It’s 11am at Peppertown Coffee Bar in Mayfield, Newcastle. The smell of bacon and coffee wafts through the small, cosy café. The staff are friendly and welcoming with a smile. I sit down, waiting for my friend to arrive.
Georgina Grimshaw walks in, smiling. Her long red hair is pulled into a braid. She is dressed in jeans, a jumper and boots and remarks how cold the August weather is outside. We order our food as Georgina comments on how good the Birthday Cake milkshake is. She is friendly with the staff here, having performed numerous gigs here.
Gigs are an integral part of Georgina’s life as a musician. It’s what puts her music out into the world and it’s also something that she really loves doing. She sees touring by herself as a challenge, a way to do things for herself. “It’s good to do those things, you can have confidence in yourself to do it and do something more confidently next time,” she tells me, having just completed a solo tour throughout rural towns in New South Wales and Queensland. “I love going to play in country towns. People are friendly and really appreciate what you are doing. I love travelling, being out in nature on the open road and the adventures of meeting new people.”
But of course, life wasn’t always about touring and performing for Georgina. Born in Newcastle in 1994, she has grown up always loving music. But it wasn’t until school that she really discovered her passion for music and just what she was capable of. “In music class at school I really discovered new things about music. As an assignment, I wrote a song and really kept writing from there.”
Georgina becomes reminiscent and tells me about the first time she really sung into a microphone. “I sung with a school band and it was the first time I really heard my voice and noticed what I could really do.” Her singing career only rose from there.
After performing countless gigs and writing music, Georgina began work on her debut EP Café Corner. She describes the process to me, including how she writes the songs.
For Georgina, the song writing process is fascinating. She describes it to me as seeing something, acting on it, experiencing it then internalising it to finally understanding it and creating something from it. “I pick up a guitar and start to sing, play and work it out,” she tells me before saying where she gets her inspiration from.
Like most artists, Georgina’s stories come from life experiences, both her own and from those she knows. She doesn’t write happy songs because life isn’t always happy. “I’m not unhappy. But I do find happy songs can be corny.” Sometimes songs can help us to understand life.
Including writing the songs, it took a total of nine months for Café Corner to be recorded, produced and released. The EP was recorded at the Green Room in Warners Bay. What started as guitar lessons with Matt Purcell, turned into recording time.
“I usually spent an hour in the recording studio each week to produce/record/mix various parts of each song,” she tells me of the process. ‘The Storyteller’ and ‘Snow Globe Heart’ were partially written prior to the recording process. Whilst these songs were being worked on, the other 3 songs were written.
The five track EP demonstrates Georgina’s ability as a songwriter and a singer. As an artist who best describes her music as storytelling, the lyrics of each song take the listener on a journey. Of the songs on the EP, Georgina worries that ‘Café Corner’ might be whiny to some although she feels that it is most symbolic to her breaking out of the cover gigs and becoming her own artist.
Her personal favourite is the final track ‘Blue with the Grey’, which she wrote the morning of having to record her final track for the EP. She describes the song as meaning a lot to her. “What I wrote it about had been something I’d been struggling to talk about. The song is basically about becoming disillusioned and hurt by various people in leadership at church. It was my way of saying why I had left and expressing all the hurt and confusion I’d felt”.
Perhaps one of the most mature and emotionally driven tracks on the EP is ‘Free Now’. Following the death of one of Georgina’s friends, she wrote the track to help her understand everything she was feeling and comprehend what had happened. Most of us have lost someone close to us so it’s a track that we can all relate to and is simply breathtaking.
For independent artists like Georgina, it’s good to stay true to yourself. Independent artists get to be themselves and sing the music they want to sing, which is why she offers up this advice for aspiring independent musicians. “Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to do what you want to do. Have an attitude that you never know what might happen, who might be there watching you perform.” She also says to try and be involved in as many open mic nights and gigs as possible to experiment as an artist and build a following. “It’s really important to get to know the people in your local scene”.
More recently, Georgina has found herself increasingly performing at weddings. “Weddings are special. To perform there makes me part of their history and makes the couple so happy,” Georgina tells me with a smile. She goes on to tell me about how emotional wedding days are and how she can channel this into her performance. “They’ll remember me singing their special songs, which is a privilege to have that access into their lives.”
For Georgina, music is her life; it is her job. It does more for her then just pay the bills. She describes song writing and performing as a way of helping her understand and cope with life. “It’s a lot cheaper than therapy,” she laughs. “Every moment of my working day is thinking or listening to music, thinking about what I could be doing or what other people are doing.”
As our interview begins to wrap up, she tells me that she would love to be a florist, and has recently started creating some flower pieces. I notice a floral piece on the wall at Peppertown that she has created. Her Instagram and Facebook also show photos of Georgina picking flowers from the wild and wearing flower crowns. I think this reveals a lot about Georgina and her free-spirited nature.
Georgina lists some of her favourite musicians as Missy Higgins, Angus and Julia Stone, Ed Sheeran and Delta Goodrem; all fantastic artists. One day Georgina may well be just as influential and popular as these artists, but for now she is just enjoying being her own musician and doing what she really loves- singing the songs from her heart and being her own artist.
Café Corner is available to purchase, stream and download now. To see more of Georgina Grimshaw, visit her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GeorginaGrimshaw