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Australian singer-songwriter George Alice’s latest track is the Gen Z anthem you didn’t know you needed

PHOTOGRAPHY BY IMOGEN WILSON

WORDS BY EMMA ANVARI

More than just a teenager.

At only 17-years-old, Australian singer-songwriter George Alice’s talent is undeniable. From her rich and raw vocal tone to her songwriting abilities which surpass her years, she is not one to be underestimated. 

Entering the industry at only 15 years old, she has already managed an impressive array of accomplishments. From winning Triple J’s Unearthed High with her song ‘Circles’ in 2019, signing with US label Loma Vista Recordings, clocking over ten million combined streams across ‘Circles’ and ‘Stuck in A Bubble’ to completing her first headline tour, George is showing no signs of slowing down. 

When I think back to being 17, I think about teen angst, not knowing who you are and where you belong and the ridiculous pressure of feeling like you need to decide your entire future before you’re even legally allowed to vote. All of this can be hard enough without being an up-and-coming star in the music industry. 

So it isn’t surprising this tumultuous chapter of hormones, self-discovery and internal battles is the subject matter of George’s latest single ‘Teenager’. 

The indie-pop track, written in collaboration with Maribelle, is the unifying anthem Generation Z have unknowingly been waiting for, and if you’re anything like me, you probably won’t be able to stop yourself singing along when George says she’s “just a fucking teenager”. 

Since sitting down on Zoom with the lovely George, her tunes have been on repeat in the car (and as I write this) and there is no doubt in my mind that she is one to watch. Here’s what she had to say.

Where does your passion for music stem from? When did it start playing a role in your life? 

I think I was about ten or 11 when I started writing my own music, but I started playing music with my dad when I was five or six. It was always around. I was in a very musical family and they love listening to music so yeah, I was just always surrounded by it. 

Tell me about ‘Teenager’. How did you know it was the right song to release next? 

I think it was just the right time to just show a different phase of George Alice and steering away from the fun, indie-pop style. Just going towards something a little more serious, a little more mature. I think it has a pretty powerful message and especially releasing it at this time of the year when everyone’s finishing high school or everyone’s getting ready to start a new year or a new chapter of their life. There’s something for everyone in it that they can relate to. 

What does ‘Teenager’ mean to you?

I think ‘Teenager’ came from a place where I’d just finished travelling and won Unearthed High the same year. It’s about being young and in the music industry and being in high school at the same time and how tricky that can be for a lot of people. Not to mention how confusing it is just to be a teenager and how that doesn’t get paid enough attention. There’s a lot of pressure on teenagers to know who they are and what they want to do. On the same token teenagers are some of the smartest people I’ve met and a lot of young kids are doing a lot of great things and they don’t get a lot of praise for that. 

You’ve said that you’ve felt underestimated because of your age. What role did that play in this track?

I guess it just tied itself in very well. Being a girl in the industry is always going to be different and being a young girl in the industry, coming into it when I was 15/16, was incredible. But at the same time, it was also really difficult to find my feet and my people as well as figure out what I was doing. You don’t really know who you are in general or what your personality is when you’re 15, let alone having to hold a music career.

Have you been surprised by the reception ‘Teenagers’ has received so far? 

Yeah! Every time I release a song I’m like “Oh will people like it? Are they going to appreciate it?”, but I really like this song because of its message and it’s something that’s the most personal I’ve ever released. So many kids on release day were messaging me thanking me for releasing a song like this and really relating to the message, appreciating that I’d put it out and sort of taken the first step forward to instigating that kind of change. I don’t think anyone so young has really ever done that before, it’s always the older generations still talking down to the younger generations telling you how to feel. 

Could you tell me about collaborating with Maribelle?

I worked with Maribelle on ‘Circles’. She’s great and is also a young girl in the industry killing it and doing great things. She really understands the whole entire concept, having her music career start at the same age, and just trying to grow up being in the industry. She had a lot more eyes on her when she was younger so it made a lot of sense for her to be co-writer on this one. It was really important to say it all in the right way.

I loved the music video for ‘Teenager’. Could you tell me a little bit about your vision?

I wanted to make something like a short film. I wanted to make it something really poetic, beautiful with lots of hidden meanings in the video and just a lot to watch, rather than me being a popstar. Making sure there were a lot of unique things in it. I reference a lot of shows on Netflix and the ’70s TV shows and those vintage vibes everyone’s going for these days. I wanted to make sure it was really fitting for our generation.

You’ve talked about the lack of support for creative and unique people. How important is individuality to you?

I think I’ve always been a very unique person, a very individual person. Even in high school I just didn’t want to do what everyone else was doing. I didn’t understand trends, I didn’t really click with anyone, I was just very by myself and very do my own thing and it wasn’t celebrated. Now I look back and I think that should be so celebrated. Someone who is brave enough to do exactly what they were put on this earth to do and exactly what they want to do, be who they want to be, look how they want to look. When you think about it, they’re very small tiny things but they’re affecting so many kids. 

Tell me about your first headline tour! That’s super exciting. How was it?

It was really fun being able to get back out again. I’ve always wanted to do a headline tour and just wanted to get out and do things a little more my way. I started doing festivals so it’s very different to doing your own show. Everyone’s sitting down having a fun time. I feel like it’s a lot nicer because people come and really do listen to what you’re saying, what you’re singing about and just appreciate it a lot more because they can really focus. You really connect with people. 

Tell me about your creative process. How do you approach your songwriting? 

It always changes for me. Sometimes I’ll start with a melody, sometimes I’ll start with a concept. A lot of the time it’s a concept. If I’m angry or, you know, being a teenager, I’ll think of a concept and I’ll write on that. Or, I like to see all sides of an issue or all sides of a concept and kind of write about the sides that wouldn’t be shown very much. It changes. 

Can we expect more tracks or an EP soon? 

I’ve been making a lot of music for a very long time and I’m sitting on a lot of stuff. I don’t know how I’ll release it or what will feel right, but if it feels right then I’ll just do it. Who knows!

Follow George Alice here and listen to ‘Teenager’ here.

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