05.05.2019

For Georgie Currie, sad songs are much easier to write than happy ones

Words by Augustus Welby

The Albury native is gearing up to release her debut solo EP and accompanying gig.

Georgie Currie grew up in Albury in southern New South Wales. She’s been a member of the ten-piece folk collective, The Northern Folk, for six years and together with the band, made the move to Melbourne in early 2017.

She’s now ready to launch her debut solo EP, Flowers For Your Worst Days, which lands on Friday May 3.

Two singles have been lifted from the release so far – ‘Daytime TV’ and ‘Norma Jean’ – both of which feature piano and strings along with acoustic guitar and Currie’s lead vocals. Currie will celebrate the EP’s physical release with a gig at The Toff in Town on Thursday May 23, supported by a small ensemble.

“Live there’s usually four of us, which is myself accompanied by acoustic guitar, keys, cello and violin,” she says.

The quality of the production is quite striking for a debut release. Flowers For Your Worst Days doesn’t sound lo-fi or hastily thrown together. It was recorded at Sing Sing Studios in South Yarra with engineer Adam Rhodes.

“I’d worked with him before with The Northern Folk so I was really lucky that I already had that relationship with him and that he said yes to working on this project with me,” Currie says. “We were actually in the studio for three days. A lot of the other songs on the EP are quite sparse, so some of them took half a day or so.”

There is a melancholic, downcast tint to Currie’s first couple of singles and she’s not afraid to admit her songwriting generally carries an element of sadness. It’s less an aesthetic choice, however, than a result of the emotions that stimulate productivity.

“I’d love to write more happy songs if I could,” she says. “I think most songwriters would agree that it’s much easier to write sad songs. Everyone’s really afraid of writing happy songs because they think they’ll sound too cheesy or clichéd. But there is a happy song on the EP and I’m probably most proud of that one.”

With creating music that can be perceived as sad comes the risk of taking it too far and sounding self-indulgent. Currie uses lyrical tools – like establishing relatable narratives and including lots of identifiable imagery and metaphors – to give people something to connect to.

“It also helps to make sure that even if your content comes out being a bit more melancholic, the vocal lines or the melodies provide a bit of contrast and they have a bit more of an arc instead of it all being a bit melodically monotonous,” she says.

The lyrics in ‘Norma Jean’ are cleverly layered. Initially it seems like a love letter to the woman Norma Jean, who you could interpret as Marilyn Monroe or a metaphor for a media-approved beautiful woman. But the second line of the chorus is a watershed moment, as Currie sings: “Norma Jean, she’s so much easier to love than me.”

“I think I used the story of Marilyn Monroe as a bit more of a channel of how I was feeling at the time, which was not feeling like you ever really measure up compared to what you perceive to be all these beautiful people around you.”

There were a bunch of significant artists that Currie took inspiration from during the writing of Flowers For Your Worst Days.

“There’s a song on the EP called ‘Sugar and Salt’ and I think it’s pretty reminiscent of Norah Jones. I was listening to a lot of her at the time that I wrote it. I think you can definitely see where I’ve pulled a bit of inspiration. I was listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell at the time as well.

“I’m not really sure if it sounds tonally or sonically like her, but she’s pretty wonderful. And then throughout my whole childhood I listened to every Missy Higgins album that was ever put out. So she’s a bit of a subconscious inspiration.”

Georgie Currie’s debut solo EP, Flowers For Your Worst Days is out Friday May 3. She’ll be launching it at The Toff on Thursday May 23. Grab your ticks via Moshtix.