TJ Power and Kathryn Sgroi are an enviable duo, to say the least.
Both holding qualifications from one of Australia’s finest arts training institutions – The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) – in Perth, the pair have enjoyed careers which have spanned film (TJ appeared as Javier Bardem’s son in Eat Pray Love) professional music theatre (Kathryn toured the world with Cats and recently appeared in the acclaimed production of Love Never Dies) and main stage theatrical productions (TJ recently appeared in Les Liaisons Dangereuses for STC and Summer of the Seventeenth Doll for Belvoir).
Add to that a myriad of corporate performances, short films, concerts and commercials and the release of their band’s (yes, they are also in a band) EP, and it’s clear this Sydney-based couple are more than a little talented.
Their band, The Art of Grace (named for TJ’s Grandparents Art and Grace) launched their new 5 song EP – Traveller – last night at The Old Manly Boatshed. Featuring Power on guitar and vocals Kathryn on vocals, along with Mike Walder (columnist Kate Walder’s brother) on Bass and Mitch Bruzzese on Drums, Power explains that the group’s musical journey has been a long one.
“Kathy and I started playing together when she came to visit me in Perth and I asked her to sing a song with me at a gig at the Swan Hotel”, he said. “The first song we sang was called ‘Make the Most of It’, and although it’s now quite an old song, it is still one of our favourites and is on the new EP”.
“It became obvious that my songs sounded a whole lot better with her using her ridiculous skills for harmonising, so Kathy and I then began playing gigs as a duo whenever we were in the same place long enough to do so.”
Power’s passion for music began years ago when he and Mitch Bruzzese used to play together in a high school rock band before he left to study acting at WAAPA in Perth.
“I went and ruined our band by heading west for 3 years!”, he laughed. “But we vowed to play together again, and it was when he came to see Kathy & I play one night that he really got stuck into me about keeping that promise!”
So in 2011 when Kathy was performing in Melbourne’s season of Love Never Dies, the three boys rehearsed in Sydney and awaited her return. The Art of Grace played its first gig at the Old Manly Boatshed in December 2011 and this lineup have fused rock, pop and country sounds, to create Traveller.
Power is thrilled with the album, which was produced by Michael McGlynn at Vienna people studios in Sydney, and admits that he has never been more proud or excited about a recording of his work.
“Describing your own music is tough. It’s not rock, but satisfies those inclined because of Mitch & Mike’s influence. it’s not country, but satisfies those who like country because of Kathy’s voice and harmony. It’s not pop, but I can’t help but write songs that are easy to sing along to”, said Power.
“But I will say it’s good music for driving on the freeway. It’s called Traveller for a reason — all the songs were written on my travels. In Australia and overseas. It’s about getting out in the open and feeling good. Simple!”
Power and Sgroi will be out of the country for the next few months, but rest assured we will be hearing more from The Art Of Grace soon. If you haven’t been lucky enough to see the band live, the new EP Traveller is available from cdbaby.com from TODAY, and will be released on iTunes very soon.