Georgia Reclaims the Stolen Song [Interview]
Victoria, B.C. – As the bridge between hip-hop and other musical genres continues to strengthen, the more inclusive it becomes. The bluesy strains of Georgia Murray’s music morph into something new when it’s layered on a DJ’s beats and combined with a couple of rap verses: all of a sudden a small town girl becomes a hip-hop artist. She started her career singing The Little Mermaid to sport fishermen and more recently had her song hit #1 on the South Korean pop music scene – somewhat scandalously. Georgia has been on a journey, and HipHopCanada recently sat down with the singer songwriter to talk a little bit about the island scene, her varied audience, and of course, having her song stolen.
HipHopCanada: How did you get your start in music?
Georgia: I have always sung, I started singing with my dad – we own a small family fishing resort, and I would sing with the guests. I’ve been about real music all my life, started writing songs when I was 15 to tell my own story but it was just something I did. It wasn’t about wanting to be famous. I just love music and performing and eventually really loved songwriting and using that outlet.
HipHopCanada: How do your career goals culminate in your music?
Georgia: The word that most people use when they say what they want is fame. I just want to sing and write and connect with people and be emotional. And make someone else feel like they’re not the only total freak.
HipHopCanada: Who have been your major influences when it comes to music?
Georgia: The first song I learned was House of the Rising Son and I just recorded a cover of it with Chin Injeti. Other than that, I used to sing The Little Mermaid, Simon and Garfunkel, Johnny Cash, Gordon Lightfoot, blues and soul.
HipHopCanada: You have a real hip-hop vibe, and a lot of hip-hop collabs…how did you go from The Little Mermaid to hip-hop?
Georgia: I got into hip-hop when I was 12. Jurassic 5, Blackalicious, Roots, Pharcyde, De la Soul, I just fell in love with it. I met my co-producer/collaborator D-Wiz and we’ve been working on our sound. He’s hip-hop and I’m more of a folk, bluesy vibe.
HipHopCanada: You work with a fair amount of Vancouver artists, who are you most associated with?
Georgia: I’m not an official Hastings Set member but I’ve been over there recording with Chin for the last year and a half. I also work with D-Wiz who does a lot of the production and also with Vago of the Vanguards as well. I always think working with new people and getting their vibes.
HipHopCanada: With such a variety of styles, who ends up being your audience?
Georgia: It’s kind of weird – I was on Boston Legal as a lounge singer a few years ago and I got a fan base from that. Not people who would necessarily love hip-hop – My old group Divinity used to be hip-hop style so we got that crowd on the island as well. And my brother is in the Canadian tenors and he’s exposed our music to that classical crowd. So a lot of people are getting exposed, it’s a mixture of hip-hop heads and moms and young girls so it’s kind of a mash-up which is reflective of who I am.
HipHopCanada: Who is your absolute favorite hip-hop artist to collaborate with?
Georgia: I love everything I’ve done with Langdon Auger – I did 2 songs on his last album and he has this crazy following on the island and people sing along. “Day by Day” and one song on his album that’s coming out soon. It’s really emotional, about his cousin dealing with drug issues and his dad’s brother passing away so I listened to it and came up with a hook that made his dad cry – it was emotional and he’s amazing.
HipHopCanada: What is the scene on the Island like?
Georgia: I think I’m a little tapped out of it – I mostly play in Vancouver now. I think there’s a real strong young hip-hop scene who are really keen. When I was 19 I moved to Victoria and there was a total hip-hop scene that we were at twice a week but I got into different avenues so it’s kind of changing. I almost feel like I’m more down with people in Vancouver. The rock scene in Vic is really strong right now with John and Roy and Acres of Lions. They say Victoria’s the home of the newlywed and the nearly dead.
HipHopCanada: You’ve had an interesting dilemna this past year, as your song was stolen by a South Korean artist and hit number one on those charts…can you describe that?
Georgia: It was a year ago in June we got this email at 2 in the morning from a Korean law firm saying that a producer stole my song and sold it to out biggest pop star and it’s gone number one. I crapped my pants. I turned on the song and it was my whole song, straight up. I was so shocked, like where are the cameras? I didn’t even know how to go about getting an entertainment lawyer. It turned out that a producer that worked for the biggest label in Korea was commissioned to write for the Britney Spears of Korea. She’s very well known. And I guess this producer “wrote” 7 plagiarized songs for her. We went through the process of getting it sorted out and now I have a writing credit for the vocal melody because they didn’t use my lyrics. I got a 25% earnings of the total rate, and now I’m actually a credited writer for a #1 song. When the story broke, my MySpace page was getting 20,000 to 30,000 hits a day from her fans. They stopped her tour, pulled her albums off the shelf, was sued by an advertising agency, and that producer is serving a year and a half in Korean jail.
HipHopCanada: What do you have coming up?
Georgia: I released an EP on June 24, available on Georgiamurray.net and I’m playing the Urban Culture Conference. I’m also playing Rifflandia this year on Friday September 23.
Interview and photography by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada
Don’t forget to check out http://georgiamurray.bandcamp.com/album/just-a-dream-ep for a free download, and you can compare Georgia’s “We’ll Never Know” with Lee Hyori’s “Swing” below.