby, thanks for joining us in the kitchen of The Wheatsheaf Hotel.
Coby Grant: Yeah. My absolute pleasure. It is very glamorous in here, isn’t it?
John Murch: Absolutely. You wouldn’t believe that they actually work with gold benches in the back of the Wheaty. That’s what they do. Firstly, the excitement, or is it just nerves of heading overseas?
Coby Grant: There’s no nerves, it’s kind of, it’s bittersweet, in a way, because I am really excited. On one hand, I’m really excited, I’m going over, I’m gonna just, you know, go where the music’s taking me, and follow my dreams. But on the other hand, I am leaving behind people that I love, and a home that I have made in Melbourne. But I never feel … I’m not nervous about it. Traveling has never made me nervous, or being by myself has never made my nervous.
Coby Grant: So, it’s mainly just really excited about it. I’m not thinking about the day I leave until I have to leave.
John Murch: Is it a love or a passion to be by yourself? Because it’s only whilst your by yourself, you know yourself.
Coby Grant: Well, that’s true. Yeah, that’s actually very clever, I might steal that line away. I don’t know, I think it’s … Sometimes I think it’s because what I do is so social, you know, with the music and also the way that I love to talk to people. When I’m playing and after I’m playing, I always want to converse with, you know, the people that come and see me. So it’s kind of always up, up, up, and so when I do have alone time, it feels nice to relax a little bit and unwind a little bit.
John Murch: What do you find about yourself in that space?
Coby Grant: You know, I know myself really well, so I don’t think I’m … I always had a really strong identity of self, and I think that came from my parents, and always just being, you know, confident within myself. I’ve never wondered about, you know, “Who am I? Oh, I must travel here to find out who I am.” I know who I am, and I feel very blessed. I just find alone time is just relaxing.
John Murch: What about WA? Because that’s a home in itself, as well.
Coby Grant: Yeah.
John Murch: I think it’d be a miss of you not to accredit WA to your success, really. The time to think, as you’re saying, by yourself, as well as creating music there.
Coby Grant: Well, WA’s my home, you know? That is always where my heart will be, and I hope that I do end up back there. But it’s, you know, it’s a beautiful place, but it’s just not where I can, you know, do music, unfortunately. But, you’re right, it’s where I started, you know? That’s where my first gigs were when I was 16 years old and waitressing at some place, and they gave me a shot on a Sunday afternoon. So, that is where it began, that’s where I started singing, and singing lessons and guitar lessons. So, you’re right, it does … it’s very much a part of me.
John Murch: It’s very scenic as well, WA. I’m very much looking forward to spending some quality time in my retirement there.
Coby Grant: Oh, yes. Well, I hope I spend my retirement there too. I’ve never … I’ve traveled the world, and I’ve never seen beaches quite like, you know, the West Coast of Australia. So, I’m, yes, very blessed.
John Murch: Let’s talk about the song that I am affectionately calling Need to Know.
Coby Grant: Okay.
John Murch: I could. That’s what I’m calling it anyway. What’s inspiring some of these newer songs at the moment?
Coby Grant: Well, they’re always about me, and things that are happening to me right now in my life. I never write songs about other things, ’cause they just come out sounding a bit contrived. So, that one is very clearly about, you know, this trip, this going away. You know, I need to do it, because if I don’t, if I don’t go overseas, if I don’t try that, then I will feel as though I do have that regret of not giving everything a go that I could’ve.
John Murch: But the song itself bythe way, it’s not actually called Need to Know, it actually-
Coby Grant: It has no title yet.
John Murch: It has no title.
Coby Grant: I wrote it two days ago.
John Murch: Yeah, I’m so just claiming that as the title, so we know together.
Coby Grant: Need to Know, that’s pretty good.
John Murch: Need to Know, in brackets I Could.
Coby Grant: Need to Know (I Could) All right, I will put that into the running.
John Murch: Are you leaving a lot behind?
Coby Grant: I feel as though I’ve always been something of a nomad anyway. I mean, I left my home, Perth, when I was 19, although I have, you know, beautiful friends, and, you know, Melbourne is a wonderful place to live, I only miss people, I don’t miss places as much. It’s the people that I miss. So, I am leaving, you know, I’m leaving another life behind that, you know, is a different one, and a different path, and I wish that I could live them both, but I have to choose, and music and my passion is leading the way.
John Murch: Also leading that drive is the, and some people don’t like talking about this, but I’m going to, the commercial success of Song About Me, which is a bit of a catalyst for this tour.
