International Women's Day: Georgia Nott releases The Venus Project, and says of the woman on her new album cover, "I don't want her to look like anybody. I want her to look like everybody."
On International Women's Day last year, Georgia Nott was in Amsterdam supporting Swedish pop star Tove Lo. The tour was in the middle of the long running wave of success that electronic duo Broods - comprising of Nott and her brother Caleb - was having, especially after their second chart topping album Conscious. With production by award-winning smash-producer Joel Little and the help of a few songwriting buddies, namely Lorde and Tove Lo, it's been a big ride.
"Sometimes it kind of buzzes me out, you know?" Nott reflects on the phone from LA where she is sitting on the couch in her pyjamas. "Sometimes it's really strange when I go back and think of the process it was to get to here. And [thinking about] when I was a kid and what I wanted to do, what I used to dream about... and now that they're actually happening, it's pretty surreal."
But even in the early days of the release of Conscious, another project was brewing.
"I wanted to make an album out of these demos I had been stacking up... I wanted to make....a passion project, a side project." The idea was to have an album produced, performed and executed exclusively by women.
"I guess it started to become a lot more obvious to me, or I started to notice it a bit more consciously, that there's such a lack of women in the industry and for me, myself, as a woman in the industry, going into these situations and constantly facing these surprised faces when they find out that I'm actually good at what I do."
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Once the Conscious promotion and tour was over, The Venus Project began to take shape as Nott started working on songs in her friend's room for a couple of months. The process proved to be overwhelming and emotional for Nott who has emerged with a new strength and a deeper recognition of her abilities since undertaking the album.
"For a while, when I first started I thought... 'I'm so lucky, I don't deserve this, blah blah blah,' and then I started to realise that attitude of not giving myself credit was really holding me back. I started to wonder why I felt uncomfortable giving myself credit for my own ideas and achievements and I just stopped apologising and started backing myself and doing that alongside making this project, has been awesome."
Nott has collaborated with an impressive team of women including producer and keyboardist Camila Mora, engineers Adrianne Gonzales and Emily Lazar, producer Ceci Gomez, and artist Ashley Lukashevsky. And the result is a spacious, raw and wonderfully feminine collection of work birthed out of vulnerability but also strength.
"I personally get overwhelmed pretty easily, but I think that's just the way that I go about my life. I see things and I feel things... I analyse things a lot and self reflect a lot, but it's been awesome to get past how overwhelming it is and know that even though it was terrifying - I did it. I think that's what I'm most proud of. Usually, I'm such an anxious, overwhelmed person and to be like, f*** you anxiety. I'm not gonna let you stop me."
The first two singles Won't Hurt and Need a Man have been received by fans, friends and family with affection, and Nott says the success of this album is measured by how much it encourages other women.
"I'm really happy with how many people - especially Broods fans - have come across and started to support this project. A lot of people have been interested and talking to me about this project. The amount of messages that I've got from people in my life and friends and family telling me they're proud of me for doing something that is for a cause is really awesome.
"The success of this album is not selling records or radio play or whatever. I'm just trying to start something and build something that can continue to uplift women in the creative industries to express their own creativity in as way that is unique to them."
Nott has overcome personal hurdles in making the whole album, but one not as big as engineering and producing a track called Go Easy all on her own.
"I produced and engineered [Go Easy] myself which was an awesome challenge to put myself through because I haven't really had the chance to do that.... I think for a while I was like, I'm not an engineer, I'm not a producer, I can't do it. Then I was like, actually, I can. F*** it. Why not?"
It's one of the standout tracks on The Venus Project, Vol 1 which is released today, exactly a year after Nott was touring as part of Broods with Tove Lo in Europe. But this International Women's Day, she will be at home in New Zealand.
"I'm really excited. I'm gonna celebrate with some friends and family that are coming to support and [I'll] sing some songs and stuff and I'm just kind of sitting here anticipating it, waiting to get this out."
The Venus Project, Vol 1 has resulted in Georgia Nott's growth as a woman and an artist, and in doing so will ultimately become a source of encouragement for other women.
"I felt like all of a sudden I could actually not be ashamed as a person and as an artist, which is quite a full on thing to say but it's true. I think lot of women.... have this attitude that they need to prove themselves, and they need to prove that they're smart, and they need to prove they're strong, and they need to prove they're talented and whatever, and I'm over that. I'm really over that. I'm not gonna feel like I need to prove something. I just want to celebrate it."
Every element of The Venus Project is intended to embrace and celebrate women, but the essence can be seen before it is heard - on the album cover illustrated by LA based artist Ashley Lukashevsky.
"I think the way [Ashley] represents women in her drawings is so cool and ambiguous and real compared to what you usually see on social media and movies.. Everywhere you look you're seeing a version of a woman who is unattainable. I think it was nice to show a different type of woman who is curvy and didn't look like me. Actually when she was doing the artwork she [asked], 'Do you want the woman to look like you? and I said, Nope. I don't want her to look like anybody. I want her to look like everybody."