Growing Pains is out now!
Image: Ash Lim.
Australian singer-songwriter George Alice has shared her hotly-anticipated debut EP, Growing Pains. We caught up with the singer to chat about the collection of songs, working with her collaborators, touring and more!
To celebrate the release Alice will be hitting the road on a national tour this April and May. Kicking off in Brisbane on May 18, the run of shows will continue on to Sydney and Adelaide, before wrapping up in Melbourne on June 2. Tickets are on sale now! The singer is also set to appear at this years Splendour In The Grass, as well as performing at select shows nationwide with Allday, The Veronicas and Amy Shark.
Congratulations your debut EP Growing Pains. You dropped your debut single in 2019, which is also when a number of the tracks on Growing Pains were written. How do you think the collection of songs evolved from that first track the final recordings of the EP?
I feel like it hasn't really evolved on this EP because I wrote most of it when I was, you know, 15, 16, and I kind of just held onto all these songs for a little while. I didn't think it felt like the right time to put out an EP right after Unearthed High because it just felt super rushed. So I was like, 'no, 'm just gonna hold onto some secrets' and now I'm letting the secrets spill. I guess if I was to release another body of work in the near future, I feel like it would be a little bit different. I don't think it would be a whole lot different. But I feel like I've literally just grown up as a person because I am no longer a child.
As you mentioned, you wrote a few of the tracks including Hold On and Circles wrote when you were 15. What are your thoughts on those songs listening back now, a few years older, maybe a little bit wiser?
[Laughs] I think listening back, I mean, I'm my own worst critic, so I always listen back to things I'm like, 'why did I literally put that out? That's so embarrassing', but it's literally not because it's done good and it's fine and everything's fine. But you know, I'll panic about it. Listening back, I feel like it's actually really beautiful because you know, where I was at that time, I was probably either like really sad and like 15, 16 in high school, not loving it, or I was like having the greatest time of my life in LA, writing with the coolest people ever. So it's like two ends of the spectrum and I feel like it's just really beautiful to look back on and remember that I did all of those things and not only did I do them, but so young.
Yeah, such an incredible achievement at a young age. And so had you put the EP out at 15, do you think there would've been like much of a difference between what we would've heard then and what we hear now?
I think so! I literally haven't stopped working on it really for, you know, this amount of time. But I kind of was just tweaking everything and you know, I'd do like countless sessions with the producers and just kind of like tweak everything and make it sound a little bit cleaner. I feel like back then I was really happy with like just throwing up something that maybe didn't sound up to my standards, what they are now. Whereas now, I'm more like let's neaten it up. Let's make it sound a little bit tighter. Because I have a clearer vision. Whereas then I was just like, 'oh my God, pretty song? Let's put it up' [laughs]. I kind cleaned it up.
Yeah for sure, and obviously you have more of an understanding about what you want to talk about and the kind of music you want make. Now, the EP is quite an introspective and personal collection of songs, where you document love, loss and generally growing up in the 21t century. Could you unpack the themes explored on the EP and the importance to you of documenting them on Growing Pains?
I feel like it was almost like a really healing process. Obviously I did get teenage years because I was 15 when I wrote circles and all that. I was in high school for a little while before that, but also not the longest time. I feel like I kind of just jumped into this like crazy land of being on planes all the time and then going from show to show, from place to place and hotel rooms. It was all really cool and really beautiful, but I feel like I needed to unpack everything that had happened. I think a lot of things happen when you're 16 anyway, and it can be super overwhelming and it's like a really tough time. But then to be doing all of this at the same time was a lot to, you know, a lot to juggle. But you know, luckily I'm good at juggling. So we we did it. I think of this EP as like a passport of my teenage years and I'm like stamping everything and I go along and I'm like stamping all of these, like I'm not friends with my friends anymore and you know, I stamped that and then, you know, I played this amazing show or I went to this amazing place and did this cool thing and I wrote a song about it. I'll stamp it there as well. Like it's just really beautiful to be able to look back on that one day and be like, 'oh, this is literally how you grew up and you put it all into music, which is what you love doing'.
That's such a lovely way to put it. Which song off the EP would you pick to some pick to play to someone who had like never heard your music before, to make them an instant diehard fan?
I feel like it would be the first song in the EP called Bandaid. I open my show with that song as well and it's just like that's how I relate the two. And the feeling of walking on stage and being like, 'oh my God, we're playing a show. Life is cool'. And I feel like that's the same feeling that I get listening to it, but I feel like the way that we've built it now reflects that in the actual song. It's like, just this happy, fun, carefree, you know, you're just like, 'who cares? Let's just go and have a good time'. I feel like that's just the vibes we need for 2022. Yeah, I'd say listen to that.
I back it! Is there like a line or lyric on the Growing Pains that stands out as the most memorable line to you? Like any line in particular that you find yourself humming or singing more often than others?
