I came across the picture of me meeting Paramore twelve years ago when they played in Newcastle and it set me off on thinking about my influences over the years. I’ve always had a huge love for powerful vocalists (other than when I loved Westlife when I was 7, lol) and as I was in the era of skipping through the music channels on Sky from about the age of 9/10, channels like Kerrang! And Scuzz really shaped my music taste for years. Over the years I’ve pretty much loved every genre of music other than Opera and Country. It’s been a journey that’s for sure!
I remember first seeing the music video for Misery Business on Kerrang! when I was 11 and it absolutely blew my mind. I was a huge fan of bands like Evanescence, Within Temptation etc previously, so I was used to female voices in Rock music but I hadn’t heard a female sing like Hayley Williams in the more powerful, pop punky style before. I thought she was the absolute coolest thing since sliced bread and I think she was truly the start of me really embracing the powerful side of my voice and how I wrote lyrics too. I was already a fan of Fall Out Boy, Green Day etc but Paramore really sent me fully down the emo kid route and SOMEHOW I ended up loving bands like Parkway Drive & BMTH… yes of course I tried to learn how to scream but kinda thankfully it didn’t work out for me, lol. I’m bringing Paramore (and Hayley) back into 2022 influences cos I think they’re an incredibly authentic band that over the years haven’t just constantly tried to rehash the same old emo shite that a lot of their fans have asked them to. They’re constantly evolving their music and I think that’s how it should be. You grow as a person and surely the people that released their first album at the ages of 15-17 aren’t the same people as they are now at ages 30-32. And it would be worrying if they were!
After moving on from being a full blown emo/scene kid, I was a little bit lost with the sort of music I liked. My cousin was an absolutely huge glam metal fan and he wore the full shabang - leopard print leggings, cowboy hat, studs everywhere and I used to dye his hair black and we’d backcomb the absolute shit out of it. He then managed to get me on to Motley Crue, Skid Row, Guns n Roses etc which my mum did not understand at all. She was always a huge blues/soul fan so this was just absolute meaningless drivel to her (which I completely get now as I fully feel like the 80s ruined the world, hehe oops). I called my mum Mothership all the time and one day she brought home the Mothership compilation from Zeppelin. I whacked it on my iPod and one day sat on the bus when I was like 16 Black Dog came on. I was soooo confused cos it didn’t stick to one consistent time, it had so much delicious space in it and it wasn’t ridiculously produced like everything I was used to listening to. From then I just couldn’t stop listening to Zeppelin. The pure POWER and soul from Mr Plant blew my mind and the grit and chaos made me want to just never stop singing their songs. Not to mention the beauty of using so many nature based metaphors in his lyrics. Zeppelin were a huge part of who I’ve formed into today, my love for the late 60s into the early 70s will never fade. I love the authenticity of this era and it’s something I’m constantly striving for - to just be myself, be full of love and spread that to others and wear lots of sparkly and radged things.
As I said before, my mum was a huge fan of blues and soul so Aretha was always someone I was aware of and loved to listen to but I’d never truly connected to her music. One day during Uni I’d decided right that’s it, I’m going through a load of Aretha’s old albums, putting some of the songs I loved into a playlist and appreciating every part of them. The rhythms, bass lines, vocal runs, piano, backing vocals etc etc. One thing that I couldn’t get over in every single song was the pure freedom, passion and soul Aretha portrayed. It didn’t matter if it was one tiny word, she could make you feel something ridiculous from it. The higher belts that she did just made me want to pull my soul out of my chest. Weeeeird thing to say I know but she just makes me feel this sense of freedom and rawness that no other singer does. Aretha, you are a queen. The queen. You wore your authenticity on your sleeve and thank you for inspiring so many people, including me, to sing. Also your vocal runs and note choices were insane.
Last but not least, the amazing Amy Winehouse. I was never particularly bothered about Amy when I was younger. My consciousness didn’t start to hit till I was like 19 and I used to just believe what the press said, which I think they were unbelievably unfair to her. My mum had her first album Frank on quite a bit but it didn’t do much for me at first. Another one through Uni, I was going through watching a load of her earlier live performances and her ability to never really sing the same thing twice really hooked me in. Then after sitting down and listening to Frank with my older set of ears, it made me really hone in on the lyrics and the incredible blend of jazz, soul, hip hop and honest songwriting. I remember reading a story about her absolutely kicking off when making her second album because the record label had put a load of horns on one of the songs that she’d specifically said she didn’t want. Again, her incredible authenticity and ability to be anyone but herself is so inspiring. Not to mention her incredibly passionate, soulful vocals and jazz based melodies. She inspired a whole new facet to my voice that I’d never really considered.
THANK YOU if you’ve got this far reading, you need a pat on the back! Somehow this turned into a bit of an indulgement on my growing up years and it’s been nice to think about where my influences have come from and journeyed through to. See you next time, Georgy x