Georgia, English singer song writer, chats with Kevin Cooper about writing material for her debut album, recording Band On A Bus on a London open top bus, working with Dave Swift and her EP The Girl.
Georgia is a jazz swing, retro jazz singer songwriter from north east London. She has released her debut EP, The Girl, earlier this year.
Having started writing poetry and playing the piano from the age of eleven, she did not consider writing songs until 2015. Now performing with her band The Vintage Youth she has recently burst onto the London scene when she played in Shoreditch.
Georgia and The Vintage Youth have performed at The Scoop London Bridge Summer Festival. They have also performed another track from her EP, My Guy And I, live at The Hampton Court Flower Show. That show was broadcast nationally over all forty BBC local radio stations, which reaches over 1.3 million listeners every week.
Whilst busy writing material for her debut album, she took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what she had to say.
I’m okay thank you how are you?
I’m very well thank you, and let me just thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
That’s okay, it’s my pleasure.
And just how is life treating you?
Life at the moment is really good thank you. All is going very well.
When did your interest in music start?
I have always been surrounded by music and so when I was a kid I was always interested in music and art. I was also very interested in creative writing and found myself continually writing poetry. However, I have to say that back then I never thought that I would be taking it as seriously as I am at the minute (laughter). It was all a bit of a hobby back then.
And when did you start playing musical instruments?
Well, I started playing the piano when I was eleven years old but shortly after that I took a break from it all. Back then I didn’t think that music was what I would end up doing and so I was trying to do lots of other things. Then I decided to enter a national singing competition and so at that point I fell back into music. To my surprise I got through to the finals of the competition and it was that which gave me the confidence to take my music seriously and since that I have been continually writing for just over a year now.
And how is it been for you during the last twelve months?
(Laughter) I have to be honest and say that it has been totally crazy. I have been so busy playing gigs and I am absolutely loving it.
So I have to ask you why did you not go down the X Factor route?
I don’t really believe that sort of stuff (laughter). That is not really my thing. I have just given up completely on it now.
I have to say that I love your voice and for such a young lady it sounds as though your voice has been around for ever.
Thank you, that is so nice of you to say so.
So tell me, who were you listening to when you were growing up?
When I was a kid I would always be listening to Motown, Elvis Presley, and lots of other soul based music. That was all that I listened to back then. However, recently I have been really interested in musical theatre, and it was whilst I was studying that I found myself looking at a lot of the old jazz singers; people like Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson and those types of people. Having said all of that my big love is Louis Prima. So as you can see it is all Motown soul jazz kind of things that I was and am still listening to.
I have to tell you that I have a soft spot for Nancy Wilson, I think that she is fantastic and vastly underrated.
I love her, she has got such a beautiful voice.
So what was it about jazz that attracted you to it; why did you go down that route?
First of all, when I was researching musical theatre and I was going to see a lot of shows, I would hear the overture with the big brass section, and it was that which amazed me. It was that what I fell in love with. I love real swing jazz; that it where my heart lies. Whenever you listen to swing jazz you can hear and feel the female singers putting their heart and soul into their performances which is something that is very rare within the music business today. That is the thing that I love about it.
I have to ask you about your band, The Vintage Youth. Is that a solid unit or is it a growing organic thing?
It is my intention to keep The Vintage Youth continually evolving. We initially started going out performing as a three piece; me on keyboards, a double bassist and a drummer; that is how we started. However, now that we are playing larger gigs we have introduced a brass section who is amazing. They are actually a group themselves who kindly work with us whenever we need to take them along with us. They are always happy to help me with the arrangements and they are brilliant to have on board. So at the minute Georgia and The Vintage Youth consist of me on keyboards and lead vocals, Ben Nyari on drums, John McClean drummer and Pete Thomas on double bass.
I hear that Dave Swift, a certain Mr Jools Holland’s double bassists has been joining you?
