Georgia Lines, performing two major concerts as part of New Zealand Music Month. Photo/Provided
Singer Georgia Lines performs at the Waiata Reo Māori Live showcase as part of New Zealand Music Month. She reveals the view from her window, and beyond.
I live right next to a park which is
quite hidden but it’s amazing. Unless you live in the area, you wouldn’t know it was there. It’s a beautiful park right on our doorstep. My favorite color is pink and we have a pink sofa in our living room. You can sit and look out the window and into the park, but it’s also like people can look out the window of our soul, of our home.
In the park there is a children’s play area with a slide, monkey bars and swings and lots of bark to save children from injury – I had a lot when I was a kid – but the majority is made up of tall, beautiful trees and greenery. It is massive and spacious. In the morning there are people walking their dogs and after work there is often a yoga class right outside our door. I don’t know if they know we’re here. I feel a little uncomfortable when I go out, like “Hi…I’m just going to my car, sorry.”
During the day it’s quiet, which I like, there’s a peace and quiet. Tauranga is quite busy and there is always stuff going on everywhere. But there is this lovely peace and quiet that happens here during the day.
People fascinate me. It’s like I’m silently watching from our living space – but not in a creepy way! When I was a kid, I used to look at people and make up stories about who they were, where they went, and what they did for work, creating those stories.
A lot of my early songwriting was about other people and stories I would create in my imagination. I think it was because I was too scared to be honest about how I really felt and to share the depths of my soul with complete strangers.
But the more I write and develop my artistic talent, the more comfortable I feel with my own perspective and thoughts. Even as a human being, I’m getting more and more comfortable with myself. It was the fear of “what are people going to think?” and create something to please others or to gain the approval of someone I admire.
It’s been a crucial journey for me because I really struggle to please people. I got to a point where I was like, “If I’m not honest with myself and with these songs, they’ll never mean anything to anyone else.” There is this risk of sharing and being vulnerable with people who you have no guarantee that they are receiving it safely or in good faith. You mean you don’t care what people think, but you do. It’s an unraveling of that way of thinking for me and relearning how can I be completely myself and bring that as an offering to anyone who crosses my path and my music. It was a trip and it still is a trip.
Was it beneficial? I think it is necessary. My goal as an artist is for my career to be sustainable and enjoyed rather than feeling like I’m chasing the rat wheel of never really getting anywhere or never really getting there or feeling like I have to move on. fit into this box to succeed. It was necessary to go on this journey and support me and say “Actually, Georgia, you’re good at what you do, trust you know what to do, trust you don’t need 10 people to tell yourself you’re doing a good job before you think you’re doing a good job.”
I re-recorded my song My Love and re-released it as Tōrere as part of Waiata Anthems Week last year. I don’t speak te reo but I would like to. I can speak very few basic words and phrases, but I wouldn’t raise my hand to say anything. I am at the end of my reo journey.
Obviously, I had never translated anything into te reo, it was such a privilege to be part of this whole process. I learned so much. I remember saying to [musician] Ria Hall that I felt nervous because I wanted to be careful with the language and make sure my pronunciation was right so that there was that honor and respect for the language there. It was something that I was really aware of. I wanted to make sure that felt in the way I performed the song.
The most encouraging thing she said was, “You try. Even if you’re wrong, people can see you’re trying. You just have to start.” It has stuck in my mind ever since. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you put effort, care, and respect into learning the language.
* According to Karl Puschmann
Georgia Lines performs at the Auckland Museum on May 16 with musicians from APO and also performs at the Waiata Reo Māori Live showcase on May 19, which is streamed live on YouTube.
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