Wonderland.

GEORGIA

The internationally-inspired commander of the dance floor.

Georgia - Singer and commander of the dance floor - Spring 2019

Top SHUSHU/TONG.

Georgia - Singer and commander of the dance floor - Spring 2019
Top SHUSHU/TONG.

Taken from the Summer 2019 issue of Wonderland

There’s a moment in singer-producer Georgia’s “Started Out” when, without warning, you’ll through time and space. It’s the moment when bass groans take over the track, so tangible you can register them in your throat. It’s not long until they give way to panicked alarms, and Georgia’s harmonies howl with all the operatic drama of high priestess, Kate Bush.

It’s an all-consuming moment; an aural experience so intense the other senses cease to matter in those few seconds. Ecstatic isolation is what the London-born artist deals in, with the sound of her forthcoming second album Seeking Thrills forged on club dance floors the world over, where the sound-systems obliterate small talk with BPM.

“The whole record is very inspired by dance music, and the history of it and how it filtered into pop.’ Georgia tells me when we meet during her residency at Golborne Road’s Laylow, not far from her home for the North Londoner. “As a kid I was surrounded by lots of different types of music. Growing up my dad would be playing techno, house… RnB, and pop from the 80s… then also hip hop.” Her mum encouraged the household eclecticism with Joni Mitchell, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and Georgia was introduced to a sonic universe where she could draw connections between individual artists and their mutual producers and influences.

Top SHUSHU/TONG.

Top SHUSHU/TONG.

“I got fascinated by music and fascinated with how a record is made and that’s lived with me and it’s influenced my education,” she tells me, having studied West African music at the School of Oriental and African Studies. “Listening to Missy Elliot I was like, ‘Wow Timberland and her are adding Indian classical samples or African vocals, how have they done that?’ It’s because they were listening to so-and-so from Nigeria or the West Coast… Then I worked in a record shop after… As a result the music I make is genre-less.”

She’s right, and in the weeks that follow my first listen to Seeking Thrills, I’m dissecting her style to anyone who will listen. A thunderous strength like original Bad Girl M.I.A. melts into the kind of melancholia made for the club you’d expect to hear from Robyn. Don’t forget “brave and fearless” Kate Bush – although, how could you – with her taste for theatrics imprinted all over the record. Georgia and Bush have the same penchant for a flourish, whether that’s a choir’s worth of layered vocals or an elasticated synth-line, drooping into another dimension before it snaps back and propels you into orbit.

The album rolls between Fragile electronic, like the longing “Ultimate Sailor” and fiery anthems that are undeniably made to move your body to; the Shygirl collaboration “Mellow”, for instance, is particularly grubby and references the ultimate pairing of trips to Tenerife and sipping amaretto. “An important part of it was to go to clubs and experience the dance floor,” Georgia explained. Travelling across Europe, she picked up production notes in Germany, Spain, Lithuania and Serbia, feeling “upset” and “frustrated” with London, a city that no matter how much you love it, won’t ever show much affection back.

Top TOPSHOT, trousers NASTY GAL, shoes DR MARTENS

Top TOPSHOT, trousers NASTY GAL, shoes DR MARTENS

Despite finding inspiration after dark in every corner of the continent, she tells me the album was made through a period of sobriety. “My parents split up and you know, we’d been a family for 24 years and suddenly it was all kind of ending – not ending, but a massive chance,” she explains. “I spiralled out of control. It’s not like I was an alcoholic but I was definitely abusing on some level, it just wasn’t me. So I decided to give it up and see how long I could go.”

The turbulent time came alongside the release of her eponymous debut record in 2015, when she first ventured onto the stage as a solo artist after drumming for the likes of Kwes, Kate Tempest and pop troupe, JUCE. Four years later, the decision to clear her head for Seeking Thrills is audible; where Georgia had a spiky defiance announcing its arrival to the world, Seeking Thrills has consideration introspection and an urgent danceability.

“I was more disciplined, that’s the word,” she settles. “It’s hard because sometimes you do have to compromise and there is a real experimental side in me that would just get carried away and I had to say, ‘You’ve got to be a songwriter here, you’ve got to really think about the songs.”

Top SHUSHU/TONG, trousers LEVI’S, boots TOPSHOP

Top SHUSHU/TONG, trousers LEVI’S, boots TOPSHOP

That’s not to say Georgia’s taken a minimalistic approach. She’s allowed herself those aforementioned flourishes and a whole host more. On “The Thrill”, a voice surfaces and sighs; the kind of voice that invites you to ride technicolour roller coasters with names like Miami Fever and Gravitron at a funfair. There’s level-up game sounds dotted all over and insistent percussion that could land track “Never Let You Go” in indie territory. Though she’s had to exercise some restraint in the studio, Seeking Thrills feels like a guided tour around the internal archive of Georgia’s mind, exactly where she thrives when she’s on the dance floor.

“I’m quite in my own headspace actually, it’s a moment of release, a moment of feeling free and it’s a moment of feeling,” she enthuses. “A dance floor is a very powerful feeling having that many people in a room sharing the same beat and sharing the same heartbeat… It is so important and when I’m on that dance floor I feel something that I don’t feel in my everyday routine. I feel happy. I feel sad. I want to be ecstatic. I also want to meet someone. It’s like for a moment in time you can really lose yourself.”

That unification without communication is something special, but as Georgia explains, nothing new. “The most inspiring thing was seeing all of the Chicago footage in the early to mid 80s where you saw all these house parties… Because you can be whoever you want to be on that dance floor. The music accepts you because it’s about the party – it’s about having a good time… Seeing that in actual fruition, going to nights where you have queer people, you have trans people, you have people from all different backgrounds from all over the world, it’s inspiring. London is a very cosmopolitan city, so we see that anyway, but going to places like Lithuania and seeing a very different society, those nights which are put on by people with an open mind are still really important.”

It’s exactly the environment Georgia’s hoping to cultivate for her live shows; inclusive and electrifying. “We’re going to mess up the music a bit and make a positive vibe, get a disco ball,” she tells me with an excited grin that I mirror straight back. She’s even thinking about dedicated dance floors. If she builds it, I have no doubt people – in their myriad forms – will come.

Hair and Makeup
Poppy France using Paul Mitchell Invisiblewear, Kjaer Weis + 3ina
Photography
Mikayla Miller
Fashion
Jessica Gardener
Words
Lily Walker
GEORGIA