Coby Grant: Definitely. When, you know … Not only … I mean, that song’s been incredible for me. The publishing company that I have in Melbourne, GaGa Music Publishing, they got that one in both the Scandinavian TV commercial, and now the Ski yoghurt commercial. It’s also been in a couple of Australian TV series, it’s just been so good for me, that song, and yeah, I mean, the commercial success of it has been great. There’s nothing wrong with commercial success, I wish I had more of it.
Coby Grant: I’m not, you know, I’m not doing this for that, but it does help so much, as an independent artist, especially. Those opportunities, you can’t get them anywhere else, those licensing opportunities are fantastic.
John Murch: One of the clear top 50 bachelors, and please keep on voting for him, he’s number … well, he’s 33 years of age, his name’s Mark Sholtez, he’s performed with Sting. His licensing stuff is driving his music as well, of course, Packed to the Rafters is his cash cow.
Coby Grant: His song, Packed to the Rafters, song, the main song-
John Murch: He’s had many a song on it.
Coby Grant: Oh, on it, okay. As an independent artist, that is where we can make some money. Because touring on the road is very difficult, you rarely … You know, breaking even is a success, and it’s only because you’re just investing the money straight back into publicity, and getting around, and playing the shows, and everything that goes with it.
Coby Grant: So, licensing is not only this mass exposure that, you know, is hard for an independent artist to get, ’cause the commercial radio stations won’t play us, unless we’re signed. You know, the community ones, although very supportive, they just don’t have that mass, you know? So, the licensing is incredible, and although we would do it for free, I would do it for free, it is great to get that money to come in to put straight. Of course, we put it straight back into our music, like everyone eats.
Coby Grant: It’s a small business, and so, I’m fully expecting a loss for the first few years, but I’m just putting it all back in as much as I can.
John Murch: He’s performed with Sting recently, and you’ve performed with Don McLean.
Coby Grant: True, but I would’ve swapped, because Sting’s probably better. I think Sting is huge, you know? Sting is one of-
John Murch: He’s into the same yoga as well, the-
Coby Grant: Bikram.
John Murch: Yeah.
Coby Grant: Ah.
John Murch: Down on Pultney Street, before his gig, he was there doing it.
Coby Grant: Doing Bikram, yeah.
John Murch: Yes, with the ladies, and being such a gentleman.
Coby Grant: Oh, there’s hardly any guys, actually. It’s majority women, so good on him. The Don McLean shows, I was … I only unfortunately got to do one. I mean, fortunately, ’cause that was great, but I wish I’d got the whole tour. The actual support, she was … couldn’t do that one night, and so it was the best opportunity for me.
John Murch: Let’s talk more about Coby Grant, and things that she loves. Dogs.
Coby Grant: Yes.
John Murch: You’re a dog lover, aren’t you?
Coby Grant: Oh my God, I love dogs.
John Murch: Puppy love is a way of explaining Coby’s biggest smile that she ever has.
Coby Grant: Yeah. I have … Recently my partner decided to get a puppy, and I’m not looking forward to the day that I leave Charlie, that’s his name, but I’m-
John Murch: Sorry, the partner or the dog?
Coby Grant: No, the dog.
John Murch: Yeah, forget the partner, it’s all about the dog.
Coby Grant: Yeah, no worries about him. No, I … It’s just crazy, I think … I had dogs all growing up, we had family dogs, and I guess being away for that long, and not wanting to get a dog, ’cause I travel so much, and not wanting to … you know, it’s not fair to the animal. But, I just forgot how much pure joy an animal can bring you, and he just brings me that every day. It’s only been two months, he’s still a baby, but I just love him to pieces. I could just eat him, but I love dogs anyway, I’m a big dog person.
John Murch: It’s not a maternal thing, is it just a bonding, between partners as well?
Coby Grant: I think it’s maternal. Yes, he’s my baby. I’m his momma.
John Murch: A dog in another life, right?
Coby Grant: Yeah. Yeah, it’s maternal.
John Murch: Let’s talk about a lyric, if we may.
Coby Grant: Please do.
John Murch: The lyric that I have always called to be seductive, intimate, and highly romantic, “You love how I taste.”
Coby Grant: Yes.
John Murch: How dare you write one of the finest lyrics in the world.
Coby Grant: I don’t know, I think, yeah that is kind of … I just slipped that one right in there, don’t I? But, it is, it’s very intimate, you know? ‘Cause everyone has a different taste, and only who you choose to share it with knows.
John Murch: That’s obviously the follow-up to the lyric that appears in [inaudible 00:09:00], which you played later in your set, “Almost the taste of your lips.”
