Hannah Grace is 24 years old and in possession of a voice that sounds like it comes from history, from one of the great records of the 1970s, or 1960s, or 1950s or before. Or after. It’s a timeless voice, one that encompasses the vastness of popular music history – jazz, gospel, blues and folk. Hannah Grace can blow with the force of a gale, or be as delicate as a breeze through the leaves. Hers is a voice that, once heard, is hard to forget.
It’s a voice that stops people in their tracks. Within two weeks of hearing her for the first time, Dermot O’Leary and his team had cleared space for her on his Radio 2 show, simply because of that voice. You might think you don’t know it, but you do. It’s the voice that appears on the version of ‘Praise You’ that has been a radio staple through summer 2017. Instead of treating the song as a dance banger, Hannah Grace brings out the gospel within it, beginning it subdued and aching with melancholy, and ending it leaping octaves – how did she hit that high note?! – and creating something that transcends the original.
Hannah Grace comes from Bridgend in South Wales, and other people have known about her voice for years – like Hozier, who took her out on tour as his support, and Gabrielle Aplin, who released her first two EPs on her Never Fade imprint.