Melbourne-based singer, songwriter, producer and accomplished stage actor Grace Cummings just released herself-produced sophomore album entitled Storm Queen, out now on ATO. The artist will finally hit North America beginning with a line-up of performances and showcases at this year’s SXSW. Following her week in Austin, she’ll hit the road supporting Ezra Furman. The tour kicks off in Los Angeles at the Teragram Ballroom on May 19th and wraps up at Thalia Hall in Chicago on June 1st. A full list of tour dates is below. Today, she also shares a video for “Heaven,” live with her band from Melbourne. In the video Cummings’ unmatched voice is on full display – a powerful and expressive deep alto that is capable of unbelievable nuance in the quiet moments and grit and urgency when used to its full power – its a tool few songwriters can wield with such mastery. 

True to its title, Storm Queen is a body of work with its own unruly climate, governed only by the visceral quality of Cummings’ spellbinding and devastating vocal presence, as heard on stage opening for the likes of Weyes Blood, Evan Dando, J Mascis and more. With most songs captured within the first few takes and featuring unexpected flourishes by Cummings’ peers in Melbourne, the album showcases a vast and volatile emotional landscape from one of the most captivating folk artists to enter the scene in years. Storm Queen will be released on January 14th on ATO Records, and follows Cummings’ understated debut album Refuge Cove, which was released in 2019 via King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s Flightless Records.

A near-lifelong musician, Cummings got her start as a drummer in a series of high school bands whose repertoire largely consisted of AC/DC and Jimi Hendrix covers. As she began writing songs of her own, she mined inspiration from artists like seminal Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly, Bob Dylan, and Spiritualized frontman J Spaceman, as well as from the traditional Irish folk music her father often played at home. “Irish melodies are some of my favorites; they go to such dark and dramatic places,” she says. Soon after striking out as a solo artist in the late 2010s, Cummings landed a deal with Flightless Records (a Melbourne-based record label founded by former King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard drummer Eric Moore). Having attended drama school, she’s also spent much of the past decade performing in the Australian theater, and recently played the lead role in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Joanna Murray-Smith’s Berlin. Noting her eternal fondness for Shakespeare—“If anyone wants me to play Hamlet, I’ll do it”—Cummings has found her lyrical sensibilities indelibly informed by certain literary influences. “To me poems and stories are sometimes more of an inspiration than music, because they don’t give you a melody: you have to just imagine your own,” she says. 

Over the years, Cummings has matched her idiosyncratic musicality with a deliberately spontaneous approach to songwriting. “I don’t really do that thing where I lock myself away and sit down at a table like, ‘Right, let’s write a song now,’” she says. “If I feel like I have something I want to write, I just get it all out in the moment.” And in the studio, Cummings remained wholly committed to following her deepest and most immediate instinct. “I’m not precious at all about recording; it just doesn’t make sense to me,” she says. “I am who I am and I sound how I sound, and I’m not really interested in going in like some kind of magician to try to make it sound any different.”

In the making of Storm Queen, Cummings reinforced the self-possessed naturalism at the heart of her artistry, ultimately distilling her vision down to its most elemental essence. “In the past there were times when I’ve let other people’s opinions affect me too much,” she says. “But with this record I learned that I’m allowed to influence myself instead of taking in anyone else’s ideas. I learned to completely trust what I see and hear in my head, and I stuck with that and just focused on creating what I love the most: something real and raw and ugly and beautiful.”

2022 North American Tour Dates 

*w/ Ezra Furman

5/19/22 – Los Angeles,CA – Teragram Ballroom*

5/21/22 – San Francisco,CA – August Hall*

5/23/22 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile*

5/24/22 – Vancouver, BC – Hollywood Theatre*

5/25/22 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom*

5/26/22 – Garden City, ID – Visual Arts Collective*

5/28/22 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre*

5/30/22 – Des Moines, IA – Gas Lamp*

5/31/22 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line*

6/01/22 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall*

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