Earlier this year, Georgia VanNewkirk dropped a surprise debut single “Wish You Well” – without so much as telling her family – and immediately caught the attention of music fans everywhere. Since then, she’s seen both her streaming numbers and fan-base grow considerably and has had a very good year indeed. While currently working on more new music, Georgia spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about the artists she’s most inspired by, her views on social media and her thoughts about her future.
TITL: Has music always been the ultimate
career goal for you or have there been times when you’ve considered other
have always enjoyed writing music, but never really saw it as a possible career
path until recently. I am actually a senior at the Savannah
College of Art and Design studying
Advertising, and for a while, I thought I would graduate and go work at an
advertising agency. My mother was a costume designer for 20 years and this
summer I followed in her footsteps working as a costume assistant on a movie,
so that is also something I was considering pursuing. I feel like I was
destined for some type of creative career and I feel so
incredibly lucky that I am able to do music in a professional capacity because
ultimately it’s what I enjoy doing the most.
TITL: Ultimately, what made you decide to make the leap
and put yourself and your music out in the world?
I have been writing, singing and playing for years, but I never really took myself seriously as a musician. When I met my producer, Noah Taylor, we started writing and recording, and I became so enamored with the process. I was having so much fun doing it I thought the logical next step was to release it, if anything to show family and friends this cool project I was working on.
TITL: Which bands or artists
might you say most influence the music
you make? Is there, in particular, you’ve been inspired by over the years?
up my parents played Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles exclusively. We didn’t
have a TV or radio, so I didn’t even know that other music even existed.
All three of them
have had a huge impact on the music
I make subconsciously, and they
are all legends I admire so much. Recently though, I have been finding a lot of inspiration in iconic female
artists like Lana Del Ray, Kimbra, King Princess, and Maggie Rogers.
TITL: When it came to your debut single, “Wish You
Well” what made you decide not to tell anyone, even those closest to you,
that you were releasing it, and what was their
reaction when you did?
One of the worst
things an artist can do is take themselves
too seriously, and the second-worst thing they can do is sell themselves short. I am constantly trying to
fight the latter of the two.
I wanted to put my music out there
and let it speak for itself with no expectations. When the song came out the people closest to me expected it,
but pretty much everyone else was shocked. My phone died the night of the release
and I didn’t charge it until the next
afternoon, so when it came back to life it was going crazy and I thought that
someone had died or that there
was a zombie apocalypse. It was really cool to see so much support from people
for a project that was so personal.
Is there a story behind the song?
“Wish You Well“ was my reaction to the end of a relationship. I was so sad and my
heart was broken so writing the song
was super therapeutic. I held the experience so close to me for so
long, and releasing the song helped me let the pain go. It was a way to bookend
that time of my life and move on to new love and
TITL: The track
has so far achieved 100,000 streams on Spotify – did you ever anticipate the track
would go down so well with music fans?
even a little bit, I thought my mom and grandma would listen and maybe an aunt
or an uncle if I shared it with our family Facebook group.
TITL: Tell me a little about
your new track “Blue Velvet.”
“Blue Velvet” tells the story of how
I fell for a boy with blue eyes. It showcases how we met when he asked me to be
with him, and eventually, the day I knew I loved him. The song
follows my emotional journey through doubt and fear and my fall into the blue
TITL: The video
drops on December 4th. How did you come up with concept for it and do you enjoy
being creative in that way?
original idea for the video was to get together with one of my best friends, Liam Haehnle and
prance around Savannah GA in blue dresses with his super 8 camera. Luckily, he
decided to bring Calvin Herbst in as director and within a week we had a crew of thirteen, five locations – including
a soap factory and a synagogue – and a four-day shoot planned. Executing my
vision was one of the most
exhilarating feelings, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire
process. I’ve always enjoyed visual art, and creating a piece that tells the story of my music was something I really
loved doing, and can’t wait to do again.
TITL: Is there an EP or album in the works?
Yes, there is I have been in the studio all week and am SO excited for everyone to
heat what I have been working on.
TITL: Who or what most influences your song-writing and is
song-writing something that comes easy to you?
experiences influence my song-writing the most.
When I started writing it wasn’t to complete a song, it was just to get out
what I was feeling in a way that made sense. I am not really able to sit down
and say, “Ok I am going to write about love today,” I more just start playing
piano and see what comes out.
TITL: What, in your opinion, makes a song truly great and
which would you say is the greatest ever written?
song that is truly great takes you to a different place. It’s a song you can
feel in your bones and is universally understood. I think we all have great
songs within us. The greatest song ever written… wow. There are so many songs and so many
songwriters, I feel like there
is so much room for greatness and creativity for each artist that picking one
would be unfathomable.
TITL: Given that you achieved a huge response on Spotify
without not telling anyone about the release of your
first single, what are your thoughts on social media? Do you think there
are any downsides to society and the music
industry appearing to be so reliant on technology and the likes of Twitter
and Facebook, or is it just the way the world
think social media is such an amazing tool, of course,
it has its downsides, but being able to connect with people across the globe is such a unique experience
to my generation. I have heard from so many people through Instagram about how Wish You Well has helped them through their breakup, helped them find closure from their relationships, or helped them get over their ex. This was something I never
expected, so I am grateful to social media for connecting me to people with
TITL: Moving away from music slightly, you were Mila Kunis’
costume assistant on the set of her
latest film. Is that side of the entertainment business something you also
have an interest in, and how if at all does that side influence or affect the music
side of things?
The really cool thing about
working on this film as a costume assistant was that I was following in my
mom’s footsteps. She was a costume designer in LA for 20 years and worked on the entire run of That
70’s Show with Mila for eight years. During the pre-production phase of the film,
I was with my mom and we saw Mila for the first
time in ten years. It was so amazing to see them
reunite after so long and to be able to work with someone I had grown up
around. That side of the entertainment
business is so fascinating to me, and it influences me overall as an artist. I
learned so much about what goes into a giant production and the process behind making large scale
art and it has really helped me to see and curate the bigger picture within my
TITL: Would you like to do more work on film sets etc. or are the coming months set to be more focussed on your music?
am definitely more focused on my music at this point in my life, but I don’t
think I am done with film sets quite yet. There
are so many variables in life, who knows, maybe in ten years, I’ll be living in
Australia in my tiny home with a charcuterie restaurant.
TITL: Finally then, as a fairly new artist, what would you like to see the industry achieve and where would you like it to go in terms of growth and development in the coming years? What mark are you hoping to leave on it as your legacy many years from now?
a new artist, I am just going to keep working hard and hope for the best. I don’t like to get too
caught up in the future, as long as I am writing
music that I love, I will always be happy.
Velvet” a listen below and for more information on Georgia VanNewkirk, follow
her on Twitter and Instagram.