I hop off the tube at High Street Kensington and step into the autumn evening, ready to check out upcoming singer-songwriter Georgia Buchanan. Earlier on in the day I’ve seen Paul McCartney play a surprise set in Covent Garden; not a bad warm up act for a young lady at the start of her music career.
The queue snakes round the soaring building at No. 99 - home of the dazzling Kensington Roof Gardens. I head one hundred feet upwards in the lift, snatch past the bouncers and weave through palm trees and clusters of magenta and citron flowers towards the den of music.
I find myself plonked behind a ginormous lass who seems to have coated herself in jars of B.O. in a misguided attempt to prepare for headline act Matt Cardale.
But the show must go on! Up springs Georgia in a velvety crop top and slinky black leather dungarees. Joined by electro-acoustic guitarist Sam Wardle and indie drummer Lara Bampfylde, she picks up the mic with a casual vibe and out comes a smooth, deep caramel voice.
The hazy lipstick red and smurf-blue lighting falls upon the surrounding Romanesque walls and she taps her tum to the beat of ‘High’, a quick-paced song laced with sexual frustration. Her music mixes pop with R’n’B and there’s a strong Justin Timberlake sound in the choppy bridge of original song ‘Looking Down’.
She’s got the vocal twirls and power of Christina Aguilera coupled with irresistibly raw tones in the higher phrases of Naughty Boy’s ‘La La La’. It’s no surprise that her YouTube cover has had almost 150,000 hits. She seems to thrive on the upbeat numbers, swinging her hips, throwing her hair back and beating her fists to the rhythm of her closing number.
|Georgia at Kensington Roof Gardens|
I catch her for an interview in the open top roof garden as she sips on a Vodka Tonic...
I like to describe it as gritty pop. It's pop, R&B vocal melodies but it's got a slightly more gritty production style, so kind of a Banks or Lana Del Ray thing rather than a pop princess Katy Perry type thing. That's the vibe I’m going for but I'm still in the early stage of the production. I'm working with two new producers who are really good. One’s Two Inch Punch and it's supposed to be my first single, ‘Looking Down’.
How did you come across your guitarist and drummer?
Guitarist is at the ACM in Guildford where I did a part time vocal course when I was at school. They (the ACM) are right by me and I put in their news bulletin ‘I'm on the hunt for a guitarist, here's my page, blah blah blah’…and through that he got back to me. He's in a band himself - they supported Bastille back in the day. He's just 19.
Lara (drummer) is a friend of a friend. She saw my friend ‘liked’ my music page on Facebook and was like ‘Oh I'm looking for someone to play with, can you introduce me?’ and at the time she was finishing a drum diploma. We met up, had a play and were both into the same music. People love that it's a female drummer.
It's a fun team!
What’s been your favourite live performance to date?
Probably Farr Festival. It’s the first festival I’ve done. It was just so much fun.
If you could only ever sing one song, what would it be?
I'm just guna do a shameless plug - one of my new songs, ‘All My Gold’ ‘cos I just think it's really catchy and it's really lyrical! And it's actually really fun to sing...and it has the word “fucking” in it which I love singing!
How would your friends describe you?
Shall I say some good things or some bad things...?
Um…lazy, care free, fun…soppy!
Where’s your favourite place in the world?
Probably Barbados. Can I say just the whole country? I've been there lots of times since I was a baby so I feel like I know the island. I love how it's just tiny and everybody's really friendly. And all the coasts have lots of different seas and beaches. And the weather’s amazing and the food's great.
What do you do in your spare time?
Cinema is my vice; I'm obsessed with the cinema. I love salt popcorn & chocolate raisins. You have the warm popcorn and you pour the chocolate raisins in and then as you're going you get the occasional gooey chocolate. My friend told me about it like five years ago and I hate her because I can never have popcorn by itself and often I won't give a crap what the movie is as long as I can go for popcorn!
What’s your favourite film?
Couldn’t possibly say - I have so many, but they're all quite typically crap ones. I like Lucky Number Slevin.
Who’s your favourite actor/actress?
I love Leo (DiCaprio), that's very standard. Now he's not as pretty but I still absolutely adore him. That new film, The Wolf Of Wall Street, is coming out - I can't stop watching the trailer. I love Mila Kunis… You can tell the types of films I watch from that! Not quite as deep…
If you could perform a duet with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Um, ooh… Probably Justin Timberlake. Just ‘cos he’s so cool and timeless and amazing. It would be such a show. I just don’t think anybody’s as cool as him. Now he’s back on the music scene he’s come back in such a big way.
Who’s your guilty celebrity crush?
Harry Styles. That’s so typical.
Where do you go to write your songs?
Usually just in my room. I’ve written out in the garden…one was the song about sexual frustration! It’s usually with my guitar, even though I’m not great on guitar and I would never perform on my guitar.
What’s the most embarrassing experience you’ve ever had?
When I was like 11, I was doing a handstand in my bedroom in a nightie, my brother’s friend who I fancied walked past, saw me bare-assed. He’s here tonight. He probably won’t remember but he kept being like “Nice bottom, Georgie” the next day… I still remember that, I’m surprised, that just came to me!
What’s next for you, musically?
I need to get a manager because whilst I think I’m doing quite well by myself so far, it would be much easier to have somebody with the contacts who can set me up with gigs and things. I’m working on my EP and hopefully will get an independent label to release that early next year. And then a single release to follow, I think ‘Looking Down’.
And lastly, a quick-fire round of ‘Either/Or’…
Nandos/Pizza Express? Pizza Express
East/West London? East London
Fame/Respect? Ooh…I feel like I should say respect (whispered) but fame!
No make-up/No razor? No make-up
Pyjamas/Nightie? Pyjamas…since that night!
Pyjamas/Nightie? Pyjamas…since that night!
Georgia's cover of 'La La La' by Naughty Boy
Photography by Sophie Ellis
Friday 18th October
Kensington Roof Gardens