Georgia: “Give it a try and see what happens”

From intimate beginnings to global stages, GEORGIA’s ‘Euphoric’ chronicles her journey of self-exploration, delivering a captivating fusion of dance, vulnerability, and musical innovation.

Words: Martyn Young.
Photos: Derek Bremner.

“Something happened to us on that stage…”

 Georgia has just come off after performing at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Dundee, and she’s a little bit excited. Her set was the first time she had played live with her new band, Charlene on drums and Cat on bass, marking the beginning of Georgia’s new era as a pioneering pop innovator moulding the transcendent power of dance music through her own singular songwriting vision. Also, quite the occasion for your first show together – in front of thousands of people at a festival. In many ways, it sums her up, though. Fearless and ambitious, with her third album ‘Euphoric’ Georgia is setting out on another dance adventure. 

Still giddy from the high of performing and with the hubbub of actual current pop legends like Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi backstage, it’s a special moment. It’s clear that the rush of the experience will take a minute to process. “All the prep you can do can never really prepare you for it,” she says. “There’s something quite magical between us three that feels very natural. It feels really good and exciting.” 

These kinds of experiences are what Georgia lives for, and they provide the spirit that runs through all of her music. The world as it is in summer 2023, though, is a distinctly different place than back in January 2020 when Georgia released her epic club culture odyssey of a second album ‘Seeking Thrills’. Back then, the future seemed one of hedonism and blissful relief. ‘Seeking Thills’ is not only a brilliant album, but it now stands immortalised as one of the last released when things were normal. 

Unknowingly, it transpired that Georgia lit the touch paper for an explosion in dance music reacting against the grim early pandemic days with ‘Seeking Thrills’ followed by Dua Lipa’s ‘Future Nostalgia’, Jessie Ware’s two disco epics, Kylie’s disco album and the rise of dance as a cultural force again, with artists like Fred Again.. and the whole super exciting Loud LDN drum’n’bass scene, including Venbee and Piri. As a figurehead for the genre within the pop space, Georgia can appreciate the huge explosion in the last three years but also has a little bit of perspective. 

“I feel like dance music took on this whole new identity throughout the lockdown,” she explains. “My non-cynical head says that dance music is a wonderful medium for collectivity, and it’s all about the dancefloor; it’s all about expression and dancing. People were starved of that for two years and were turning their bedrooms or kitchens into dance floors. Sharing something became a big want during those two years. Dance music has that special thing with everyone dancing on a dancefloor. My cynical head says it’s just very trendy. The trends on social media became quite dance-led, and a lot of people capitalised on that.” 

The gap between albums is nearly four years which is fine, perfectly normal, but in today’s hyperspeed culture, it feels like a lifetime. That period of isolation and reflection, though, was crucial to the genesis of ‘Euphoric’. “I dealt with it how I know best. I locked myself away in the studio and started writing songs,” reflects Georgia. “That’s basically what I like to do. I found it quite inspiring, particularly through the two years of the lockdown. There was so much time but so many things going on where people were reevaluating their lives. There was a lot to process. Songwriting helped me. I didn’t want to write a depressing album about how fucked up the world is. I saw a lot of beauty in the world in those two years. I found humanity quite amazing with how much we can take as human beings with the loss and how resistant we can be and how collective we can be.” 

“Dance music is a wonderful medium for collectivity; it’s all about the dancefloor”


‘Euphoric’ is, in part, a response to the changed landscape in both the world in general and Georgia’s life at the time. “I didn’t want to go in and write ‘Seeking Thrills’ two,” she says. “I felt like I was in a different mindset. I wanted to create a dance record that was less focused on drum machines and production and more on songs and experimentation. I was listening very heavily to Madonna’s ‘Ray Of Light’ and the very 90s William Orbit productions. Sounds that took you from in the club to out of the club. They’re still dance-influenced, but it’s more like you’re on an island in Thailand. I think that’s what I was yearning for. My imagination was that I wanted to be in front of the sea and on the beach, but I wasn’t. I was at the bottom of my garden in London. I wanted people to feel that sort of escapism on this record. I didn’t want it to sound confined to clubbiness. Rostam had a massive part to play in that, and he shared the vision with me. We were able to really achieve what we wanted to. “ 

Rostam, of course, is the ex-Vampire Weekend sonic visionary who has been at the vanguard of exciting alt-pop for over a decade now, working with all sorts of different people. For Georgia, it would be her first experience working closely with another producer. “He’s fascinating. He’s such an amazing human being, so creative and so sensitive,” she says as she describes the experience of working with him. “It was very natural. It wasn’t like my record label going; you should work with him because it’s trendy.” 

