George Maple: The Australian Songstress Taking Over Asia
Sat inside the dreamy walls of Stresis Parlour at Central Embassy, George Maple (AKA Jess Higgs) shares the intricacies of her beautifully chaotic, creative mind. In anticipation of her upcoming album this year, we get to know the girl behind the name, and it’s safe to say that this LA based singer from Sydney is a forced to be reckoned with.
So, let’s start with the name, or names I should say.
I wanted to develop something that had no previous meaning or reputation associated with it, so that I could create and develop it myself. At the start, it was definitely something I hid behind. It’s scary putting your soul out there for everyone to see and judge, but George has helped me as Jess deal with a lot of things, from challenges to insecurities and hardships. George is now just a part of my being.
How would you describe yourself as George and Jess?
Fiercely independent. For most of my life I’ve been absolutely nomadic and always on the move. I have been on the road for five years and haven’t been in one place for more than three weeks. That was just my nature, but over the last year, I’ve started to really realise the importance of stability.
In the rat race of being an artist and having this lifestyle, I realise how important stability is. I’ve been working hard on developing and nurturing relationships. This year has been a complete change of pace. I have a house in LA now and I no longer want to be in constant displacement.
I no longer want to be in constant displacement
Has this change of pace affected your music?
I’ve always been so intertwined with songwriting and expressing myself through that channel, but what I’ve realised is that the joy comes from the creative process. Whether it’s building a live show or directing videos, I want to dedicate my time to not only songwriting but to all that comes with it—all of the behind-the-scenes elements.
What is it about the creative process that you love so much?
The most magical part of the creative process is the connection to the source. You cannot explain it, and you don’t know where it comes from. I think it’s about unlocking your connection to the universe. When I was younger I used to think, I was just want to write songs because that was the career path and trajectory. But as I developed, I realised there's a magical world of ideas and concepts that can evolve into something amazing.
And what creative aspects should we know about your upcoming album?
That it started as a film synopsis first. I’m no screenwriter, but I love to write. It’s a central thread of being a artist and a creator. I wrote it very naturally, and it all fell into place. After I leave Asia, I’ll be going back into production for a lot of the cinematic side of the album.
What can you tell us about your upcoming album?
That it’s exactly who I am. All the songs I’ve ever wanted to write, I’ve written on this record. My single, Champion, is the perfect entry into this record. The best way I can describe it is that it’s not about a guy. It’s about the world around me, the people who have inspired me and my own journey. It has also manifested into an abstract universe as it’s a cinematic version of events based on my life course. It has helped me find my voice again, and find my fire.
This time, I didn't give away the role to a leading person, I gave it to myself
What do you mean by “find your voice again”, did you ever lose it?
We all go through stages of hardship and challenges and in the last few years it's been quite challenging for me. I went through a lot, but I’ve come out of that and done a lot of healing and spent time on figuring myself out. And when I did, the album just magically and naturally appeared within me. It’s strong and it's confident, and I'm really genuinely proud of it. This time, I didn't give away the role to a leading person, I gave it to myself.
That must feel incredibly liberating:
I’ve always been somewhat veiled. I’ve hidden behind my art, my music, my hair, my name. This year my role is to be at the forefront. I have something to say and I’m ready to embrace this role as the leading lady.
How has this epiphany manifested into your personal style?
I love a beautiful balance between masculine and feminine. My mind is drawn to the concept of ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’. My energy and the way that I work is masculine in that I’m direct and to the point. Yet I sometimes lean into my more feminine side that's vulnerable and empathic. This resonates across not just my style but my performance, my writing and my day-to-day life. I like the constant yin and yang.
What designers/trends are you loving right now?
Oh definitely Dion Lee! It’s an Australian brand whose work and pieces I love because of its suiting and asymmetrical designs. As for a trend, I love anything that's cyber and futuristic. I love that we are currently looking like we are in the future. Everything in art has been done, so I think we should be looking forward not back.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I want to unite and inspire. One of my big goals this year is to get to know my audience. They’re so intellectual and awake, and they really appreciate the layers and meaning behind music and artistry. Another thing I’m trying to do is unlock artistry in other people. I love mentoring and helping younger, emerging artists. For me, you can’t teach artistry, but you can unlock it. And once you find your voice, that voice can be transposed into so many different mediums, and I want to help people do that. It’s a part of me and my business, and it’s something I feel very passionate about.
(More interviews: Pacharee: A Coincidence Or Destiny For Designer Sophie Rogers?)