Even after one listen to Melbourne singer-songwriter Georgia Fields, her soft, folk charm is completely encapsulating. Her most recent release Astral Debris, which she will perform with a string quartet at Northcote Uniting Church, is bound to be a completely ethereal and moving performance.
Although the album is shrouded in themes of fairytales and mythology, evoking visuals of fantasy and magic, she explains that there was a shift behind the album from using the writing process in a diary like-fashion.
“From what I’ve been doing now and going back through some of my older work…just noticing how that when I started songwriting it was very much a diary kind of catharsis,” she explains.
“I was really writing specifically about personal experiences…as I’ve gotten older and have been practicing songwriting for ten years now, I’ve moved more from personal experience to being inspired by – particularly with Astral Debris – archetypes, mythology and fairy tales, and I guess the common threads in stories that are weaved continuously.”
“You’ll see it in modern movies, there are I guess frameworks that for some reason humans tend to keep going back to. So I was inspired by Greek mythology and (the song) “The Hood and the Hunter” is a retelling of the Red Riding Hood fable.”
With just over a decade of actively releasing her music, Georgia jokingly explains that her biggest lesson is to “always wear underwear on stage!” as well as to “keep being herself.”
“…I feel like it’s really easy to compare, especially when I started playing music it was MySpace days, and now it’s Facebook and Instagram, and it’s really easy to just see what everyone else is up to. I get together with my artist friends and we say to each other ‘Oh gee, you’re doing great things!’, so just to keep focused on creating the work that I want to make and hopefully everyone will end up liking it.” she says.
As well as her own music, Georgia recently scored the soundtrack for the film Winter at Westbeth, offered personally by director and friend, Rohan Sprang. She explains it was a ‘huge learning curve’.
“…Because I’m so to using music singularly when you pair it with the visuals you need like, an eighth of what you would need when it’s just by itself. You don’t notice it; you think ‘Oh, that would be fine’, but then you pair it with the visual and you go ‘Oh my god, that’s just way too busy’. So that was a huge lesson in just realising that one note or just two instruments together is plenty.” she explains.
As well as being active in the Melbourne music community, which she explains is ‘absolutely beautiful’, Georgia is a regular at local panels and events about feminism around Victoria.
“I discovered feminism when a friend of mine, Karen Pickering, asked me to speak on a panel about feminism and music, and I was like ‘Oh, I suppose I’m a feminist, I could speak on this panel’. It was actually really strategic of her, because she likes to pick people who are really experienced feminists, and people who are open to the idea.”
“Slowly, after watching other women and hearing them speak about what feminism is to them, learning about intersectional feminism, I kind of realised that I carried a lot of insecurity and comparing myself to other female artists. I noticed that just before I turned 30….(it) was something that was really holding me back.”
“…I kind of made a purposeful decision to start actively supporting the female musicians in my life, and then slowly that fear that I kind of wasn’t good enough or comparing; it kind of just started chipping away…And I now see that the more we hold each other up and support each other, the stronger we all are.”
For Georgia’s upcoming Northcote show she’s no a stranger to the string set-up, having done songs solely with strings before. She explains that she thought of doing something different as opposed to a regular performance.
“I just thought, wouldn’t it be lovely to just do something a bit…I wouldn’t say open…but just give the songs a bit more space, and quite personally enjoy going to a show where I can sit down! I’ve seen a few shows at the (Northcote Uniting) Church…I saw Iluka who are an acapella vocal trio, and the acoustics are just gorgeous. So I just thought why not do something different?” she says.
As well as her own material, Georgia has been performing a moving strings cover of David Bowie‘s entire Ziggy Stardust album with strings since 2015, which she states, “Is always really amazing and fun because it’s just great to reimagine that material, and people get really excited about performing Bowie which is wonderful.” With Bowie’s passing creating a new light for Fields’ own performance, she explains that it still as raw as ever.
“The songs you cry a lot harder, and I know at our place we really struggled to put on any Bowie records for the first year.” she explains.
“I know that a lot of people wanted to listen to his material a lot after he passed away, but my partner and I just sort of… every time we’d hear it we would just feel a little pain in our hearts, like we couldn’t quite bear to hear it, and now we’re coming around to (his anniversary) again now obviously, and it’s a real loss to the music community because he was such an innovator, and continued to be for so much of his career.”
“Nothing lasts forever, we’re all on the same journey, so it just inspires me to keep creating and pushing my own boundaries.”
See Georgia perform Astral Debris with her string quartet on March 4th, 2017 at Northcote Uniting Church (AA). Tickets are $20 and are available to purchase here.