Interview with Georgie, an up-and-coming musician who might just be this generation's Stevie Nicks
Nottingham native and Burberry Acoustic discovery Georgie chats about the singer-songwriter's debut performance in Singapore
When I first heard of Georgie, she was one of the top billed acts Burberry was putting out as it launched Burberry Acoustic on Apple Music in September last year. You're pretty much in for a throwback the moment her song This Ain't Heaven comes on, as melancholic musings reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac and Alanis Morissette float in the strain of her voice. With the sonic trappings of musical greats from decades ago, it's hard to imagine Georgie (or Georgie Rose, though she's dropped her second name) to be no younger than 35.
Yet the person sitting next to me on the couch in One-Ninety Bar at the Four Seasons is just 21. Hailing all the way from an old miner's town in Nottingham, she's grown up on a healthy diet of old school records from Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel and Nicks herself, having picked up the guitar at the turn of puberty. To the music scene in Nottingham, she's one of the mainstays, honing her craft in gigs for the last two years. This year, the Sony Music artist performed at the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury 2016 in June, smack in the middle of the Brexit result ("Don't even get me started on that") and will embark on a tour of the U.K. in October to support fellow Nottingham muso Jake Bugg, who she shares a manager with.
Making her Asian debut in Singapore, she's in town to perform for Burberry's 'See Now, Buy Now' showcase. In our quick 15-minute chat, the laid-back lass shares how she got involved with Burberry, her themes surrounding her upcoming debut album and how the growth of her music career hasn't quite sunk in yet.
It's mentioned previously that you picked up the guitar when you were about 14. What sparked this interest in music? Were your parents an influence? They definitely had an influence, especially my mom. I grew up in a house where a lot of records were being played all the time, from Fleetwood Mac and Aretha Franklin. When I was 13, I got obsessed with Elvis — I thought about getting a quiff — and that made me pick up the guitar.
Did you also start writing your own music? I started just learning covers. My mom got me a guitar book with Elvis' songs in it. I learned from Carly Simon and The Mamas & the Papas. I used to come downstairs and put on a little show for mom and dad. My mom was really good at critique, epecially when I started writing. If it were not so great, she would be honest about it. She had a really good sense of music. She doesn't sing or play but she's such a music fan.
Does she still let you know what she thinks of your work now? Yeah. She's not said anything bad yet.
Your influences include the likes of Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin. What contemporary artists are you also inspired by at the moment, and who do you admire? Jake Bugg, James Bay and Christine and the Queens. Most of the stuff I'm inspired by are from the '60s and '70s. Jake Bugg's really confident and controlled. He just owns the stage really, and he's a great guitarist. I like Me and You. I've got a long way to go.
What place do you write your songs from? Your own experiences or a projection of others? The things I sing about have got to come somewhere within myself. Growing up I was quite a shy and quiet person. As soon as I found out I could channel it through music, it's like suddenly I found a way to let these emotions out. The more you mature as a songwriter, you're always looking at people and thinking of ideas for songs, or tapping into people. But most of the time it comes from myself.
What's This Ain't Heaven, your song featured on Burberry Acoustic about? That's probably more on a broader subject. It's just the sense that the world isn't perfect and there are people who will bring you down. The sense that the world you live on isn't heaven, and maybe there's heaven after it. You just have to love the ones you love when you're here.
How did Burberry discover you? They emailed my manager and said they really wanted an acoustic set. It wasn't long after I got signed to Sony. Obviously Burberry's such an amazing British brand and I was totally up for it. I don't know how they came across me. I've watched so many Burberry Acoustics with Jake Bugg and George Ezra, so it was an honour to be asked, really.
An obligatory fashion question since you're here for Burberry: Has your sense of style changed? No. That's fine, I love fashion. I've always thrown on black skinny jeans — I must have about five pairs. A stripey t-shirt. Leather jackets. I do quite like the old school rock and roll. It's a bit too hot to wear a leather jacket here. I've got one packed. Sometimes you have to overheat in it and wear a leather jacket for the sake of rock and roll.
You shared that your first ever single, Company of Thieves, will be released in a few weeks. What can we expect from your debut album then, and when will it be out? It's not an acoustic [album], it's very electric guitar. It's a nice, broad selection of emotions and about growing up. Some songs I wrote not that long ago, some I wrote ages ago. It's all very truthful — that's the main thing I want to get across. It'll be out next year.
How do you think you're going to celebrate that? Drink lots of whisky.
How has your life changed since the video release last year? Well, this is crazy, being in Singapore to play a gig for Burberry. It's massive. I'm still coming to terms with it. It's still not sunk in yet.
Would you like me to pinch you? Yeah, please slap me on my face.
Georgie will be performing tonight at the Burberry showcase in Marina Bay Sands. To listen to other Burberry Acoustic sessions, click here.