Coby Grant: Yeah, the taste of your lips.
John Murch: How strong is a sense of taste over sight?
Coby Grant: I think, you know, you can’t … it is, it’s much more intimate, that’s for sure. But we, you know, us humans, that is how we share our love for each other is kissing. So, you know, I think, I always … I mentioned kissing, and the lips, and hearts quite a bit.
John Murch: It also reflects on a couple of extra pounds. I recon the extra pounds are around your heart more than they are around your waist.
Coby Grant: Well, thank you very much for that. No, it’s only … Actually, it’s only recently that I have accepted that those extra pounds are never gonna go anywhere, because I do enjoy eating and drinking.
John Murch: Because of taste.
Coby Grant: That’s right, because taste is good.
John Murch: That is absolutely right. You’re a very positive person-
Coby Grant: Yeah.
John Murch: A very happy person, and surely there’s times where you haven’t been.
Coby Grant: Yes.
John Murch: How does songwriting actually help that to keep it in line?
Coby Grant: Songwriting is the release of anything positive and negative, and feelings. So, whenever, you know, whenever something comes up, and I feel something strongly, then that always comes out in a song. So, I think … I mean, I do think that I’m quite positive, but everyone has their moments as well.
John Murch: Because a lot of the songwriters that I think you enjoy are more of an upbeat nature, or at least are thinking in a positive way. I’m thinking you mentioned today, Newton Faulkner, for example.
Coby Grant: Yes.
John Murch: And extremely talented writer, but not really willing to bring the negative. He’s on a focus, he’s on a path, he’s on a story of positivity.
Coby Grant: Yeah, yeah. You know, and I’ve always believed in putting that … those positive … that positive energy out there, and you will get back what you’re putting out. So, you know, I know that I write about believing in yourself, and what you are trying to do, and that doesn’t just apply … you know, obviously that’s why people can relate. Because although I wrote it about my own journey, everybody has a journey, and, you know, nothing just comes for free. It is hard work sometimes, so we need to stay positive.
John Murch: Let’s just check in here. So, you’re heading overseas on a pretty much one-ended ticket, one-way ticket.
Coby Grant: Yes, one-way ticket.
John Murch: So obviously no idea when you’re coming back.
Coby Grant: No.
John Murch: Is there particular goals that you’re setting for yourself?
Coby Grant: Yes.
John Murch: How high are they? And what are they?
Coby Grant: Well, this is my big go. This is the go that I’m … you know, I’m going over there, and I just achieved, you know, success over there, because of the song being in the commercial, and also my songs got played on some major German radio stations. So, releasing a CD in Germany will kind of be the combination of all that stuff, and hopefully, it is successful.
Coby Grant: So, I mean, my goal is to be in a place with my music where I am not doing anything except the performing and the writing. You know, I would like to sit back from having to do the other work, which, you know, people really don’t … they don’t know about it so much, which is the booking of the shows, the publicity, the promotion, the logistics, organizing tours.
John Murch: But it’s kept your music organic over the years, though-
Coby Grant: It has. It has.
John Murch: And kept it real.
Coby Grant: But now it’s time, you know? It has been … It has done that, and I don’t regret the journey that I’ve taken, and, I mean, I’ve had to learn the business. So, you know, I’ve got my business hat on, but it’s a fine line between being businessy, and thinking of yourself as a brand, and how to get out there. I’ve constantly been on the computer promoting, and I love the internet, but I hate the internet at the same time. ‘Cause without it I couldn’t do what I do, but sometimes it just gets overwhelming, it’s a never-ending to-do list kind of thing.
Coby Grant: So, my aim is just I wanna be successful enough that I have a team that looks after that stuff, and it can be … The best part of all is the playing, that is the best. It’s like this state of complete joy that I am in, and if I can do that all the time, and just, you know, be able to write and not have to worry about the other stuff, that’s my goal.
John Murch: The internet is changing the music scene, as people will say, is now online, and the music has to be put online it seems. We’ve gone to the days of the LP, I think not, but it’s a changing landscape.
Coby Grant: With this new … you know, the new way it is, there’s always gonna be people who wanna buy the CD, like me, I want to. But, I kind of think that it’s great that you can’t make as much money as an artist, you know, all the big labels and the big artists, they’re all up in arms, because they’re not, you know … everyone’s getting their music for free.
Coby Grant: What it means is that people are gonna spend the money on coming to see you live. So then, if you can’t cut it live, you’re gonna be cut out. So all this crap that you hear on the radio, you know, it’s not gonna make any money for them. So if they can’t sing live, it’s gonna be … So, I’m hoping it does a full circle back to real musicians, you know? So, there’s still real musicians out there, of course, and even out there on the commercial scene, of course, but, I just want it to cut all this Auto-Tune crap out.
