Meet: Katie Grace – The North East’s Taylor Swift

Thomas Jackson @ TyneSight

With a gentle tone and beautiful melodies singer/songwriter Katie Grace is based in the North East of England. Now with a full band behind her, she is set for her first headline show at The Engine Room, North Shields. We found out a little bit more about this up and coming North east star.

Give us a potted history of yourself

I’m a singer songwriter who grew up on the North East coast, which is an amazing place to be for music right now – there’s so much incredible stuff happening here with artists like Sam Fender coming up in recent years and brilliant independent venues hosting gigs constantly. I’ve been part of a music project for young people called Standing Upright for five years, somewhere that introduced me to other creative young people and industry opportunities.

I’ve been busking since I was 11 and gigging since 12, and I released my From the Wildflowers EP in 2021. For that I was a finalist for Youth Music’s Lyricist of the Year, and this year I was awarded the Alan Hull Award, a prestigious grant given to a young North East songwriter – that’s allowed me to work on new releases and a gig and I’m so honoured to have earned it. 

Who inspired you to start making music

My great-grandma’s 60s electric piano always stood in the living room growing up – nobody in my family played but I would sit and hit away at the keys until I started lessons, which gave me the grounding to start making up my own little tunes – I enjoyed that a lot more than learning written music off a page.

My dad is a huge fan of classic rock, 80s and country music so I was surrounded by music from Def Leppard to Little Big Town to Belinda Carlisle. When I was nine I bought my first album, Taylor Swift’s 1989, on my iPod – I think what all that music has in common is it tells stories. I’d been writing stories since I could hold a pen, so it seemed inevitable to me that I would combine them with music just like Taylor did – and when I was 10 or 11 a school songwriting project was the catalyst for that, so I also have my teachers to thank.  

And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically

Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour came out when I was 13 and I listened to it on repeat during the summer of 2018. I’d been writing pretty often up until then but that was the album that really made me realise that I could see songwriting as my career. I just gravitate to music like that – the whole album is full of beautiful arrangements that really sound like the messages told in the songs; that’s why I love Bon Iver’s self titled album from 2011, which I discovered last year, because even though I still have no idea what the lyrics are no matter how many times I’ve listened, you can feel the stories through the music. 

If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say

Probably a combination of Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega and Taylor Swift, especially during folklore and evermore; they’re comparisons I get a lot from audiences at gigs! I like to think there’s a bit of the classic 70s singer-songwriter in there, lots of live-feeling guitar and piano and I love to layer rich harmonies like Lizzy McAlpine does. 

Tell us about your forthcoming single

Tangled Up is my new single due out in April/May. It draws on the typically close-knit North-East experience, growing up in the coastal towns with everyone knowing everyone and seeing people I’ve known my whole childhood becoming adults. When I wrote this song about a year ago, my best friend’s 17th birthday party was a way for me to really notice this shift, with the song told through the lens of scenes I picked up on that night; people running down a dark street singing Wolf Alice’s Don’t Delete The Kisses, crying on chairs and conversations under the wind chimes in the backyard. These same people have been tangled up in my whole life.

I got home and wrote the first idea for the chorus on my hand at 1am. And to hear it grow from a song on piano, to guitar, to all the instruments you can hear on the single has been an ironically similar sort of journey, a song I’ve stuck with until it’s become something wonderful. Those same wind chimes are sampled in the song, so it’s really a full circle of a track. 

Where can we get hold of it

It’ll be out on all streaming services, and I really hope to put out a new EP by the end of this year with physical copies!

Tell us how you write

I usually have an idea about something I want to write about playing on my mind – it has to be something I feel passionate enough about to put into song. I’ll sit at the piano or with my guitar, sometimes with a musical idea I’ve had saved in my voice memos, and just play along, singing words that match the story I’m trying to tell, until something sticks. I’ll keep on adding and adding, trying to play in clever rhymes but keeping the message clear.

I love weaving in metaphors and catchy melodies and crafting a journey, where it feels like the song has a wholeness and is a completed tale by its end. Tell us about your live show? What would be your dream gig? At the time of writing, I’m about to put on my first headline gig with a band – it’s with people who I’ve been playing with for years and I’m really excited by the arrangements we’ve figured out, hearing what they think my songs could use.

My dream gig would be supporting one of my favourite artists or bands; maybe Maisie Peters or Boygenius. It would mean I have an audience of people who love the music that inspires what I write and that I know are a lovely community. Plus I’d get to meet some of my musical heroes!

What can we expect from you in the near future

The release of Tangled Up in spring, hopefully followed by another single and an EP (once my A Levels are over). And then I’m moving to London to go to music school! It’s going to be so interesting to see how my writing grows and changes from that, and the opportunities that’ll come up. 

Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus / stereo

I’ve really got into Jeff Buckley’s Live from Sin-e album recently, it’s a brilliant live album from an artist whose writing I really admire. Especially playing his guitar with so much skill, it really lets the songs grow and fly in such a beautiful way. And I’ve been listening to a lot of Boygenius – I’m going to see them in August so I’m really looking forward to their new album the record!

Check out Grace’s track Thunder, below:

The Katie Grace Band headlines The Engine Room, North Shields on Monday March 20, 2023.

Tickets are £7.50. Visit




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  1. […] Read our interview with Grace here […]

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