ALBUM REVIEW: Mining town gives birth to gritty singer with iron will
The music jungle is no place for a singer-songwriter lacking the toughness to pick herself up after failing a GCSE history exam.
That is the story told by Mansfield-born Georgie, real name Georgette Howe, who is touring five English and Scottish cities next month.
With a voice immediately inviting comparisons with Amy Winehouse and Adele, Georgie’s other claim to fame before releasing her debut EP, “Too Much TV”, was having scored 139 goals in a season which earned a trial at Derby County.
She said: "I just love making music and I've always been gravitating towards that, having picked up a guitar and changing my passion from football to songwriting literally overnight.
"Being on tour is a music maker's dream but even now, I'm working hard to get my music out because there were no places in Mansfield where I could go and gig.
"Also, as a female singer-songwriter, you have to earn your stripes because to be taken seriously as a girl with a guitar is quite a challenge."
Picking up the guitar led Georgie to writing songs like “Hard Times” and her debut single “Company of Thieves”, both of which are surprisingly absent from her debut EP.
Having visited the USA in 2016 to record "Company of Thieves", Georgie went on to tour with fellow Nottinghamshire musician Jake Bugg who topped the UK album charts as an 18-year-old in 2012.
The gritty singer has also toured with Manchester rock band Blossoms whose debut album went to number one in the UK in 2016.
Georgie said: "I feel there have been lots of turning points on a journey with lots of twists and turns.
"But if you're writing sings that touch people's lives and you love what you're doing, then it's not work.
"I take it as it comes in being able to do what I love, with good people around me who have helped me play in lots of great cities, including Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff and Dublin."
Georgie offers a mid-1990s sound with the EP's title track, "Too Much TV", which bears more than just a passing resemblance to Mark Morrison’s 1996 UK number one smash “Return of the Mack”.
Then comes the promising “Be The Fire” which gives Georgie free rein to discover her inner “Adele”, followed by the unashamed indie rock number “Wildcat”.
Georgie said: "I was very close to becoming a footballer at one point, getting a trial at Derby County.
"I'm quite focused so if I'd have stuck with it, I believe that I'd have played for England.
"But I picked up a guitar at the age of 14 and my mind changed the next day.
"Then I learned the piano and found out that it's such a good instrument for songwriting.
"I've had some amazing things said to me about how my music has helped people.
"Now I want to do this for the rest of my life."
Dates in Aberdeen and Edinburgh await Georgie next week, with a slot on Craig "Red Dwarf" Charles' Funk and Soul Club gig, alongside Feeder, Eyre Llew and The Showhawk Duo, to come at Derby's Locko park venue in July.
Georgie said: "To touch people with my music is my biggest goal, although to go on Jools Holland would be a dream come true as well."
Could Georgie emerge as the best thing to have come out of Mansfield since double Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington?
"I think it's important to be yourself as people relate to that a lot easier," Georgie said.
"The singers who've stood the test of time are the ones who have great songs, but are also great songwriters as well.
"I'm always writing songs and there are some that you love at a particular time, but the next day you can't stand them.
"Songwriting is such a weird thing because it's so personal and the way your emotions think about the songs is very personal as well.
"But I can only sing about what's personal to me because it's the only way I can convey my emotions."
For more about Georgie, visit http://www.georgieofficial.co.uk/
Review and interview by Winston Brown