Paul Piticco on why Mallrat’s time for commercial crossover is now [cover story]
Mallrat’s relationship with Dew Process started early on. She was sixteen years old when Harry Young from the labels A&R team discovered the Brisbane singer-songwriter.
At the time she was just singing with beats, doing a bit of self-producing and collaborating. After pitching her in an A&R meeting, the whole Dew Process team were immediately in awe of her artistry and intrigued by the potential her trajectory could have.
CEO Paul Piticco admits [it was a] slow journey to start with, as they took the time to get to know her as a person as well as an artist.
“Thats a big part of what we do. We feel like the personal relationships at the label is just as important as the art itself,” he tells TMN.
With ARIA Gold certification for her singles ‘Better’ and ‘UFO’ featuring Allday, as well as Platinum certification for recent mammoth hit ‘Groceries’, Mallrat’s upwards trajectory is clear to see.
Piticco explains that her honesty and authenticity is a key part of the successful brand she has built.
“Everything about Grace is honest. From her music, to how she holds herself, her opinions and her look, it’s [not] contrived. It’s not manufactured in the pop sense. It’s natural, evolving and growing. I think the honesty of who she is as a creator is what excites me the most about her project.”
With her third EP Driving Music due out on September 6, she has already gained a lot of online and streaming attention with lead single ‘Charlie’.
The tune has also crossed over into commercial radio, with Nova 106.9 in Brisbane and Hit105 in Brisbane both playlisting the track Across The Board.
That support saw the track move up to #70 on the TMN Hot 100, her highest position on the chart to date, bettering 2017’s Better (#81) and 2018’s ‘Groceries’ #80 and 2019’s ‘Nobody’s Home’ feat. Basenji (#77).
“It’s a massive moment for her and I think it’s an indicator to the rest of the radio stations and media outlets in the country to step in, as this song is going to be massive for her. It’s going to have legs.”
“To me, the song is extremely relatable and that’s why I think it’s going to be a bit of a summer monster. It’s going to grow and grow and grow over the next couple of months,” he predicts.
Despite the obvious potential of the track, Piticco admits that upon a first listen, the team at Dew Process weren’t entirely sure that ‘Charlie’ was the right song to kickstart the new project with. But it was Shaw’s determination that ultimately won them over.
“For us, it’s about refining the experiments and helping steer them in the right direction, but sometimes it’s really about the artist being in the driver seat and knowing when to let your own opinion take a back seat. Currently with ‘Charlie’ that was the case.
“We were questioning if this was the right stepping stone. And because it was so emotional to Grace and a song about her life, her raising and her parents she was really insistent about releasing it. So we were like, okay, let’s do it. After all, the emotion, intent and honesty were there, so we were all for it. And it’s resonating. People are loving it!”
The important vision for Piticco and his Dew Process team is to keep artists in the spectrum of advancing themselves, giving support to keep them going in the right direction, while at the same time allowing for real authenticity. And that’s the type of relationship he’s built with Mallrat.
“I feel that with ‘Charlie’, it’s just the right song at the right time. It’s very memorable and that’s what makes a hit song a hit,” he says.
“It’s because people relate to it in some way. Charlie can be anybody to somebody. Everyone wants a Charlie in their life whether it’s a person or a dog. The symbolism of having that person and that feeling of love towards somebody or something is so universal.”
With her growing profile thanks to their strong relationship with Spotify and Apple Music, who he cites as a massive support towards her trajectory, as well as the addition of commercial radio, he admits that their pitching hasn’t changed.
“We’ve always thought she was an amazing creator. The business runs off numbers, listeners, streams, fans, likes, adds to playlists and so on. And now they are all supporting what we’ve always known and pushed.
“She’s going to come into that part of her career where she has a huge audience, has immense credibility and I guess the world is finally catching up to what we’ve known for four years.”
With a back catalogue of strong pop songs like ‘Better’ and ‘Groceries’ that didn’t crack the charts or radio at the time, it begs the questions if she could have a future resurgence with her old singles like Lizzo is currently having on the charts around the world.
“I think it is possible. I don’t know if it will happen in Australia because it doesn’t happen often that Australian radio goes back in time to songs, but I’m not ruling it out because I certainly hope it does happen for her.
“I feel like it’s certainly possible overseas as a lot of these songs are still unknown to them as they haven’t been promoted or serviced to radio. I think there is huge potential there.”
It’s all about the time and place with music, and right now she is proving that she is confidently the artist she was always meant to be.
“Was Grace ready? Was the Mallrat identity ready for the attention? Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn’t. We will never know.
“But all of these things are apart of the stepping stones and building a career and not becoming an overnight sensation and having a huge hit and disappearing and never being heard again. She’s a career artist and I feel that slow build is now paying off.”
“It’s her time.”