In the Northern NSW town of Lismore, the “purple house” was a local landmarkin the nineties. It’s here where Georgia Mae grew up surrounded by colour –a green kitchen, blue bedroom and yellow living room. It’s also here where Mae shaped her eclectic taste in music listening to Pink Floyd, Crowded House and Kate Bush, where she started taking piano lessons and where she learnt the art of storytelling from her writer mother.
“In a way, the purple house shaped me as a person; it taught me to not be afraid of being colourful or standing out,” says Mae.At age four, Mae wrote her very first song sitting at the piano in the purple house. The song was called ‘Love Tree’ and Mae still remembers the chords and lyrics:
When I look into your eyes
I see the colour of the sky
And sometimes I see you and me
Together in a Love Tree
Since her early days as a lyrical prodigyin Lismore, music has taken Mae to Brisbane where she studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and was nominated for the state’s ‘Most Promising Female Songwriter’ and ‘Best Female Pop Artist’ at the Queensland Music Awards in 2016.
It’s also taken her overseas; to Los Angeles where she landed a role as a writer and recording artist ontelevision shows includingKeeping Up With The Kardashians, to San Francisco where she worked in sound design at the illustrious Skywalker SoundandWarner Bros. Studios, and to the Arizona desert where the rumblings of her debut EP first stirred.
While on a road trip back to California from New Mexicoat the end of 2018, Mae flipped her car on a remote highway and rolled it six times. Covered in blood, with a concussion and a broken back, Mae escaped from the wreck and made it back to the highway where an ambulance took her to hospital. Her physical recovery took six months, but the mentaljourney is ongoing.
“That momentwas rock bottom. I had already been going through a rough time with atraumatic relationship,and then I had the car accident. It sounds like a cliché, but the accident really put things in perspective. There’s something about a near death experience that gives you a new lease on life. I knew I was lucky to be aliveand I wanted to fulfil my purpose: which has always been music,” explains Mae, who returned to Australia in May 2020 to do just that.
The first single on the EP, Gentle, could be mistaken for apop hitabout young love, but it’s actually an ode to Mother Earthand a rally cry for action on the Climate Crisis. The track starts on Mae’s “parent’s porch back home”thinking about what it would have been like 10,000years ago when the sky was clearer, the reef was alive, and the bush wasn’t burnt.
It’s fitting thatthe first single on Mae’s debut EP isinspired by nature, much like the first song she ever wrote:Love Tree. When Mae thinks about thefour-year-old sitting at the piano in the purple house, she has only one message for her younger self.“Trust yourself. Even when things go horribly wrong, know that the hard times are part of the journey,” she says. “Oh, and don’t be afraid to be colourful–like the purple house.”
1.Tell us about Georgia Mae - What is your mission!
I’m a singer/songwriter/producer, Northern Rivers NSW born and bred, living and making music in Brisbane. My mission is to tell stories that make people feel. I’ve been obsessed with stories and storytelling for as long as I can remember (I used to gather my parents’ friends around at dinner parties when I was 3 years old and tell them the story of Snow White - although, I couldn’t pronounce the ’Sn’ so it was the story of “No White”). I believe a good story can change lives. They can certainly change mine!
- Tell us about your music?
Making music transports me to a world where I can effortlessly and best express myself, so I mostly write about personal experiences. My latest single ‘Gentle’ was so therapeutic to write…I’d been wanting to write a song about my anxiety around climate change for so long, but could never really find the right angle. Things would either sound too preachy or just too depressing! But I finally settled on a more light-hearted intimate approach which still felt strong. I hope it resonates with my fellow earth-lovers!
- What are some of your core values?
Well, as you may guess, I’m deeply passionate about keeping Mother Earth healthy and happy. My childhood was drenched in nature and adventure, and that mystical love I felt for our land has never really left me. Alongside environmentalism, some of my other core values are creative expression, connection, freedom and love.
- Tell us your biggest learning when it comes to the music industry?
Failure is key! No one likes to fail, but I’ve come to learn it’s a necessary evil in music (and much of life, for that matter!) in order to move forward. Learning to accept and grow from failure gracefully and swiftly is integral, I think.
- How do you implement sustainability into your daily practice, what makes you a solmate?
Recycle recycle recycle! And I buy local produce at the West End markets every Saturday, keep my water and electricity usage minimal, walk instead of drive if I can, I’m not a big meat eater, paperless (except for books, sorry!), and basically half my wardrobe are hand-me-downs from my big sister. I also buy second-hand wherever possible.