She goes on to giddily tell the story of how they got together after Rostam heard Georgia’s demo of her song with Mura Masa, ‘Live Like We’re Dancing’. He was immediately hooked. After exchanging messages, it became clear that Rostam was focusing on the thing that Georgia really wanted to develop, which was her voice. “I was really taken back, so I messaged him back and said thanks so much; this means the world. It’s really nice that you’re concentrating on my voice. Not many people say that to me. He said, you’ve got a great voice. For me, that was very encouraging. I was striving for this record for my voice to be centre stage. I didn’t quite know how to do it on my own because I wasn’t brave enough.” 

In Christmas 2019, Georgia found herself playing shows in LA with a bit of downtime and got in touch to see if Rostam wanted to do some work together, and a little bit of pop magic happened. “On that first day, we wrote ‘It’s Euphoric’. It felt like it was just meant to be,” she exhales. They immediately resolved to work together on the album, and then, of course, everything stopped. The hope that they could soon reconnect, though, was a driving force through the pandemic. “It helped that I was going to be going to LA to take these demos to him. There was a goal and something driving me. In Christmas 2021, I was there in LA.” 

Georgia had previously been an artist that was almost entirely self-sufficient, from her songs to her production to her live shows. Working closely with Rosam, though, did not necessitate a change in her way of working, and it was more an equal musical partnership as they conjured up the atmosphere of ‘Euphoric’. 

“I wanted an adventure,” she says excitedly. “He had been following my career and knew that I was a producer. He knew it was part of who I was as an artist. It was a total musical exchange. Almost like a collaboration, really. We both entered the project with an openness. I wanted to learn from Rostam, and I think, in some ways, he wanted to learn from me. It was really interesting between us two. We didn’t have anyone else apart from Joey, his engineer. It was very intimate and worked well for my self-sufficiency. For me to feel open enough to record my vocals, the encouragement he gave me for that was so valuable.” 

“I didn’t want to write a depressing album about how fucked up the world is”


It was undoubtedly a big upheaval moving to the other side of the world to make the album, though. “It was a risk. There was a risk that I was going to go there and we wouldn’t get on, but that risk is part of what the record is about,” she admits. “I had this mantra of give it a try and see what fucking happens. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. If it does, hallelujah, this is great. Music-making can sometimes be confined by other people’s opinions and what’s hot right now; I didn’t want to fucking have any of that. I just wanted to go in and be open to a new experience.” 

The concept of euphoria began to emerge as the encapsulating force behind the album. Often, you can think euphoria has to be something wild or thrilling, but instead, you can find a sense of it in your own special experiences, which is something Georgia found out while making the record. “It just felt like the right word to sum up the whole experience for me. The experience of going to LA, writing with Rostam and experiencing the ups and downs of living in a new environment,” she reflects. “It’s also a word that’s positive, optimistic and resilient. We need a bit of euphoria. It just put a nice blanket over all the songs. Very often, we’re told to forget experiences because it’s on to the next thing, but I just felt it would be lovely. I remember sitting on Mulholland Drive and looking out at LA and thinking, fuck me. You can see the panoramic view of this city that you’ve always known about, and suddenly you’re there, and it’s like, wow, this is magical. I just had a moment where I thought that life could just change like that. I think it’s important to appreciate those things.” 

If ‘Seeking Thrills’ was a very physical record, defined by the feeling of a mass of heaving sweaty bodies in the club, then ‘Euphoric’ is a more spiritual and reflective collection. It has a beautiful airy quality; there’s weightlessness and delicacy to its soft-focus dance-pop bops. It’s also a deeply human and emotionally vulnerable album. “This is the beginning of the real songwriter in me,” says Georgia proudly. “We were looking for space amongst the mixes. That was very intentional, but it’s very hard to do. We were conscious of not throwing too much in the mix. We wanted this lightness to the tracks. We wanted it to sound organic even though it’s electronic music.” 