(Laughter) that’s right he has. I needed a double bassist at the time and I was introduced to Dave through my PR team, who just happened to know how much I loved Jools Holland. They asked me if I fancied having Jools Holland’s double bassist on board and I honestly thought that they were joking (laughter). However, I very soon realised that they were serious when they handed me Dave’s contact details. I sent over a few things that I was currently working on and to my surprise Dave liked them and so we booked a recording session together. After that I didn’t think that I would see Dave again but since that day he has been so supportive and whilst he has been on his breaks from Jools he has been spending most of his time with us, and has been gigging with us.
It has given me the chance to get up from behind the keyboard and get myself to the front of the stage because now whenever Dave plays with us my original double bassist drops onto the keyboard so as you can see The Vintage Youth keeps on growing. In fact I really would love to introduce some more players.
You recently released your debut EP The Girl. Were you happy with just how well it was received?
Yes I was, I really was. It still hasn’t been out that long so I am still giving it a chance to breath. The songs on the EP are songs that I have been playing for ages now at gigs. They are in fact the first few songs that I wrote. They are always really well received at the gigs that I play. It’s amazing to see people up dancing and smiling whenever I get the chance to play those songs.
I know that it is still very early days but do you have any thoughts on recording an album yet?
Yes, I am always thinking ahead (laughter). I am currently writing as much as I can because I really would love to record an album. So I am just writing away (laughter).
Will the album be along the same vein as the EP or are you going to shock us all by doing an AC/DC cover?
(Hysterical laughter) definitely not, no (laughter). The songs will all be following on from one another with no drastic changes whatsoever.
You recently rode around London on an open top bus recording Band On A Bus and I have to say it looked like great fun.
(Laughter) I have to admit that it really was a lot of fun. Thank god that it didn’t rain that day. That was in fact to launch the EP and being realistic we knew that if I had tried to put on a gig and sold tickets for people to come along, no one would come because I am simply not that well known at the minute. So we thought why not bring the music into central London and force everyone to stop and listen to it so that’s what we did (laughter). I have to say that it was quite difficult when we started off; we didn’t realise just how unstable everything would be on a moving bus. We didn’t really accommodate for that. Dave Swift at one point almost lost his head on the trees (laughter). But we adjusted and it really was a lot of fun.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I have to say that I don’t really like to plan too much and like to just go with the flow. Obviously I would like to go as far as I can within the music business. For me to make it big would be amazing but right now I am just happy to go with the flow. Just as long as I am performing on a stage with my songs and my band then I am happy.
Are there any plans for a UK tour?
There is nothing that is set in stone at the minute but it is definitely something that is on the ‘to do’ list. I think that once I have got an albums worth of material that I am happy with then that will be the time for me to look into a UK tour. A UK tour is something that I really would love to do. It is most definitely on the horizon.
If you could record with anyone, who would it be?
Oh my god, it would have to be somebody legendary. If we are going to go for it then it has to be somebody big time (laughter). Thinking about it I think that it would have to be somebody from Motown most probably. Motown was my first love. I really would love to work and record something with Smokey Robinson.
What was the last piece of music or song that made you cry?
That was quite recently and it was a weird one as it’s not something that I listen to all of the time. I loved Amy Winehouse and I recently watched on-line her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield singing Love Is A Losing Game whilst they played clips of Amy in the background. That got me.
What was the first record that you bought?
The first record that I bought was an Elvis Presley compilation CD and that was the very first piece of music that I owned.
Who did you first see performing live in concert?
(Laughter) please, please, please don’t hold this against me but the very first concert that I went to was to see McFly (laughter). I loved McFly and in fact I still do. I know every single word to everyone of their songs (laughter). They were my kind of band when I was in my teens.
Who would you say has inspired you musically?
In recent times that would most definitely have to be Louis Prima.
On that note Georgia let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me. It’s been great.
That’s alright and thanks Kevin it’s been a pleasure. It’s been lovely speaking to you.