SOUND OFF: GEORGIA KU
Aug 4, 2020
PopularTV chatted with Georgia Ku to talk about her new EP ‘Real’, the best advice she’s been giving, and what she’d be doing if not for music. Keep reading for our exclusive interview as well as her ‘Lighthouse’ Official Video.
1. Can you walk us through your music origin story?
I’m from England and I always loved music as I was growing up. My dad had a music collection, so I grew up listening to everything from Bob Dylan to the Fugees, to Gladys Knight and Diana Ross, to more chill music like Oasis. I definitely got an insight to all different kinds of music and a love for music from a very young age. It wasn’t until I was 16 and I left school that I decided to study music for three years and then move to London. It was always my dream to move out to America, but I wanted to conquer here before I dove into that. I stayed down there a couple of years and that’s why when I had an opportunity to come out to LA, I just decided to pack my bags and come out. I didn’t know anyone honestly and I just really hustled, and during that time I found that it was possible to have a career in songwriting and that made me happy because I was happy to be behind-the-scenes and not in the spotlight. I just focused on songwriting for the first 2 years I was here and after that I was actually offered a couple of record deals and that’s when I felt a shift. After writing a while for others, I felt like I wanted to tell my story and people just kept saying “No no no no”, then I got offered these deals and I just felt like it was the right time to explore that. I signed my record deal and since then I’ve been focusing on both. I love to pull everything into my artistry, but it definitely takes a lot of pressure off of me that I can still write for others and not just focus on me the whole time.
2. Being from the UK, what differences did you really see from the music scene there vs here in the US?
It sounds kind of crazy because the US sounds scarier because it’s way bigger, but because I wasn’t in a bubble anymore and I was out of my comfort zone, it pushed me to dream bigger. I think America enables me to dream bigger and to just really go for my goals. I think it can sometimes be deceiving, like in the UK, it feels like you’re just as big as the UK and you’re only as big as where you are. I felt like when I branched out into America, I had to have that mindset like I’m as big as where I’m going, and I had to dream big and I had to just go for it. I think the difference is America really gave me permission to dream big and just go for what I wanted to achieve.
3. Have you been able to tour yet?
Briefly, but not properly. I’ve done it for promo and radio tours like when my song ‘So Close’ was on Top 40, I did a small radio tour, so that was amazing. I joined NOTD at a couple of their shows in New York and in LA, but that’s the extent of it. I wanted to wait until we put my EP out so I would have more content to perform, but obviously with everything going on, it’s definitely not going to happen any time soon. I’m really excited for when all that picks up even for small venues. I’m just excited to get back on the stage!
4. Congratulations on your new EP ‘REAL’. What was the creative process like for that project?
It was tough but also very exciting. I never went into the room and thought “I’m gonna write a song today.” I just wanted to write a great song and honestly that’s when the best songs come about because it takes the pressure off of myself to deliver. It almost just lets me sit in the moment and live in the song rather than try and push for something that maybe I’ll put too much pressure on myself to actually reach. It’s real and it’s so authentic. It’s my most authentic piece of work that that I’ve done so far because it’s so personal to me. When I finished those songs, I knew that I wanted to keep them because I left the room and it was just something about them. If I can imagine myself singing them and telling it as my story and I felt like it was too special for me to give away for anyone else, that’s how I knew that it was something that I wanted to keep.
5. Is there a song from the EP that you feel best encompasses you as an artist?
I think they all do collectively. Maybe ‘Lighthouse’ because it is genuinely about being a light for someone and I think that’s what I want more than anything from my being an artist. I want to be a light for anyone that I can. The whole goal is bigger than the music. It’s to be a role model It’s to be that person who can be relatable even though it might not seem like it’s because I might be achieving my dreams and doing things, but no, I’m still human at the end of the day. All of them represent me as an artist because at the end of the day I’m singing my experiences and my feelings and it’s authentic.
6. You have written and created for other artists like Iggy Azalea and written with artists like Martin Garrix. How does that process differ when you’re creating for yourself versus someone else?
If I am writing for a specific artist, I like to let them have a lot of free rein. I want to get in their head and what they want to talk about and be specific to them. When I write for me, it’s kind of backwards because I don’t like to think that I’m writing for me because it puts too much pressure on myself.
7. What are you most excited to perform live from the EP?
It depends on the audience because there’re songs from the EP that I feel like really hit you like ‘Big Plans’ because I’ve performed it before and it’s brought people to tears. It depends how I’m feeling. It depends on how the audience is feeling. If I want to sing something that’s going to get people going, I think ‘Hold Me Close’ is going to be a great one!
8. Is there a venue or festival that you have a dream of performing at?
We kind of all dream of Madison Square Garden or Coachella and all of these festivals. Those are definitely goals, but I mean I would be grateful for something small and intimate. Just as long as I can connect with people and my fanbase and get my music out, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that Madison Square Garden and Coachella weren’t on the bucket list.
9. Do you remember your first performance?
When I was a kid, I would have all of my family members sit down listen to me do a performance for them. I used to go to an academy where I would sing, dance, and act and I was in the play Annie. I remember having a solo for that when I was about 10. I’ve been performing since I was young. When I was older, I studied music, so we had to get up and perform every week, but when I moved to America I stopped performing for a very, very long time because I was so behind the scenes, I was no longer an artist. I didn’t really want to be an artist; I was happy it was just me, the four walls of the booth, and the mic. That was the extent of it.
10. How has the way you write music changed since your start?
I think I’ve definitely gained a lot of experience by just going in the deep end which has happened, but I was given the confidence to work through it. When you feel discouraged or you put yourself down and feel that you’re not worthy of being in those rooms, or you feel like you’re not good enough, you’re not going to get anywhere. It’s a mindset that gets you from one state to another and another. Just keep building up and if you’re not willing to grow, you’re not really going to change or be flexible and move with whatever is going to come your way.
I also think I’ve grown accustomed to writing with different kinds of people in different styles of music.
11. Do you have any best advice that you’ve been given since you’ve been in the industry?
Yeah, a few include ‘try to be your most authentic self’ and ‘set realistic goals/goals that you can reach’. It’s always good to set bigger goals but when starting off you want to have those reachable goals so you don’t put yourself down for not being able to reach them since that can always set you back. Being willing and able to grow and knowing that you could have peaked but what else is there that I can be doing and staying humble and grateful through it all.
12. Other than singing and writing, is there another part of the industry or another industry that you are looking to explore?
I love fashion, so I would love to partner with brands. I am obsessed with like health and well-being, so anything to do with healthy eating or wellness, and clean chemical and toxin free makeup. I feel like not enough people know about these things and I would love to use my platform in a way to really help people. Also, mental health organizations and things that are going to help people get from A to B or just get in the better head space.
13. Do you think that quarantine has helped or hindered your creativity ?
I think it’s been a bit of both. At the start it was kind a chance to take time and just breathe a little bit because I this industry is so go, go, go and so fast paced that we got to take a step back and actually think about what’s worth it like how to spend more time with the people we love. It was a time to take a step back and get some rest. We decided we were going to finish the EP and push to finish it within a month so, it definitely gave me drive to be creative because I knew I had a lot of work to do and when I have a to-do list, I’m going to get it done.
14. What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for music?
I love writing, so I don’t know if ever it would be something in the field of journalism or writing, but at the same time I don’t know if I could not have the creativity. Maybe fashion or something else that I have a passion for like the fitness and wellness field.
15. Last question, what do you wish you got asked more in interviews?
That’s a good question. Maybe more specifically what my songs are about and what they mean so people can get inside of that. I think it’s cool to see them from different perspectives.
Follow Georgia Ku:
Disclaimer: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.