There's something a bit fishy going down in the F Word studio. Oh wait, it's just Sydney singer-songwriter-producer grentperez who made his way from across the world, and had a jolly old time with us in London.
Today marks the release of his latest single Us Without Me, where Grant explains how it "takes on the perspective of a person who’s lost their love to someone else." Love seems to be a narrative that floods across Grant's work; you can really feel that he feeds off the people around him, and uses that as the catalyst to inspire music to make you melt through laid back listening.
The video echos a Toy Story-esque theme; think Andy's Bucket O Soldiers and Rex the dinosaur (if you haven't seen it, where have you been?!) F Word editor-in-chief Maisie Jane Daniels wanted to continue this child-like narrative through to the shoot by utilising a cartoon sky as a backdrop to a surreal scene; think the weather report but with fake fish. This, amongst other fish-themed scenarios, was captured through the lens of London-based photographer Morgan Hill Murphy, and sticking it all together (quite literally) was F Word beauty editor and makeup artist, Emilie Louizides.
Post shoot F Word's Rachel Edwards caught up with this super soulful song-maker to talk love, dropping out of university to follow his dreams and Mr. Bean...
Rachel Edwards: Hey Grant! What’s been the highlight of your time in London so far?
Grentperez: Honestly, I’m a big sight seeing guy. Walking around is enough for me! The scenery is quite different than it is in Australia so I’m already amused just walking around.
R.E: I hope you’re getting the fridge magnets for the family.
G: Yes, you already know it!
R.E: I was stalking you earlier actually and I loved the Mr Bean post so much. I thought Mr Bean was such a British thing, but I guess he is worldwide.
G: Aw dude, I made it my absolute mission to watch Mr Bean's Holiday before I left for the UK the first time.
R.E: What a film! Actually, I am trying to convince people that popcorn can be used as croutons in soup, but it's not catching on. What’s one thing that the world doesn’t ‘get’ yet but Grentperez does?
G: I’m not sure if a lot of people do this but dipping bread and butter into hot chocolate is the best bloody thing ever. It’s so good, trust me! Toasted, untoasted - either way, so good.
R.E: (Laughs) It sounds weird but I’m going to try it. Maybe this will become a thing at your shows - hundreds of people just dipping bread in hot chocolate. Moving on, ‘Old with You’ is such a beautiful song - you’re super young, but your lyrics have such depth. Do you feel like an old soul?
G: Yeah I think so. I definitely grew up a little bit older than my age. The gap between me and my siblings is quite large. Me and my oldest brother are 12 years apart. I feel like I grew up with a bit of experience of what it's like to be their age.
R.E: What were you like as a child? Were you outgoing, were you the naughty one?
G: I was the nice one! I feel like my brother and sister had to go through the trial period of seeing what they could and couldn't do. I was super chill apparently. When I cried I cried in silence.
R.E: Umm, I’m not sure that’s healthy!
G: I think when I was 6 years old we were at a dollar store sitting by the toys and my parents said that I couldn't have this toy car and we left the store and they thought I was fine until they looked into the pram and they saw me silently crying.
R.E: (Laughs) I hope they bought it for you in the end! Obviously a lot of your songs are focused on love. Have you been heartbroken?
G: I’ve been with the same girl since my first relationship, we broke up in the middle but we got back together. So I don't think I've experienced a full, proper heartbreak. Hopefully I don't! But in saying that I definitely have lived through other peoples experiences. To some of my friends and to my girlfriend I seem to be the therapist. I do like to listen to other people's stories. I definitely gain experience through them in a way.
R.E: Yeah, you’re like ‘hold on, I know you’re telling me about your trauma but let me write this down this is a good lyric”.
G: (Laughs) Exactly!
R.E: Do you think being in love inspires you when you’re writing?
G: The experience of love is definitely motivating. I think just having someone there in general, whether it be a relationship or a friend, it’s enough to keep you going.
R.E: Yeah I agree, there are so many types of love aside from romantic love. I heard that ‘Clementine’ was inspired by ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ which is such an amazing film. If you had the ability to erase people from your mind permanently, would you use it?
G: No! It was pretty evident with the movie that you will meet them again. I would hate to put my body through the trauma of meeting someone that's an arsehole again you know?
R.E: Do you have any other films that have left a deep impression on you?
G: ‘50 First Dates’. Oh, and ‘Bedazzled’. It’s about the actor making a deal with the devil but it’s so funny. And a recent movie - ‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once’ is a great film.
R.E: And when you started to make music, did you know you wanted to make a career out of it or were you just doing it for fun?
G: It was mainly just jokes at the start. I knew that I could sing and I knew that I wanted to sing because my siblings had encouraged me to do YouTube but it was just a means of putting myself out there for lols. I never thought I could make money out of it, until midway through year 12, the final year of high school when I was like ‘wow I am doing stuff’ and people started knowing me.
R.E: Are your family musically talented?
G: My siblings are the singers and the guitarists, but my parents are more listeners… although they do go crazy in karaoke!
R.E: What are their karaoke songs? What’s yours?
G: My karaoke song is by Brian McKnight and it's called ‘One Last Cry’. My mum's song is the Carpenters, ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’. And my dad’s song is ‘Desperado’ by the Eagles.
R.E: Oh my god I thought you were going to say Desperado by Rihanna, that would be amazing!
G: (Laughs) That would be crazy!
R.E: So you were studying before you dropped out… What did your family say, were they supportive of your choice?