I feel like, I don't know, there's this one ballad on the EP and it's probably my favourite. There's so many lyrics in it that's just like, 'where did they come from? I don't even know', but I think they're just so poetic and beautiful. I wrote it with Gab Strum, Japanese Wallpaper and Ethan Gruska. I feel like Ethan is just a genius and so is Gab. There's this line, if I can remember it, "In other words opposites attract, but we're the opposite of that, something like that. I just feel like it's kind of sums up the whole song. So when you listen to the whole song, that kind of like sums up the energy of the song and it's like, 'love you, but maybe I don't'.
You mentioned, you worked with Gab Strum, Japanese Wallpaper and Ethan Gruska, how do you think that they helped you realise the body of work that you wanted to put out?
I feel like Gab has been around since, literally I met him like maybe a couple months after I won Unearthed High and straight away I was like, 'you are really cool and wise, you've got a big brain' and we just hung out all the time and made music and worked on the EP together. I feel like, because Gab has been through Unearthed High and been through like the teenage, you know, triple J situation, I feel like he just gets it and was always so supportive. He's also never made me feel like I'm asking a question. He always makes me feel like almost as if he's just thought of this thing that I maybe might wanna know and then he just kind of like explained to me in depth. I always was super scared, especially being like a young girl in the industry. You know, I was always like the little kid everywhere I went, I was the youngest in the room and I was always too scared to ask questions and be like, 'oh, you know, I don't know what I'm doing'. Whereas Gab was like, 'it's totally fine to not know what you're doing'. I think that shows a lot in all of the songs. It's very honest and, you know, organic and I feel like that is because of Gab.
Yeah, that's so lovely. You're gonna be performing some headline shows in May and June, which is exciting. What are we in store for from a George Alice live show?
I feel like there's a lot of ups and downs. I feel like there's some really like fun moments where it's like, 'let's boogie' and then there's also some swaying involved. Maybe fast paced swaying. I also think that there's some real moments where it's like, 'put your torches up, and maybe have a cry', you know? Like hug your friend if you want.
Love a good cry.
Yeah! And I just feel like that's how I wanted the show to be. I wanted it to be like a little story and coming into my world for a minute and kind of listening to what I've got to say. I'm so excited to be doing it.
It's so exciting. How important is live music to you when it comes to creating that in person connection with your audiences who resonate with your music?
I think it's super important. I didn't really understand how to do that at first when I started, because I started playing festivals which is awesome that I started out playing festivals. But I didn't really have to connect with the crowd and do the groundwork. It was more so like, everyone's just having a time in that mosh and they don't care who's on that stage they just have fun. So it was kind of a 'didn't really matter'. But then I started seeing people like I saw this band Koala, I think they're called Koala, when I was in London. They just like had the crowd in the palm of their hands. That was a big eye opener just because I just didn't really see how people would control a room before, because I'd never played one. Then also seeing Vera Blue, we supported her in very early 2020. It was like the coolest thing to be a part of and see how she does that. I think that's how I've learned how to do it now, is by watching all of these powerful women do it. Yeah, it's crazy.
Biggest musical influences?
Ooh, Adele definitely. Adele. I love her with my heart and soul.
Probably Charli XCX.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
G: I think from an artist's perspective, I can't remember the name of her album and it came out not long ago. Um, that Marley Cyrus album and Mark Ronson worked on it.
M: Plastic Hearts!
G: Yeah, Plastic Hearts. That one.
It's funny you say Miley, because the next question is Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
[Laughs] You know what when I was younger, I wanted to be Hannah Montana so bad and I almost feel like I've done that. So I'm gonna have to say Miley now that I've grown up. Totally Miley.
If you could create the soundtrack for any film or television show, which one would it be?
Maybe like Euphoria or something. I'd love to do that
What was the first song you loved to sing?
Someone Like You by Adele.
First concert you went to?
I think it was Miley Cyrus when I was like 11.
Best concert you have been to?
Oh, the best concert I've been to Ariana Grande at like the O2 Arena.
First album you ever bought?
First album I ever bought. Oh my God. You know what? I think it was actually Adele's album 21 and someone gave, I didn't even buy it cause I was like six. So someone gave it, like let me borrow it and I never gave it back.
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Oh my God. I don't know. Maybe like ditzy or something. Cause I'm pretty ditzy.
Most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
Ooh, I would say we played this festival in Brisbane called Mountain Goat and it was pretty crazy. I think I played the last set of the night and the venue had filled up and all these kids were like on the side of the street and the police had to come and like move everyone because they like blocked the street off and it was really cool. I felt like a rock star.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
On the music industry. I'd say, a little problematic, but Kanye, Kanye makes everyone talk and that's smart.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Keep doing things that you love and don't run out time to do them.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
I watched Vance Joy play at my favourite theatre in Adelaide and I lost my mind and thought I need to be on that stage one day doing that.
Growing Pains is out now!