When you hear Georgia’s new album ‘Euphoric’, she wants you to feel liberated. It’s a feeling that fizzes throughout the entirety of the Londoner’s third record: it’s in her ethereal vocals, the scintillating choruses and the confidence with which she delivers every line. It mirrors, she says, the mission she set herself at the album’s genesis several years ago.

Lead single ‘Euphoric’ says it all. The track was initially inspired by working alongside Rostam Batmanglij, co-founder of Vampire Weekend and producer (Haim, Clairo), and being in his studio “thinking ‘fuck, this is so cool I get to do this’. It was a completely liberating feeling,” she tells NME in a London pub ahead of the record’s release. “It just felt like: ‘oh, I can make the right decisions’”.

This early exploration of the world of ‘Euphoric’ came before Georgia had even released her critically-acclaimed second album ‘Seeking Thrills’ in 2020. Described by NME as “a jubilant celebration of the dancefloor”, the sweltering tracks acted as a moment of escapism during the pandemic, transforming kitchen discos into nightclubs. Later that year, the album was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize 2020.

Credit: Will Spooner

Yet despite ‘Seeking Thrills’ picking up speed, Georgia didn’t feel any pressure as she started to casually work on its followup from her own home studio, sending the foundations of the songs over to Rostam, and later returning to LA once lockdowns allowed it to collaborate again in-person. “The process of making a record takes so long anyway for me, because I do it all myself, that by the end of it, I’m ready for another adventure,” she says.

There was no attempt to conjure similar magic either. “After ‘Seeking Thrills’ came out, there was a certain…” she begins, pausing slightly before picking up, “suddenly the trend was dance music, and it was all about the club, which is great. I just felt like, me personally, I was ready to experience something else.”

For Georgia, some of the elements of dance music fuelled escapism that permeated ‘Seeking Thrills’ became less like jubilation, and more like running away. “The experience of going to LA, I confronted a lot of aspects of my life, and I definitely felt like I was perhaps redefining what escapism was. I want to make a life, rather than hide from life. Life is beautiful actually,” she says. “Even though we’re told a lot of the time that things are shit in the world – which they are – and that we need to do this, we need to do that, we need to be better, that can have such an insular negative effect on your mind, that makes you miss everything that’s out there.”

Being in LA inspired a “liberating optimism” that guided this new mindset, and influenced further experimentation. They worked with new sonic textures and made it sound “technicolour”, she says. “We weren’t confined to trends, TikTok trends, all of that… and there were no record labels going: ‘it should sound like this, it should sound like that’. So it was up to me and Rostam.”

With a mutual appreciation of the “freeing aspects” of dance music that bring collectivity, they fused these elements of the genre with newer sounds: the expansive ‘90s pop (think All Saints’ ‘Pure Shores’) on ’Give It Up for Love’, the Robyn-evoking electropop of ‘Some Things You’ll Never Know’, and the soaring balladry of ‘So What’ (which was written with Justin Parker, who co-wrote Lana Dey’s ‘Video Games’). The results are a stellar collection of intriguing alt-pop tunes, ones that add further depth to Georgia’s signature sound.

Ahead of the record’s release later this month, Georgia discusses working with Rostam, embracing her vocal ability, and writing with Shania Twain.

You worked closely with ‘Rostam’ on ‘Euphoric’, what do you think he brought to the project?

“I don’t think I would have done it with anyone else. It just so happened that we got on from the get-go, personally and creatively, and it felt very natural. It was a risk. I had never really done that before; but I think he was so sensitive to the fact that I am a producer, and songwriter, he didn’t want to impose his like: ‘I’m the producer, you’re the singer. This is how it works’.

“But it was also really nice for me to feel trusting of somebody else, so that I could feel liberated to really concentrate on the vocals. For this record, the thing that’s really different is the vocals are front and centre. Rostam was the first person to call me a singer, I had never really been called a singer, it was always producer or singer-songwriter. The first thing he said to me was that your voice is amazing, and that filled me with a lot of confidence and made me feel like ‘shit, OK, maybe I am a singer’.

Did this focus shift the way you wrote lyrics?

“Absolutely, yeah, it’s always been a bit of a weak bit of the puzzle for me in my artistry. Lyrics I found very hard, melody I can do. It was really nice to be able to sit down at a piano and concentrate on what I wanted to sing about, what I wanted to express and how I wanted to do that.

“I didn’t want to finish any of that before I went to LA. I wanted LA, the adventure, and the freedom that I experienced to influence the lyrics. I think the word is liberating for me. I felt very liberated in LA. I felt like a singer, which when you have a microphone there is quite an important thing to feel, because it’s so hard. All the great singers make it sound easy; but when you’ve got a microphone there, it’s a hard thing to shatter that vulnerability and express yourself.”

On the album there’s also ‘Live Like We’re Dancing Part II’, the second part of the Mura Masa song you featured on in 2020. Why did you want to make a sequel to the track?

“The way in which I met Rostam was through Mura Masa. After Alex and I finished writing ‘Live Like We’re Dancing’, Alex played it to Rostam. That’s how Rostam got in touch with me. He sent me a direct message via Instagram and said: ‘oh hope you don’t mind me reaching out, but Alex played me the demo of ‘Live While We’re Dancing’ and I really liked your voice’. So for Rostam and I, it was a nice way of adding to this story of how we met and how the creative relationship started; and then Alex liked the idea, so he gave us permission.”

Credit: Will Spooner

Shania Twain, who you worked with on recent album ‘Queen Of Me’ spoke very highly about you to NME, saying you were “very talented”

“That’s so nice! Yeah we did really get on. I think because I’m such a studio girl, I know how to not go in there and be a dick, you know? A lot of people who are in the studios it’s very competitive and very like: ‘I’ve got to prove myself’. I learnt that from Rostam actually: create an environment that’s just nice, so the artist feels comfortable to open up and express themselves. It was a pinch yourself moment. I had just the most incredible time in the studio with her and learnt a lot, and saw what an incredible musician she is.”

Is it surreal now the record’s out and you can see your name in the credits?

“I hate saying this as I know that Eilleen [Shania] is so relevant now, but the seven, eight year-old in me would be crying. I was such a big fan. In fact I was laughing with her, as there’s footage of me – I think my mum’s got it – in this leopard skin thing pretending to be Shania to ‘Man I Feel Like A Woman’, I think it really has launched this songwriter side of me as well, I want to write songs for other artists. It’s something I really enjoy.”

You toured with Haim last year too. What was that experience like?

“I love Haim, they’re my favourite band. Danielle Haim, she’s my favourite musician of all time. Those women are some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever come into contact with. It was just amazing seeing them do that every day on tour. I was mind blown. They’re truly, truly talented. And they’ve been doing it for a long time and working so hard at their craft, it was a joy to see them.”

Georgia’s ‘Euphoric’ is released July 28 on Domino Records

The post Georgia on her hedonistic new album: “I was redefining what escapism was for me” appeared first on NME.


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