Growth from inspiration

An interview with Georgia Thursting

Though only halfway through her second year at Leeds College of Music, there’s already an audible murmur of attention surrounding Georgia Thursting, within the conservatoire, around the city and in the Big Smoke itself. While she bares the large doe-eyes of many of the year’s breakthrough acts in higher pop echelons, her aesthetic and sound hold something far more substantial and arresting.


Let’s take example 1 – from her song ‘Game of Hearts’ – a tale about misleading another’s affections and ending up in a worse position herself:
I could’ve made your love a test/To keep me impressed/But I couldn’t resist myself/You look so much better undressed.
 
To example 2 the bluesy aggressiveness courtesy of “Love Him Like Me” that tells the tale of stealing another woman's man: Your position is weak/Unlike me/I told you you’d be/Unhappy.
 
Combining this with a rich soulful voice and guitar melodies that thread rhythm around the feet as easily as they do around the heart, and you’re already starting to see what the fuss is about.
 
“I started playing guitar about two years ago – I had been really inspired by singer-songwriters like early Amy Winehouse and Laura Marling and wanted to start writing songs away from the piano. I learnt to play guitar to an Amy Winehouse songbook – which helped push me in the soul/jazz direction.

"When I moved to London in my gap year I started gigging, meeting people and collaborating on the hip-hop and rap scene and it really opened doors for me – creatively and in a career-orientated way. I played at Ronnie Scotts and Hideaway Jazz Club and found this really tight-knit community of creative people to work with.”
 
“During that year, I wrote about 5 songs but they were all different styles, because I’m inspired by some many different kinds of music. Trying to find your own sound can be difficult, and its only since I’ve been at Leeds College of Music that I’ve been able to do that – through working with loads of different musicians, and with people like Dane Chalfin and Dan Green who taught me to look at who I am and what I’m trying to sing about – to say what I want to say, without being scared to say it.”
 
And that’s where the parallels to artists with a more “in your face”, painfully honest approach like Winehouse and Marling continues – if only for a short while. Thursting mentions several times that these influences helped lock her into a more truthful state-of-mind when writing songs.
 
“There were these songs on Marling’s first record that were so stripped down and honest – like ‘New Romantic’ – I know I said I loved you but I think I might be wrong/I’m the first to admit that I’m still pretty young; I just thought that was so beautiful and honest and well-articulated.” And presenting her self-aware, modestly guarded beauty in a starkly honest and non-indulgent manner is definitely something that Thursting is channeling – as the short study in her lyrics above shows.
 
But while paragon-of-honesty-singers like Winehouse and Marling will respectively take their places on the thrones of soul and new folk, Thursting’s voice flits between genres with an ease and confidence rarely seen amongst musicians of her fledgling age group.
 
It’s that confidence and her new education that’s helping her forge a brand and career for herself, two years shy of completing her degree. Having already penned an endorsement deal with fashion label Lexie Sport, and nearing completion with her first EP, Thursting’s first year in conservatoire education has been nothing if not productive.
 
“My outlook on coming to uni wasn’t “lets have three years of going mad and showing up to lectures hung-over.” I came here to get better at what I do so that when I leave I have a career already starting. Some people go straight into the industry without studying, but I wanted to take my skills and grow them so that I’m the best I can be when I launch myself fully as an artist.”
 
With a voice that fluctuates between deep soul, a lilting R’n’B twist and soft lingering folk reflections, Thursting’s guttural ability to recount past experiences makes her distinctly relatable. Capturing an old soul in a playfully young voice is always captivating, and Georgia is definitely making people sit up and listen – with fluctuation between genres a key reason for that.
 
“That’s the essence of pop for me,” she explains, “its easy for people to make assumptions about what the term means, but really pop music is about drawing your inspirations together in a way that engages people on a wide scale, with a real sense of urgency and immediacy. The whole point is creating a connection with people that helps you grow together.”

 

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