These days, rather than be the cool girl at the party, it's far cooler to be girl at the party singing about how coolness is a total sham in the first place (just see Alessia Cara’s “Here” or Hailee Steinfeld’s “Hell Nos and Headphones”). This week, there’s a new anti-in-crowd anthem on the block: “Uninvited,” an infectious electro-pop gem from Australian newcomer Mallrat (born Grace Shaw).
With a sparkling, silvery voice and colorful, wise-beyond-her-years lyrics reminiscent of Lorde, the 17-year-old calls the scene like she sees it: “Smiles are always toothless / But I run out of excuses / So I have to play excited / But I wish that I was uninvited.” However, the song’s best moment comes when Shaw nonchalantly repeats, “Get me off the list / I’ve got nothing on my wrist” atop a slinky synth beat. Here, you can almost feel the cool kids blasting the track at a party, or captioning a #squadgoals-esque Instagram post with the lyrics. Yes, “Uninvited” feels destined to take over the very world it renounces—but that’s all part of the fun.
And if “Uninvited” makes a splash like Shaw’s first Stateside single, “For Real,” did—in July, the breezy, finger-clicked cut hit number one on Hype Machine—the sky’s the limit when her Uninvited EP drops in on August 12.
We talked with Shaw about the moment she realized she wanted to pursue music (spoiler: it was at a concert), her genre-defying “bubble rap,” and writing about being human. Plus below is the premiere of “Uninvited.”
Noisey: How did you get involved in music?
Mallrat: My parents aren’t very musical, but I grew up listening to a lot of music. When I was little, I wanted to be a musician but then I got realistic and kind of lost interest. And then a couple years ago I started listening to [Australian rapper] Allday. He’s my favorite. [When I was 16], I went to one of his concerts, and the supporting act was this guy called Baro, who was 17 at the time. That concert was the best thing I’ve ever seen, so I left feeling like [music] was something I can do, that I want to do. I went home and I worked on some demos, and then I sent them to producers. They ended up actually really liking it and helping me make my first song, which was “Suicide Blonde.”
What’s the story behind the stage name Mallrat?
Actually, I preferred to be called Grace [at first]. I googled it, and I was like, ‘This better not be taken!’ But there’s actually this girl called Grace [Sewell], and she has a song [“You Don’t Own Me”] with G-Eazy. so I had to think of something else. I went with Mallrat because there’s this song called "Mallrats" by The Orwells… it’s really angsty, and I loved it.
How would you describe your own musical style?
I don’t know exactly what genre it is! If I had to give it a genre, I’d probably say pop. But I think it’s got of hip hop and R&B and electronic to it, as well. I like the word “bubble rap,” so I think that could be it.
Your song “For Real” recently hit number one on Hype Machine. What was that experience like for you?
I was really excited by it, because I didn’t really think it would happen! I told my friends, “If it happens, I’ll have to throw a party.” And now I have to!
What’s the significance of the song “For Real”?
For me, [“For Real” is about] that feeling of wanting the best for someone you love, but [knowing you’re] setting yourself up for disappointment [with them] … when you’re not sure they’re going to be okay, but you want them to be OK.
“For Real” mixes a bright piano riff with some dark lyrics (“You didn’t even want to die once this week / And when you’re around I feel less of a freak”). How does this juxtaposition resonate with you?
I really love pop music and happy melodies and everything like that, but when I’m writing, I want to be able to document fucking up and letting people down and all the stuff that’s very human. But now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I just don’t want people to think I”m sad! So I write sad lyrics and dark lyrics and try and hide it with a happy melody… there’s a bit of that, too, I think. But I am a happy person!
What is the song “Uninvited” about?
When I’m around people who are really fake, I feel sick. It’s about that feeling of being really uncomfortable but having to be really nice to everyone, even though there’s no trust or honesty.
What song on your upcoming Uninvited EP means the most to you?
"For Real” or “Tokyo Drift.” When I wrote “For Real,” it felt like a grown-up song. It’s one of those things that you just listen to heaps, and take something different from it each time. I’m really proud of it. Even though that sounds like a wanker thing to say!
Who do you admire most in the industry, right now?
Allday, who I was talking about before. I think he’s so cool. I love M.I.A., Lorde is so cool. And I love Kanye so much. I would love to do something with Kanye one day.
Mallrat’s Uninvited EP drops August 12.
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