Musician Mylee Grace’s Happy Sun House
Images by James Tolich
Listening to musician Mylee Grace’s new album ‘Whiplash in the Moshpit’, one can’t help but imagine the talented entertainer writing it in nature, near the beach. It’s a dreamy, nostalgic record (don’t be fooled by the name!) that immediately transports you somewhere warm and sunny. For Mylee, this place exists and it has a name - Happy Sun House - a colourful, off-the-grid shack perched on top of a hill on Bundjalung Country in the Northern Rivers. We visited Mylee to speak about the time she spends at this special property, how it informs her creative practice and the many special objects that have come to live under its roof.
“The house and surroundings have an insanely calming effect on me and I find it easy to surrender to deep rest and creativity when I'm here. For a while it was home to our family which is made up of my partner, Ozzy Wright and our two kids Rocky and Goldie. Currently, We’re opening it up for guests to stay and enjoy. We also treat it as our artist R&R retreat, a place to birth and nurture creative pursuits. I love that you can’t help but feel nature at full force when you’re there. Watching wild storms roll in, Eagles flying around at eye level, and the beauty of ever changing light and colour while the day transitions into night.”
“The property has three cozy structures; the Main house, separate bathhouse and studio room. The main part of the house has two bedrooms which consist of a master and a double bed bunk room. The bunk bed was designed and made by long time friend Ryan Cowell of ‘ Magicaxe ‘ for our kids when we first moved in. It wasn’t long before our eldest child who was 12-years old at the time moved out into the studio which is several steps from the main house.”
“The studio room consists of a queen sized bed, a single bed and a velvet Rainbow couch which is a handmade reconditioned collaboration between good friend and upholsterer Paige Miller, Ozzie and myself. The studio room also features art made entirely by the Wright family. Ozzie’s father, the late Ricky Wright and his Sister ( Ozzie’s aunty ) Bel Black share the walls with one of Ozzy’s wall hanging pieces. Even the dress I'm wearing in these photos was hand painted by Ozzie’s talented sister Annie Zawada. (I’m glad our kids have their artistic genetics.) The home is made up of collected objects that all have a story. Some pieces sourced from marketplace, antique stores and flea markets. Handmade ceramics, things that have washed up on the shoreline and pieces that have been in our family home from the beginning. I kept the bed linen quite neutral as there is so much colour already incorporated in the home.”
Even the dress I'm wearing in these photos was hand painted by Ozzie’s talented sister Annie Zawada.
“I started out writing, singing and recording music at home with my mum during primary school. I sang in bands and continued to write music as a teenager. I now have a partner and two kids and we all walk around the house singing funny songs and write together sometimes. Music is part of who I am, it fires me up and I create it as a way of processing the strangeness of life. I've never really worked at making a career out of music until recently. My skill set when it comes to playing musical instruments is very basic however, instruments like guitar, piano and even drums are all allies for my songwriting. Sometimes the melody comes first, a chord progression, or sometimes a lyric line or idea. The way in which songs come to me are often quite random and usually catch me by surprise.”
“When my eldest son was three months old we packed up the family and played support for my partner's band, ‘The Goons of Doom’ in Europe. My talented multi instrumentalist mum came along and played guitar, My partner Ozzie played Bass and Rocky, our baby, was glued to me in a pouch for most shows. We played at Ozzie’s art show in Biarritz, and some small coastal venues in France. It was hard work going on tour with a tiny baby and I definitely wouldn't attempt it again but it was a good experience for an adventurous / inspired 22 year old new mother, that’s for sure.”
When my eldest son was three months old we packed up the family and played support for my partner's band, ‘The Goons of Doom’ in Europe.
“There’s lots of bush walk trails and tracks that wind around headlands here. There are wild open beaches with rugged beauty and protected coves and rock pools just like a scene out of Alison Lester’s Magic Beach. The local fish Co-Op in town is great and has a nostalgic kind of 80’s Australiana charm. There’s a coffee cart next door, ‘Stray Espresso’ that operates most days and serves the best coffee and freshly baked sourdough bread”
“For the rest of this year I’m looking forward to a little East Coast tour to celebrate my Debut solo Album Whiplash In The Moshpit. As the title doesn't suggest, the new music is made up of folksy, indi country hoedown ballads and waltzy numbers that warm the heart and generally don’t often rouse mosh pits. I’m also excited to play at Splendour in The Grass for the first time this year. I’m really looking forward to sharing some live music with a wider audience again.”