Photo / Michael Schwartz
Interview / Erica Russell
It was a twist of fate when an email about Genevieve landed in my inbox a few weeks ago. Just the night prior I had discovered the enigmatic artist through some serendipitous clicking-through on YouTube, and had been jamming to the only song I could find from her all that evening. And suddenly, voila! The next morning I awake to an introductory email and press release, hot on the heels of her new single release that very morning.
Who is Genevieve, you ask? Well, aside from being a talented singer-songwriter, and an extraordinary new talent in the indie-pop sphere, the artist – formerly of Company of Thieves – creates warm, hyper-saturated melodic electro-pop along the veins of Tove Lo and Marina and the Diamonds. (Also, she’s really gorgeous. Not that it matters, but yeah, she’s gorgeous.) Of course, talk is cheap… but music isn’t, so take a listen to Genevieve’s joyful debut anthem, “Colors,” to hear for yourself:
To celebrate the upcoming release of her debut EP, ‘Show Your Colors,’ due out this spring, we chatted with the emerging pop star about her history, the transition between musical projects, and how colors play a role in how she sees and hears her music.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I grew up in Chicago and started singing as soon as I could talk. It is my favorite way to communicate. My background is complex, of course, but something that’s unique to my background is that I am my mother’s first born. However, through the years I was able to experience being the middle child when my parents divorced and re-married into new families, the youngest child when my younger sister moved in with my mom, and the only child when my older sister went to college. I attribute my sensitivity and chameleon-like personality to this shift in identity throughout my early life.
You were previously in a band called Company of Thieves. Can you talk about the transition between that project and your new material?
Actually, the transition away from my band and into a new expression has been quite painful. It involves a lot of forgiveness and gentleness. This is a complete shift in my reality, my identity, and certainly in the way I create. I have been very fortunate to remain lit up and willing to grow, especially when it comes to collaboration. I moved from my hometown of Chicago to Los Angeles and started writing with tons of complete strangers right when I arrived. I am so vulnerable in these situations; it keeps the ideas fresh and it keeps me honest!
What is inspiring you right now, whether musically or aesthetically?
Right now I am inspired by color, texture, sounds, emotions, imagination, structures, shapes, the appearance of boundaries…
Take us through the journey of crafting your new track, “Colors”: What was the process like and what does the song express for you?
I think “Colors” was the 2nd song I wrote when I got out to L.A. It was a beautiful sunny day when I arrived to meet Boots at his coach house/recording room in Studio City and when I walked in I noticed his kids were running around in the backyard just jumping and shouting and splashing into the pool, having the most delightful time laughing and competing with each other and it was one of the most joyful things I had witnessed in a long time. That sounds quite simple because it was, really. Boots made the beat and the general direction of the production and chord structure right away; it was infectious!
At one point he was drumming on his desktop and recording it! And we kept stacking harmonies, really tripping out on the layers of “Colors”. We were just playing! I kept thinking to myself, “Yes! This is why I love music, because it’s free and anything goes and it’s such a release – game on! I’m turned on again, to the fun and the love of it all!” The purity of the afternoon became this giant permission slip to just have fun and to celebrate my life and make fun of myself for moving to L.A. to pursue music and confront any invalidation I was feeling about doing so. And then it rolled into a healthy confrontation about all invalidation I have ever felt or have witnessed other people feeling and I realized that our life is our design and we have free will to make choices and make our own truths and how beautiful is that?! So I found a way to express all of this via color because I find color to have so much information and to me it is one of the best ways to express one’s self.
Your debut EP, ‘Show Your Colors,’ is due out this spring. Can you tell us a little about the themes of the EP?
‘Show Your Colors’ explores themes of authority, self- empowerment, celebration, love, trust, intimacy, creating and destroying, being human, finding one’s own truth, imagination, memory, mystery, sacrifice, myth, and duality.
Is there a standout track on the EP that you feel really synthesizes your perspectives?
I like all of the musical landscapes on the EP. “Human Again” helps remind me that failing is beautiful and essential for growth and “Colors” reminds me to laugh and to celebrate my life!
In which hues do you envision your music on ‘Show Your Colors’?
My experience of color changes as I change, but in this moment I see:
“My Real Name” as emerald green.
“Colors” as every hue! Lots of strawberry pink!
“Human Again” as lilac purple.
“For You” as sapphire blue.
“Authority” as a fire-y orange-red.
What are you most excited for in terms of finally putting new music out?
I am most excited about communicating my truth, discovering new answers, asking new questions, and sharing my love of music!