Discovery: George Maple

By
Photography Christopher Gabello

Published March 28, 2013

GEORGE MAPLE AT SUN STUDIOS IN NEW YORK, MARCH 2013. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER GABELLO.

George Maple’s “Fixed” begins with a pulsing club beat, but then the beat subsides and Maple’s sultry vocals take over. Although Maple tells us the song is about “that unrequited love that happens to all of us,” you could imagine it as a much more spontaneous story: dancing in a club, catching someone’s eye, holding their gaze for a few seconds, and returning to dancing with them in mind. It’s an evocative track.

“Fixed” is one of two singles and a handful of collaborations that Maple has released, but it’s been enough to gain her a following. “Honestly, everything is surprising,” she says when meet her in New York during her tour with Flight Facilities. She’s just arrived from SXSW, where she played a showcase with Toro y Moi, via Puerto Rico. “All of my friends from school are in accounting and marketing—things like that, but I just don’t think I would have ever been happy. “

AGE: 23

HOMETOWN: I grew up on the Northern Beaches in Sydney. Have you seen a show called Home and Away? It’s there. That’s what I tell everyone. Did I ever want to be on Home and Away? No. It’s a really good way of giving people that you meet a picture or where you’re from because immediately they can associate an image.

LIVES IN: London. I’ve always loved UK garage and that underground music that came out of there. [Moving] felt like the right thing to do. I do it quite a lot—just pack up and leave—because it doesn’t really faze me where I live. I like that when I’m writing: new experiences and people and places.

STYLE OF MUSIC: At the moment, I’m obviously influenced by a lot of soul and glitchy beats. There’s definitely a bit of trip-hop in there as well. I went on the Internet the other day and I found all of these weird new genres that people have created. Chill-‘n’-bass was one of them. [laughs]

THE REAL GEORGE MAPLE: George Maple is my pseudonym. My real name’s Jess, but I came up with George because I was a bit freaked out about the idea of using my own name to begin with. Originally it was supposed to be this contrived persona; I started making up stories and I had this real image of what she was. It was this villainous character who’s a bit darker than who I naturally am. I realized that I wouldn’t be able to sustain that; you could just see straight through it. So I used it as a creative canvas to look at different concepts and things that are a bit far outside of myself. As that’s evolved, I’ve probably become more comfortable talking about things that are close to me and just going, “Oh well, I’m going to put them out there, and I’m fine with being transparent.” I think it allowed me to explore concepts that are closer to me. I wasn’t honest with myself at the time. I could write about things that weren’t necessarily things that I would admit I was feeling, but, retrospectively, when I look at songs it’s like, “Yeah, that’s definitely from what you were feeling, not George.”

FIRST SONG: It was called “I Can’t Do Nothing Right” or “Nothing Pleases You.” It was basically a rip-off of that Alicia Keys song, “Fallin’.”

THE DEBUT ALBUM:  I want an album that has a lot of symmetry. When you listen to those old albums, like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998), it starts off with a real story and it weaves its way through as a sort of theme. I really want to do that with an album. I have about 10 tracks that are ready to go, so I’m going to release them throughout the year through our label, which is called Tuluum. In September, or around that time, I’m going to go away and write an album all at once. I’m going to invite all my friends down and get some cool collaborators and see what happens. Maybe an album won’t come out of that, but I want it to be something that’s done all at the same time as opposed to all these songs that I’ve had for a couple of years.

TWITTER TROUBLES: I don’t know how many favorites is too much to favorite. I’m not very good with Twitter, is it okay to favorite everything? And then if you start favoriting everything… what if I don’t favor someone and they get offended? I’m just surprised every day at how nice everyone is.

POP NOSTALGIA: The first album that spoke to me? It’s going to sound so lame, I don’t know if I should even say it. I grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald, and Chris Isaak, such a babe, but such a crooner. [But] do you remember Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”? I think I’ll be shot by all of my cool friends. Stripped was just such a well-crafted pop album. I reckon that was the first one. Do you remember that City High album [City High, 2001]? That album never got the credit it deserved. Even my mum still likes that album. The story telling was so beautiful; they were very honest at the time. Not just about drinking and money and bitches or whatnot. Just about struggle.

DUETS: I’d love to write with someone like Nicolas Jaar. Is he nice? He’s so beautiful. Or James Blake, he seems nice. Jai Paul. I could listen “Jasmine” every second.

“FIXED” WILL BE AVAILABLE ON iTUNES FROM APRIL 14. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT GEORGE MAPLE’S FACEBOOK PAGE.