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Grace Woodroofe On World Cafe

Australian singer Grace Woodroofe.
Ben Sullivan
Australian singer Grace Woodroofe.

Grace Woodroofe is only 21, but her warm and wise music marks her as an old soul. Born in Australia, the blues-folk singer was discovered by actor Heath Ledger when she was 16. The self-taught guitarist and singer subsequently relocated to California to record and develop her sound.

Four years later, Woodroofe has worked with blues-rock star Ben Harper and signed a label deal. She's toured with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Cat Power and polished her emotive vocals on her debut album, Always Want. It's a whirlwind collection, switching from sultry to stormy to contemplative and back again with wild abandon.

Released first in Australia, Always Wantjust officially made its way to the U.S. this month. Woodroofe's mature style has already attracted comparisons to Fiona Apple and Amy Winehouse, both for her grasp of dark blues and for her commanding vocal presence.

In this session, Woodroofe performs a few songs — including "H," which she wrote about Heath Ledger after his death — and she and host David Dye discuss the effect Ledger's death had across Australia.

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