“Once the tide has changed for us/Will you swim out and hold me up/No pressure,” sings New Zealand artist Georgia Lines on her latest single, “Call Me by My Name.” In a stylized split-screen video (her directorial debut), she stands knee -deep in the crystalline waters of the West Auckland beachfront, at turns playful, expectant, and unsure, reflecting the conflicted emotion held within the song. She tells Audiofemme that the song “is about the frustration I had felt trying to find my feet in a relationship, wondering if what the current landscape of the relationship was how it was always going to be.” She sings, “You’re under my skin/But that’s what I would miss from you,” a familiar emotion of dread in an uneasy relationship.
Georgia Lines teamed up with producer Djeisan Suskov to write the track; the two also worked together on her previous single, “No One Knows.” Though the pair worked through “many different versions” of the song, they eventually landed on the original demo version created the day the song was written. “[That] was actually one of our first sessions together back in 2019 after coming out of the NZ COVID lockdown,” she remembers. “The day before sending it off to mixing, Djeisan had reworked and added some more textural sounds and percussion to the chorus.” These last minute additions, she adds, really made the song come alive.
With the help of funding from NZ On Air, the video for “Call Me by My Name” came to fruition. “NZ On Air makes it possible for artists like myself to actually be creating music [and] videos,” Georgia explains. “This was my first time directing; I loved it! I think my inner bossy 12-year-old self came out when I was swiveling around in the chair, piecing all the footage together. I really enjoy the creative process with releasing music and it was really exciting to be a part of that process in the video too.”
Georgia has always put emphasis on tapping into universal experiences and emotions as a means of connecting with people. With her usual busy schedule, her empathetic nature pulls her in a million different directions, without hitting the brakes. Just before the pandemic hit, Georgia Lines released a self-titled EP, but as New Zealand entered lockdown, creativity took a bit of a backseat. “I had every intention, having all this time, [but] I didn’t have it in me [to be] musically be creative. I was sleeping and teaching online. I was baking every day – my processing was baking,” she says. But coming out of lockdown – which, luckily for New Zealand, was not as prolonged as much of the rest of the world due to low case numbers – that feeling of being in limbo changed, and Georgia felt herself moving forward once more.
“Coming out of that space, I had a lot of time to think and reflect,” she reveals. “You’re kind of stuck with your thoughts. It captures something a little bit deeper. Not that I’m afraid of digging deeper… but permission to articulate something deeper. [I have] a bunch of singles coming out this year. I was able to capture myself creatively.” She adds that she has more videos planned, too. “At some stage I’ll be working towards an album, but for now I am loving releasing singles,” she says.
She’s also excited about her upcoming tour with Deva Mehal, and will be playing a few headlining shows as well. She may not have a detailed map of where she is going, but that is part of her creative process.
“I feel like it was a combined of a bunch of little moments. In every creative industry, there’s no exact pathway to a career in creativity,” she says, noting that at first, pursuing a career in music felt daunting. “It took me a while to figure that out. Deep down inside me [I knew], if I don’t do this, then I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. It was a trusting of the internal conversation. I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, but I love the whole entire process – the initial ideas when you’re writing, and pulling everything together that you need for the release. It’s so fun, [and] I get to do this all the time.”