George Maple: the girl behind the voice
One to watch
After booking slots at SXSW last month and Coachella this month (performing alongside Sydney producer What So Not), the slow-burn success story of producer, songwriter and vocalist George Maple looks set to pay off this year.
Often compared (favourably) to Jessie Ware, the 24 year old is hardly an overnight sensation, having sung professionally for over ten years. "I started performing when I was 13, because I looked very old and could perform in clubs," laughs Higgs. "And [since then] I've been writing on and off."
Sydney-bred, Higgs got her start covering "Jazz, James Taylor and K.D. Lang for pocket money when I was 15." A regular at her local yacht club in Sydney's Newport, Higgs rarely sung pop - "just old songs that me and my parents liked - 'A Case of You' by Joni Mitchell, 'Hallelujah' and those heartstring-y songs. I think my parents used to fill the restaurant with their friends!"
The practise paid off, with Higgs developing a songwriter's ear for well-crafted pop songs. "I only really discovered indie music when I was 18," she confesses. "I love writing good pop music and growing up I was really influenced by Max Martin and Linda Perry - those cornerstone [pop] songwriters."
After collaborating with Aussie DJs Flight Facilities on 'Foreign Language', Higgs began to see singing as something other than a hobby. "I toured internationally [with Flight Facilities] and started figuring out what it was to be a professional artist, rather than someone who just sits at home, writes songs and does gigs. It's been such an evolutionary process," she says.
But it wasn't until she lent her sultry vocals to the Flume track 'Bring You Down' that she came up with her stage name, George Maple. "I'd been writing music for years under my own name and I wanted to develop a project. At the time, I was afraid that people would know what I was thinking and feeling, so it was almost like a buffer. Now, I have no problem with people knowing what's in my head but I think I needed that vessel."
Sharing the same manager, it's certainly no coincidence that Flume has been a major champion of Higgs' work, collaborating with her and producing 2014's 'Talk, Talk', off last year's Vacant Space EP. That said, her lyrical, production and vocal talent speaks for itself and it's certainly keeping her busy. "I don't think I've been in one place for more than two months for three and a half years now," she confesses.
You could argue that Higgs, like Flume, is part of the new breed of musician - the one who can produce music in their own bedroom or on a plane, from anywhere in the world. "I work a lot on my own, on my laptop in a café or something," she admits. "It's nice that we can do it anywhere these days."
But even though she may be carving out beats on her laptop, when it comes toher songwriting and influences, she's an old soul. "I'm so fascinated by human dynamics, the power of sex and watching how you react personally to a situation. Everything I've written about has been about an experience. I take an emotion or moment and just exaggerate it," she explains.
A self-confessed perfectionist, Higgs has no plans for an album - yet. "I feel like if I do, it'll have to be a solid body of work. It [has to be] something that I feel is good enough to put down for the next 10 years." Judging by the strength her work so far, we think that's likely.
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