Adelaide’s rising star: George Alice

16 year old South Australian musician, George Alice, shot to fame in August when she won Triple J’s Unearthed High competition. Ahead of her performance at Laneway Festival this coming February, we chat to her about what she’s been up to since the big win.

How has your life changed since becoming the Triple J Unearthed High champ for 2019?
My whole life pretty much got flipped upside down since I won. I never expected anything to come from it when I applied, so I didn’t really prepare myself. There are so many people keeping up with what I’m doing, so many amazing mentors and friends that I’ve met through the process. It’s just been a super authentic and really organic process that I’m super grateful for.  

In what ways has your life changed?
I’ve been travelling a lot since Unearthed High. Pretty much as soon as I won, I went to the States, to LA and NYC, then straight to London, I did some stuff there, then I went to Sydney and Melbourne. I’ve been getting a taste for what my life is going to be like now, learning the ropes of the music industry and getting everything set up for this career.

At what point did you kind of decide to take music and song writing seriously as a profession?
It was something I always dreamed of doing since I was about five, but I thought it was a distant dream to have so I didn’t really manifest it to the universe as I should have. But now, since I was maybe 11, I was like ‘right, I really need to hustle for this. I need to get over all these fears of singing live or writing songs or presenting these songs that I’ve written to people.’ Then Unearthed High happened and things kind of fell into place.

What’s it like to hear Circles on the radio?
It’s still so insane. Sometimes I’m in the car and the song will be playing and I don’t even know what to do. Sometimes I second guess myself, I’m like ‘wait, is that really me?!’ I still get the most amazing feeling, my friends always send me videos of it being played, it’s still super exciting.

Tell me about how Circles has been received, and the opportunities that have opened up since releasing it?
I played my first show last month at Wine Machine, and walking out after I played and having people know who I am… people ask for pictures, people come and recognise me when I’m walking down the street. Playing my first show, I didn’t think anybody would be there. Walking out, I was pretty nervous and didn’t know what to except, but all these people were there screaming at me, it was really really cool.

What has been your experience in the music industry so far given you’re so young?
Pretty much everybody that I’ve met has been like ‘well done for being 16 and doing so much.’ I feel like there would be a lot of 16 year olds that would be under a lot of pressure and not really know how to handle themselves with such a following on socials or have the whole world following and waiting for their next move. I feel like a lot of people could crumble under that pressure. Most people in the industry are like ‘well done for doing what you’re doing and how can I help you do that’ because, you know, they understand that it’s going to be tough at 16 going into the industry.
I love the industry, I think it’s such an amazing place to be, I feel so blessed to be in it, I didn’t think I’d ever have the opportunities that I do, but everybody has just been so lovely so far.

What have been some of your very favourite experiences in the industry so far?
Definitely getting to go to the States – I’d never been to America before – and getting to meet so many amazing mentors and people, signing with Paradigm while I was there. Everything was really exciting and fresh and new. I feel like this is a time that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.

What are you working on and towards right now?
Pretty much just my live show, getting that sounding how I want it to. There’s been a few bumps in the process. Having played my first live show now, I know what I want to change, what I don’t want to change, what I can do better. I feel like everything has been falling into place, and I’m super excited for all the live shows to come, working on new music, and getting everything ready for 2020.

What’s been your experience of Laneway? What will your set be like in 2020?
Laneway is always one of those festivals that I’ve wanted to go to for so long. I’ve always been too young to go – I was always just short of the mark to go in. I haven’t been, but I’m really excited, I think it’s going to be a really fun day. My set is looking really really cool. I’m super happy with all of the songs in it, it’s super fun and super playful, it’s going to get everybody moving.

See George Alice play at Laneway Festival
7 February 2020