John Murch: Let’s hear a tune live from Promethean, it’s called Charlie. This is just a guitar and you on stage, no band. Let’s just hear how good this stuff can be live.
John Murch: That’s Charlie by Coby Grant, who joins us for a quick chat here this evening at the back room in the kitchen in The Wheatsheaf Hotel. Obsessed with some woman called Hailey Calvert, who is she?
Coby Grant: She is-
John Murch: Should I be obsessed?
Coby Grant: You should. Find her, YouTube her. She is just a girl in Brisbane, doing her thing, you know, just independent musician. She’s supported me, was organized by the venue bookers at a show in the Gulf Coast, and I was just mesmerized. That rarely happens to me, I’m quite judgemental, and I cannot remember the last time I found a female singer-songwriter that I loved. I do find a lot of guys that I, you know, love their voices, but she’s incredible. She’s like a more bluesy, Eva Cassidy, and she can play, she’s like John Mayer on the guitar. It’s incredible. You’re going to be obsessed with her, so I’ve started stalking her and everything.
John Murch: Really?
Coby Grant: Well, she informed me that we were in fact already Facebook friends, and she was following me on Twitter, and I was like, “Well, I’m about to return that, sister.”
John Murch: So her name’s Hailey, H-A-I-L-E-Y. Calvert, C-A-L-V-E-R-T.
Coby Grant: Yes.
John Murch: That’s where you stalk her, you go and hear.
Coby Grant: Yes, please do stalk her.
John Murch: Now one of the taglines of Coby Grant and this self-marketing that you’ve been doing, is Coby Grant is my friend, Coby Grant be my friend, that kind of thing.
Coby Grant: Yeah.
John Murch: Obviously following up on the whole MySpace phenomenon that died a little, and is doing whatever it’s doing. That’s worked, marketing genius.
Coby Grant: Well, I guess I didn’t want to … you know, you need to be aware of what you’re selling. Unfortunately, you do need to be aware of what you’re selling, and I’ve decided long ago, that I don’t wanna sell anything that’s not real. So, I want to sell just myself, the way that I am, and I was like, “Well, how am I gonna do this?”
John Murch: Warts and all, as well.
Coby Grant: Everything. So, I find that this way, I can relate to people more, because I actually personally write the emails out, and I’m always keeping people informed, and I like to talk to people too, you know? I want them to know who I am. I write, you know, I’m very candid, and, you know, I’m … that’s … I want them to know that they are my friends.
John Murch: The album you’re working on at the moment-
Coby Grant: Yes.
John Murch: Is it an album, not an EP?
Coby Grant: Album, yep.
John Murch: Okay. Who can we look forward to finding in those liner notes when we buy the LP record?
Coby Grant: Same producer that I’d worked with, with my other EP’s, Anthony Resta.
John Murch: Yep.
Coby Grant: He’s a guy based in Boston, in America. He’s worked with Elton John, Duran Duran, Shawn Mullins.
John Murch: Just some average people, really.
Coby Grant: Yeah. But that isn’t why I went to him. I went to him, because I find him through listening to an independent musician’s song, and being like, “Who produced that?” So, he’s an incredible man. He’s crazy, in a good way, and he’s just got the best out of me. He did a song about me, and he did I Know That I’ll Know. He’s done … When you find someone that you can work with, it’s hard to, you know-
John Murch: He’s also matched, I think it was him, the rhythm section of your work, with the rhythm of your voice, in which your voice, of course, is the key to your music.
Coby Grant: Yeah.
John Murch: That’s not always possible.
Coby Grant: No.
John Murch: No hit singer-songwriter’s playing their guitar and singing, and the rhythm section is just there.
Coby Grant: Yeah, yeah. He-
John Murch: Special guy.
Coby Grant: He’s amazing, yeah. I love everything that he does, and I can’t wait to get back there and record in the studio with him again this year.
John Murch: He brings some musos along as well, does he? Or will you bring some musos?
Coby Grant: He is a multi-instrumentalist.
John Murch: There you go.
Coby Grant: So, I do, you know, piano, guitar, vocals, some percussion, and he does everything else.
John Murch: Coby, thanks very much for catching up for a chat. Been an absolute pleasure.
Coby Grant: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
Tammy Weller [Outro]:
Her original music is being re-released, post appearing on Germany TV and a brand new album out late run 2019. There is already an album of covers already out called ‘Something Borrowed’.