“It’s a gorgeous day and I’m just sanding away at my little boat,” says Grace Royse, speaking to me from Los Angeles. Her boat, she adds, feels a bit like a tour bus: “That rocking motion, but without the braking, the rumble strips, and 11 other people bumping into me. It’s only about 30-feet – a good, moderate-sized beginner’s sailboat, but she needs lots of TLC so there’s always a project.”
Sometimes while working on the boat, Royse says, she’s sorting through the puzzle pieces for the concerts she’s handling simultaneously. “I’m working on the engine, or sanding her interior and suddenly I’m like, ‘Shoot. I need to ask the fire marshal about something’.”
Still, sailing and maintaining her ride helps her maintain a “perfect balance,” one reflected in the diverse jobs she’s taken on (and continues to take on) in audio.
During her career Royse has served as a front of house and monitor engineer, studio owner and recording engineer, production and stage manager, Pro Tools operator, broadcast mixer, and in many other positions. Over that time she’s worked with artists such as No Use for a Name, Ms. Lauren Hill, Fitz and the Tantrums and Sublime with Rome, as well as on events/shows that include the Super Bowl, U.S. Open, Good Morning America and Ellen.
Regardless of the gig Royse never obsesses about job titles. “That comes back to my network and the values we have. It’s about being a well-oiled machine,” she explains. “This is a service industry and we’re really good at providing a service, whether that’s for an artist, event, tour, or rehearsal. If you get on site and you’ve got an A1 who’s also PM (production manager), you may find yourself doing some A1 stuff, or flying the left side of the PA before the tour is over. Is that a terrible skill to have? I understand doing gigs parallel to your rate, but it’s great to be looking to where you can go next.”
In her network, notoriety (i.e., who you’ve worked for/with) is secondary to how you work in any capacity on any job, she notes, referencing a recent Offspring tour as an example. “I’d gotten calls asking me to come out and participate, but there really wasn’t any predefined role. I got out there and was surrounded by production management royalty. And I’m thinking, ‘They don’t need my help. But it really boiled down to being accessible to everybody’.”