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GENEVIEVE SOVEREIGN

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AUSTRALIAN ARTIST GENEVIEVE SOVEREIGN

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

That’s an interesting question! Not sure I’ve ever regarded music in that way really. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved music of all kinds. When first starting to learn basic music theory in school, it just added more layers of intrigue and ways for me to explore. It’s all grown quite organically from that space of initial love and enquiry, I think.  

Tell us about your background and musical history.

Born and raised amid the rolling forested expanses of northwestern Ontario (Canada), I learned to play flute and piccolo in highschool and became an avid participant in both my school’s concert band and also the nearby city’s youth orchestra.

When I moved away to university, my flute and interest in music went with me. I performed in the pit orchestra for a musical comedy production on campus, while simultaneously studying engineering full-time and working a part-time admin job to support myself. It all started getting a bit much to handle though, and I actually dropped music out of my life for a number of years – until the rolling pandemic lockdowns of 2020, in my new home of Melbourne (Australia).

That’s when my passion for music reignited and I began to explore composition and songwriting – as well as learning guitar, piano and singing. I’m still very much a learner in all of the above, of course! 

After launching my debut EP “It’s yours.” which was an experimental fusion of different styles, I then explored the electronic pop space specifically – releasing a few singles in collaboration with composer-producer Ben Tenison (“Vibration Angle” | “Life Soaked Reveal” | “Present Dreams”). I’ve also been deepening my network and other collab opportunities – particularly through becoming Melbourne Coordinator for the Australian Songwriters Conference in 2022, and exploring cross-genre contributor prospects as a classically trained flutist. 

What was life like for you before music?

I don’t really understand this question, haha. Music has always been part of my life, in one way or another! Even during times when I wasn’t actively creating music, I was always listening to it – in the background while studying or commuting, as an audience member at gigs, and even just walking down the street or through a park hearing ambient sounds of the world around me. Music is literally everywhere, IMO. 🙂

What was the first song you heard that steered you onto a musical path?

Well, the song that first got me thinking maybe I could start creating music of my own was actually one I randomly heard during lockdowns. It’s an acoustic version of an electronic track, which I think is only available on YouTube sadly: 

Chino Saturn “Quad Horizon” (acoustic live version)

There was just something profoundly magical about this live session take that spoke to me in exactly the right moment and mindframe, almost single-handedly inspiring me to start creating my own music! 

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

In a place of exploration and curiosity. 🙂 To be fair, I’m probs quite a weirdo in that I gauge my progress according to how much I’ve learned, grown, experimented and created – all whilst having a fantastic time doing it! At the end of the day, those are the real keys to success for me: Always doing what I love, and loving what I do. Everything else is just cherries on top! 

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?

I don’t think there’s even an answer to that question, for me. The way I look at life: If I’m not constantly learning, all the time from everyone, then I’m doing it wrong! So I guess the biggest “thing” I’ve learned weaves into the continual flow of understanding I build, just through being a human and living in the best ways I can – in every direction I explore. 

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career, what would it be?

A coherent answer to several enduring mysteries… But I guess uncovering solutions myself is all part of the fun? 

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

People see things as they themselves are, not as I myself am (and vice versa, natch’). Reminding myself of that often helps when people misunderstand my intentions or meanings. It’s still a little saddening sometimes but such is the nature of human existence, from what I’ve been told. 🙂 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If no, why not?

In my estimation, our modern world outright depends on conspiracies at countless levels to even exist the way it does. 😉 

What was your worst experience on stage?

I can’t actually recall anything particularly traumatising, although admittedly I haven’t spent a whole lot of time front-and-centre on a stage. My default mode is generally just to go with the flow and navigate anything unexpected with self-deprecating humour and/or as much grace as I can summon… Usually works pretty well! 

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?

I do all my own cover art and design work for my releases, at least thus far! The concepts for them have been based on old progress photos of colour pencil drawings I’ve made across the years. I actually have almost none of the original drawings physically anymore, as they’ve mostly been given away as gifts. It’s pretty fun being able to repurpose their old progress photos into music artwork now though! 

What makes you stand out as an artist?

Persistence, passion and pragmatism – if I want to get alliterative. That’s not just with music either, but with everything I pursue. Whenever I find something I truly believe in, and that makes me come alive, then I throw myself into it and persist until my goals are achieved… But also with an understanding that things need to be realistic, within the time / space / resourcing available. It’s sometimes a fine balance to strike, but that in itself makes the journey more enriching.  

I hear you have some new music – what can you tell us about it?

I sure do have some new music, which I’d absolutely love to tell you about! Released 1 September 2023, my latest single “Midday Blue” is an electronic-acoustic hybrid offering a significant departure stylistically from my other recent work. 

Inspired by growing-up amid majestic rolling forests in northwestern Ontario, Canada and subsequently moving southward to the dusty open expansiveness of Australia, it juxtaposes that soul-soothing brilliance of endless skies which exist anywhere in the world we choose to seek for it.

Instrumentally paring back from the complex musical arrangements of my other recent releases, “Midday Blue” instead seeks to underscore the innate expressiveness of voice and lyric – whilst also highlighting the remarkable nuance that accomplished musicians are able to convey, through their chosen instruments of expression.

Beyond my own presence “Midday Blue” showcases beautiful guest performances from Paul Wyer / Ventry on acoustic guitar and Emily Saaen on piano, with finishing mix&master polish applied by returning audio engineer Deece at Omni-hieroglyphic (following vox recording FTW with Joel Taylor at Black Lodge Studios ;).

What was the recording process like?

Funny you should ask, as the vocal recording in particular was quite memorable! Specifically my voice was uncharacteristically raspy AF on vox recording day at Black Lodge – but it turned out to be a really cool vocal texture that worked wonderfully for the “Midday Blue” sound and vibe. Phew! And Deece of course is an audio engineering wizard who wove it all together into the beautifully seamless end result you hear. <3 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tune?

Well considering I began writing “Midday Blue” on acoustic guitar back when I first started learning to play guitar, I’d say almost everything about it has been a learning curve! It’s been in development for a period of years, surfacing in and out of my consciousness and taking shape slowly… Arrangement, melody-writing, chord progression… My progress in learning about all those elements of composition and more can be catalogued through the development of “Midday Blue” I reckon! 

Would you change anything now that it’s finished?

Nosiree Bob! I wouldn’t change a durn thing. The adventure is the prize, and learning the most important goal I hear. 😉 

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Joy, love and curiosity. Three of the greatest gifts, in my books! I hope listeners will take some or all of those elements from the music offered… And if they do, I’ll consider it a job well done! <3  

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