Getting Liberated With Yorke

Having announced her presence on the musical landscape over the past few years with her well received singles ‘First Light’ and ‘Wake the City’, emerging alt-pop singer-songwriter Yorke (aka Grace Hughes) has just taken things to a new level with the recent release of her splendid debut EP, the intriguingly titled ‘Liberosis’.

If you’re wondering what it means, read on, as we chat with Yorke about the origins of the L word, as well as a whole bunch of other stuff, including her recent GCMA nominated collaboration with PACES on the track ‘Vertigo’.

Congratulations on your stunning debut EP, ‘Liberosis’. You worked with some esteemed producers and mixers on it. How did these opportunities come about and did they play an active role in shaping the direction and final outcome of the songs?

I’m lucky that I have a great team who help set me up with some great collaborators. I try to go into each session with the elements that define the ‘Yorke’ sound (instead of a reference playlist or something) and work with the producer to see how they interpret it. I often get quite strong-willed in sessions, and aren’t afraid to speak up, which is completely different to my everyday life where I can’t decide what to eat or wear. I really love collaborating though, each person I worked with on this EP brought their own little moment to life. 

The name of the EP, ‘Liberosis’, is quite alluring. Upon googling the word I discovered that it was defined as “the desire to care less about things”. How did you discover it and did you specifically choose it as the title of your EP to encapsulate an underlying theme to the songs as a collective body of work?

I’m someone who really struggles with change so when I randomly came across the word ‘Liberosis’ AGES ago, I wrote it down because I really resonated with its meaning, and then completely forgot about it. When we were in the process of culling the songs down, I realised how strong the theme of letting go was throughout each track, in their own individual ways. I was in a shopping centre with my mum when I suddenly remembered the word and texted my manager – “I’ve got it!!! I know what the EP title has to be!!!”. On reflection, I don’t think it could be anything else, I still love it.

Collaboratively speaking, you recently teamed up with Gold Coast artist PACES on his track ‘Vertigo’, which has been nominated for ‘Song of the year’ at the upcoming Gold Coast Music Awards. How did this collaboration come about? And do you think the track is in with a shot of taking out the gong in a pretty hotly contested field? 

PACES is the best! The goodest of eggs. Mikey (PACES) and I had wanted to work together for ages, but just hadn’t found the right project. I had written ‘Vertigo’ a while back and always thought Mikey would be cool on it. So I was super stoked when he sent through a draft within about an hour. It’s such a fun track and I think we blended both Yorke and PACES worlds really well.

Honestly, I’m so SO damn chuffed the song is a finalist! I was a finalist back in 2015 pre-Yorke and always hoped I’d be back! There is an amazing group of artists nominated, so whatever happens, I’ll be happy. If it wins though, I’m gonna have the biggest iso-party with my parents!

This year the Awards will be very different on account of the current COVID-19 situation, with a virtual awards night taking place online instead. How have you, as a performer, adapted to the very real impact of not being able to play to people in venues? And how are you coping with the concept of social distancing and isolation in general? 

I’m looking forward to watching the awards online with a nice glass of red in hand! 

I think everyone is struggling with adapting a bit. It’s a strange time. On the night prior to the EP release, I did a little live stream performance and Q&A with each collaborator, which was really fun. I guess I’m using this time to practice and hone my craft as a performer. I cannot wait to start playing again though, as well as attending every live gig possible.

In general, I’m really lucky I live on farm land, and in an area where you can do things like nature walks, with no one around. I’m also doing a lot of writing sessions and learning to produce! I got a new mic recently and it’s changed my life. Being able to have these luxuries, as well as some downtime to read and watch Grey’s Anatomy, has stopped me from getting too bogged down in the darker side of my emotions. Things could be worse.

Once things return to normal, what plans do you have for forging ahead with your music?

I’m going to be optimistic and say that I’m really looking forward to my tour in October! I think I’ll do a big writing stint in both Melbourne and Sydney, and also re-plan my UK writing trip (was meant to be in May). I’m a sucker for a good session, so will probably just try make up for lost time. Also…did someone say new music?!

Be sure to wrap your ears around Yorke’s fab debut EP, ‘Liberosis’, which we review in this month’s New Music column.

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