On the song ‘Give It Up For Love’, there’s a beautiful moment towards the end where Georgia sings, ‘If you’re seeking redemption, if you’re seeking salvation’, providing a link to the last album. Previously it was thrills and primal urges she was seeking as she looked for the unifying force of the club; now, Georgia is reflecting on how she can find joy within herself. “That is a really important lyric on the record,” she explains. “It sums up my frame of mind when I was writing the album. The feeling of just letting yourself go. The lockdown was that for me. I was reevaluating certain aspects of my life and personal things that were going on. I really like the lyric, ‘Just when I thought that I should give up, that’s when I found love’. That really was me in the three years of making this record. I was at my lowest point; then I was at my highest point.” 

The album ends with perhaps the most open and vulnerable Georgia has ever sounded on record on the sparse ballad ‘So What’. “I wrote that song with Justin Parker, who wrote ‘Video Games’ with Lana Del Rey and ‘Stay’ for Rihanna, so I very much went in with the intention that I wanted to write a ballad. I wanted to do it in my style, though, and together, we wrote that. We were both in a very vulnerable place at the time. There was something about the lyric ‘so what’ that had resilience in it. Shit happens. At least you gave it a try.” 

“I think that optimism is important in life,” she continues. “In true Georgia style, there is more continuity, but I throw you here, and I throw you there, but I do think it’s a really optimistic record. I always describe it as this technicolour of sounds. That’s why we did the album artwork with all the explosions of colours. I just wanted people’s imaginations to be explored. It feels like the start of more exploration into how far you can push the boundaries of pop music.” 

“It was so amazing working with Shania; it was a pinch-myself moment. I’m only working with legends now”


Despite being focused on calmness and beauty, there’s still plenty of room for bangers, and here they are a source of joyous, ecstatic relief, amplified even more by the softness that surrounds them. ‘All Night’ is one of those insane moments of release driven by an utterly mad and addictive synth riff. “I think it might be bagpipes actually in one of those weird EDM plug-ins,” she laughs. “We didn’t want to make a floor on-the-floor record the whole time, but the bits where they are really dancefloor shine. I was very influenced by Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’ with that song. That’s why it has that ‘One More Time’ like vocal effect on it. I love that song. That was one of the first songs that I demoed.” 

With dance music once again becoming a vital force in pop, it feels an exciting time to be an electronic pop artist. Still, Georgia is wary of falling into the nostalgia trap door that sometimes pop can hover perilously over, particularly with the current trend for interpolating old songs in the style of a Hollywood movie reboot or just simply speeding the whole thing up x5. 

“What annoys me is following music trends on social media or TikTok,” she says. “It’s just so shit. It turns pop music into a homogenised sound. The best pop music that is successful and big is the pop music that sounds like nothing else. Billie Eilish sounds like nothing else. That’s the pop music that feels in its own lane. Madonna sounded like nothing else. There is some fucking great music being made out there. I don’t want my record to sound like anything else. That’s my goal.” 

No longer just the dazzling multi-instrumentalist doing everything herself on stage through a kind of lo-fi self-sufficient prism, Georgia is embracing collaboration like never before, with everything filtered through her distinct vision. She’s always writing both for herself and other people, including even certified legend Shania Twain. “With age, the idea of collaboration is more exciting for me. It was so amazing working with Shania,” she beams. “She was so encouraging. Her work ethic is amazing. It was a pinch-myself moment. I’m only working with legends now,” she laughs. 

Despite how exciting her solo shows have been over the years, she knew she had to do something different to bring ‘Euphoric’ to life on stage. “I want to try to translate this new music in the most authentic and best way. It was a collaborative record, and live it needed to have that energy, and I can’t do that on my own. Rostam said, ‘You’ve got to get a band’. When she found Charlene and Cat, that was the first step to forming the all-new Georgia live experience. Now, it’s all about honing that set and ramping things up for a year of festivals and touring. ‘Euphoric’ is very much an album designed to be heard in wide open spaces and lived out in the world. 

Despite killing it at one of the biggest pop festivals of the year and making an album full of pop wonder with her voice in full bloom, Georgia still struggles to see herself as a fully-fledged pop star. “I don’t feel like a pop star. I don’t know what that is. My idea of a pop star is Beyonce,” she laughs. Maybe the inherent sonic innovator and disrupter in her perhaps keeps her one step removed, but the beauty of music in 2023 is pop has no barriers, and there are few better examples of anyone fusing joyous pop with musical innovation right now than Georgia. Pop stars can be whoever we want them to be, and nothing is more euphoric than pop at its best.. ■

Taken from the August 2023 edition of Dork. Georgia’s album ‘Euphoric’ is out 28th July.


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