G: Obviously following the stereotype of being from an Asian family they wouldn't really want me to drop out, but when they saw that I was able to make a career out of it they started to trust the process more. I told them that I have my head on straight and if I don't make it in two years I'm going to go back to university without a doubt. I think it took a bit of convincing but their hearts are in the right place.
R.E: And are you strict with yourself? Do you have a regime or do you work intuitively?
G: I go through random sporadic moments of intense motivation where I’m like ‘fuck yeah’ - waking up at 7, cold shower, gym! But then naturally I fall into a rut where I'm like ‘ok today I'll just do this, that's productive, cool’. It doesn't feel the best when you finish the day but it's alright, we gotta treat ourselves, we gotta chill a bit.
R.E: I know it's hard to keep those things up! I was trying to listen to those motivational videos but after a while they do seem a bit overwhelming. The things that are like ‘you’re a wolf’ in an intense voice. I was like, hold on, I don't want to be a wolf anymore!
G: (Laughs) Yeah, I wanna be a rabbit or something! I want to just sleep!
R.E: Yeah way nicer! What’s the best feedback you’ve had from an artist who you covered?
G.P: I think the best thing I can get from people watching the videos is that they've said that I have a really good way of making a song my own. I'm happy that I can show a piece of myself through someone else's music.
R.E: And is there an artist, dead or alive, who you would love to cover one of YOUR songs?
G: I feel like If Norah Jones would cover a song of mine, that would be crazy.
R.E: You’re also very fun on social media, what’s the goofiest thing about you?
G: I feel like I always have my brain switched on for really dumb comments! I very much enjoy ad-libbing off someone else. That's my form of comedy. I think I've nailed my timing.
R.E: It's all about timing! And obviously you built a career on YouTube. It's such a private way to record and put music out. When you started to tour and play live to big crowds was it scary or have you always been confident?
G: I feel like I was already really happy to be on stage. I use the same mentality of my YouTube videos where it's like take the piss but perform well.
R.E: How do you manage to use TikTok without getting distracted by it for hours on end?
G: You think that! I'm terrible. I'm an Instagram reels boy. But I do post on TikTok quite a bit. It's hard on TikTok because I do want to create a presence there but I'm trying to find my rhythm, I don't want to be too standard TikTok template thing. I want to be original. It's safe to say I do get distracted, don't be fooled!
R.E: It gets us all! So thinking about ‘Conversations with the Moon’. What is one thing you’d like to talk to the moon about if you had the chance?
G: I would really like to ask what the moon has seen. I think being in space is just crazy as a whole observational thing. I would love to ask about what the moon thinks about human interaction. Is it a positive experience or is it a negative because I know that there's a lot of hardship that's been going on currently. And what does the moon think of that - is it like ‘these guys are idiots, what are they doing’?
R.E: Oh my god now I want to give the moon a microphone and watch a full interview with you both! I always think, because we pretend the moon is cheese, does it pretend that we’re a certain food?
G: Aw dude, I think so! The earth would look delicious from up there!
R.E: Healthy, nutritious, until you get close and then you’re like oh it's falling apart! What cheese would you want the moon to taste like?
G: I'm so bad when it comes to ingredients and food and stuff. There's a shredded cheese I just grab from the fridge sometimes and put in my mouth. I think it's mozzarella! So nice!
R.E: (Laughs) -Do you remember the first time a fan approached you?
G: It must have been at a shop, a high school student was like ‘I love your YouTube videos’! And I was like ‘Ah!’. I had like 50,000 subscribers at the time.
R.E: And now you’re in Times Square! Do you see yourself moving from Sydney or staying there?
G: Ideally I would love to stay there. It’s very versatile. The music scene and creative scene is making its rise up! But I could see myself living in other places momentarily. If I could afford, New York would be fun. But London is definitely doable!
R.E: London’s very addictive! Once you’re here the pace is hard to leave! What would you say to your younger self who is just uploading his first YouTube video?
G: I would say get your harmonies right! (Laughs). I wouldn't say much, I’m very happy about how things turned out and I'm a believer of learning from your mistakes.
R.E: That's so important. Failing is so important or you don't progress! And what are you most excited about at the moment?
G: I'm excited to get the EP out and reel in some more people! And live performances are so much fun, I can't wait to meet people in person!
R.E: Have you had one performance that's stood out to you so far?
G: I’ve had a few. I feel like my show in London was crazy. Both nights were insane. Toronto was crazy. I base my performances on the audiences!
R.E: Where are you going next?
G: Heading off to the US. I'll be completing the tour that I started last year! Finishing the job basically!
R.E: What can fans expect from the new EP?
G: I really do believe that there's a song in there for everybody. I know it's cheesy to say but it's true. I feel like there's songs that are upbeat and rock-ish about friendship. There's also a disco track that my parents love and I guess other people's parents love. And an r&b track!
R.E: It sounds so exciting!
G: Even in regards to topics and song themes, there's nostalgia, heartbreak, love, loss, getting back together blah blah blah!
R.E: And lastly, what is your favourite F-word?
R.E: We haven't had that yet!
G: As if no one has said frog! What's yours?
R.E: Wow, no ones ever asked me before, maybe fizzy! I like sparkling water, and it could be an adjective- I’m feeling fizzy, I’m feeling excited.
G: (Laughs) Fizzy is so good!!
gerentperez is heading on a US tour in July alongside Cavetown, mxmtoon and Ricky Montgomery (Bittersweet Daze Tour). Check out more music here.