Words by Jas Bourgeois
Photo courtesy the artist
George Alice, winner of triple j’s Unearthed High competition in 2019, is quickly becoming a household name. The Australian teen makes music that delicately blends the fun of pop with the tenderness of soul.
Her most recent single, Teenager, is an ode to everything good (and bad) about youth: The balance between being young with an expectation of acting older, the pressures of high school, and the thrills of adolescence.
Alice answered a few questions for us about Teenager (and teenagedom) as well as what’s up next for her.
TTM: Can you tell me a little bit more about how you got started with music, and what’s led you to where you’re at now?
I started playing guitar when I was 6 because I wanted to be like my dad, he taught me how to play and taught me a lot about music when I was little. Mum and dad really pushed me to do whatever I wanted and being creative came really natural to me so they supported me the whole way.
I think your music has this poignancy to it that’s really reminiscent of older soul music, but it’s also so fresh and pop-y! Who are some of your inspirations?
I love Maggie Rogers, Adele, Lily Allen, great lyricists. I love listening to what people have to say and their creative visions as well as matching that with playful production and a lot of moving parts.
I’ve had `Teenager` stuck on loop in my head for days now, and it’s brought up all sorts of thoughts and questions!
How much do you think your age affects the way you’re received? Do you think it’s something people are too focused on, or is it something you want to emphasize about yourself and your artistry?
I think unfortunately age determines a lot and especially how you’re received. No matter how hard you work or what you’ve achieved age always seems to determine your worth in other people’s eyes.
I personally emphasize it, because I’m trying to aim what I do at other teenagers, and trying to speak to youth about what being a teenager is truly like. It’s focused on too much, but if you can’t change it you need to learn how to maneuver it.
I think you really capture the mixed feelings that come with still being a kid technically, but also being an almost-adult who’s expected to have the next phase of life figured out. I’m in my late 20’s now, but listening to this brings me this sense of comfort that I didn’t always have as a teen. Can you tell me more about the writing process?
I wanted to make a song that does exactly that. It’s like a big hug to people who maybe didn’t have closure in their teen years, or who are going through a tough time in their teen years. I wrote it with my friend Maribelle Añes (Vetta borne) a couple months after I left high school I felt really drained by the whole process. I was always uncomfortable and wasn’t authentic so I decided to write an anthem about it.
I’ve seen the release of `Teenager` referred to as a step in starting the next phase of your career. Can you tell me more about what direction you’re moving towards, and what you envision the next phase to look like?
I think the next phase for me is just growing up and showing that progress. Who I am from Unearthed High to now will be something I want to look back on and be proud of how far I’ve come. There’s new music with a better explored sound which I’m excited to share.
I think sometimes people talk about their teenage years as something they don’t miss at all, but I certainly don’t think that should have to be the case at all. What’s something you love about being a teen?
I think it’s really easy to be ungrateful for being a teenager, it’s awkward, uncomfortable, uncertain and having to go to high school is lame. I definitely have been for a long time. being a teenager is so magical, you have all the time in the world to experiment, figure out yourself and decide whoever/whatever you want to be. You are always experiencing things for the first time. You’ll never get that back. It’s like one big choose your own adventure story.
What’s coming up for you? Any big releases we can look forward to?
I’ve been working on a lot of new music, I’m unsure as to what the release looks like yet. Whether it’s a body of work or more singles but it will all feel right within time so I will wait until it does!