INTERVIEW WITH GENEVIEVE: COLORS, CLAIRVOYANCE, AND CRAFTING A NEW SOUND
photos / Spencer Kohn
Genevieve is clairvoyant. She tells me this about halfway through our conversation and she drops it in casually as if she’s telling me she’s going to be having tuna for lunch. It doesn’t surprise me at all because, after talking to her for about 20 minutes, you start to get the sense that she really does see outside of herself more than the average person. Her energy is so palpable that even over a phone call I could feel the passion that radiates from her. Through her music, she tells stories of empowerment, independence, and acceptance, which is fitting for her debut as a solo artist. With an already successful career as the lead singer for Company of Thieves, she has as much to let go of as she has to prove.
You might not expect with her phoenix colored hair, metallic cropped jackets, and previous work, how catchy and pop her breakout solo EP would be. The first single off the album, “Colors,” is one of those songs that when it comes on the radio you turn it up and sing along at the top of your lungs. With straight forward and inspiring lyrics, Genevieve carries a female empowerment vibe with enough universality to bring it to the masses. Through her lyrical wisdom and radio friendly melodies, her music is substantial, meaningful and it makes you feel good listening to it.
What has the transition from popular band to solo artist?
It’s crazy. I have been pushed away from my sanity. I have completely walked away from an identity that I built my entire life on and I pulled the rug out from underneath myself to say, “Oh, this is who you think you are? I don’t think so.” You’re catapulted to a completely different part of the country and you start writing songs with people you’ve never met before you and you’re really vulnerable and out of comfort zone, then who are you? Who are you around those types of people? It was so cool because I got to explore a new part of myself. It’s been, if anything, incredibly educational and incredible for me to show love to myself and be my own best friend.
What are bringing from your experiences with Company of Thieves and what are you leaving behind?
I think I’m bringing the courage to even share anything that I make. That took many years to get to that point. I’m bringing along the massive amount of humility that I’ve learned to embrace from being vulnerable. I’m bringing along a deep love and curiosity for traveling and new things. I love the lifestyle of having a couple around you that have each others back. It can be difficult sometimes to have those
“ah ha!” moments. We need other people around us to hold a mirror to us and help us have those realizations. I’m leaving behind the idea that I need to represent anyone other than myself. It was a big deal to be a girl fronting a rock band. I thought I needed to prove myself and now I just get to be me. It doesn’t matter what other people think.
What was the inspiration behind the EP?
The EP is a collection of really colorful songs about empowerment the ability to self-identify, learning how to love myself and testify about things I’ve been through in my life. “My Real Name” is about asking for help and learning that it can be the most wonderful thing. I grew up super independent. I grew up really fast in the city. I had my first job when I was 12 and I’ve been working ever since and I always felt like I needed to have everything on me, so the song is about learning how to ask for help and how maybe I could break through to the other side and find freedom by doing that. “Colors” is about, no matter where you’re at in your life right now, whether it’s a difficult and dark time or if it’s an exciting and bright time, embracing that because all of those themes are valid and worth exploring. “Human Again” is about where I fit in relation to my family and where that perception locked me in as a victim for a really long time and because I felt that I was a victim I was out of my body a lot. I was always in my daydreams, and this is about coming back into my body and really embracing all of the challenges of my childhood. “Authority” is about standing up for myself, and being whoever I want to be and being true to myself. I wrote “For You” for my younger sister, who for me is an expression of infinite helps me realize that my love and affinity for other people is so vast and so huge that I would put my life on the line if I could help someone.
What is the writing process like for you?
It’s very bottom of the ocean, where you never know what you’re going to find. It’s always a surprise and sometimes I just dive down and it’s super fast and I have my flashlight with me and I find all these things that look beautiful together and I bring them up and sometimes I’m just lost in the abyss and I’m wandering through an ocean of feelings. A lot of times, in my writing process, I’m responding to my body. I feel like my body communicates with me through emotions. It’s such a primal visceral experience that I have. My head will try and analyze things but my body knows best. It’s really just me trying to analyze things and put my body into words.
You seem very centered. How do you maintain that in the chaotic music industry?
I’m very much into meditation and I’m also clairvoyant. Over the last couple of years, I’ve just been really trying to explore that. It’s not something I talk about a lot but it’s certainly something that has pulled me out of the depths of my life for sure. When I was younger on tour with my band, I realized that I was sensitive to energy. I would walk into a room and my stomach would feel a sense of unease because I was taking in all of the excitement in the room. It became very dangerous for me when we were travelling and I was meeting hundreds of people and I was sensitive to everyone’s pain. I would be really shaky and get sick a lot and cry myself to sleep on tour because I just felt for everyone and it hurt. It’s incredible turning in on myself and letting myself go through hell to come to this point. All of this is ever present in my music.
What do you feel about your music being put into the pop genre?
It’s funny because I’m on an alternative label so I think sometimes there’s idea that I’m supposed to be sounding a certain way. When people identify my music as pop music, it’s so awesome to me. I grew up totally appreciating pop music, when I personally think of pop music I think of a song that has a melody that dances around with you like a friend. I’m singing and writing about things that everyone feels. We all know what it feels like to say hey wait a second. I want to do something for me.
Something that is definitely alternative is your style! How would you describe your style and your incredible hair?
I got to LA and it was like turning the amp to 11 and I was electrified by all of the energy around me and I needed to express that within myself somehow. I even bleached my eyebrows and put pink and orange eyebrows. Overtime I was able to get back into my own skin and realize that I have a fire in me and I wanted to express that in my hair because for some reason that’s just how I am.
Like her fiery hair color, Genevieve is intense and passionate. Through this new chapter in this musical career, she truly is coming into her own, claiming her stake and changing the rigid boundaries we put on musicians.
Her new EP is available now on iTunes.