Grace Petrie is a folk singer and songwriter with over a decade of experience under her belt. Now, after releasing her first studio album, she is touring the country and using her politically charged lyrics to inspire others. Jamie Walker spoke to her.

FOR many artists a debut album is a momentous occasion, something that you don’t get a second chance at.

But, in many ways, folk singer Grace Petrie is about to release her version of a second debut.

Grace has been touring for 12 years, and has released six full-length albums in that time, however this will be her first studio album.

Another thing that is remarkable about this new album, entitled Queer as Folk, is that Grace raised the money to record it through the crowd funding website Kickstarter.

Even more incredible is the speed at which the money for the album was raised.

A target of £10,000 was set and was reached in less than 24 hours.

“I was completely blown away,” Grace said.

“We put it up on a Monday night and I left my laptop downstairs.

“It was supposed to last two weeks and by the next morning it was already on four grand.”

In the end a whopping £18,000 was raised from the Kickstarter, more than enough to record the album.

Grace adds that she was shocked at the response the Kickstarter received: “It was impossible to gauge how much support there would be but I never thought I’d go eight thousand pounds over.”

While it seems incredible for an artist to raise so much so quickly in order to record an album, Grace prides herself on being a singer who is very close to her fans.

She says that this is something that is important to not only her music but to her personally.

“I think that people who would consider themselves my fans quite like the direct relationship we have.

“They’re not a faceless audience to me, every bit of support reaches me.”

“People like having an acting hand in getting it made.”

The material on the album has a strong focus of politics and also had hints of the LGBT community that Petrie is firmly a part of.

The record has already received rave reviews as Grace prepares to take it out on the road.

And the way she speaks shows how confident she is in her newest release: “I’m really excited for this album, it’s definitely the best songwriting I’ve ever done.

“I feel like I’ve levelled up a bit.”

Over the last eight years Grace has become known for her increasingly politically driven songs.

It was the Conservatives coming into power in 2010 that lit the fire underneath Petrie and made her want to speak up with her hard-hitting lyrics.

“As I’ve got older and more immersed in politics, I know what I’m talking about a bit more and know about what I’m trying to inspire people about,” she said.

“It’s quite a liberating thing when you realise that the way we run society is a decision and that we could choose to run things in a different way, where everyone gets looked after, it’s just about getting people to want to change.”

Grace’s background, before transitioning to folk music, was more set in punk, something else that led to her deep seated want to rebel against authority.

However, she believes that folk can be an equally liberating and rebellious genre: “If you look at a lot of old folk songs they’re massively radical, and that aspect of folk music can merge with the more modern identity of punk music.

“I’m trying to bring my older folk audience to the political side of me and the same with bringing my queer punk scene into folk music.

“It would be a shame if we don’t bring younger people into folk music because otherwise it may not be here in 20 years.”