Dressed in a crimson velvet gown by cult Australian label, Ellery, Georgia Nott of local pop duo, Broods, stood centre stage at Auckland’s Vector Arena, hyperventilating.
To her left: her bandmate and older brother Caleb Nott. To her right: rock legend Mick Fleetwood. Mick, the surprise guest of honour at the 2015 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, was presenting the brother-sister act with Album of the Year for their debut album, Evergreen.
Almost one year on from the event, Georgia still struggles to find the words. “I think I blacked out for a bit… to have him… he’s a giant man… and we were not expecting to get the award… so having to process him giving it to us… then having to do a speech… it was very overwhelming.”
For the 22-year-old singer, things haven’t slowed down since. In April 2016, shortly after marrying her partner, Jacob Wieblitz, she and Caleb relocated to Los Angeles and immediately joined Ellie Goulding’s Delirium tour as the opening act. Broods’ sophomore album, Conscious, was released in June. When I speak to Georgia over the phone a few weeks before the album is released, she and Caleb have just returned to LA from a press trip to Toronto. Not-normal is the new normal, she says. “Hopefully when we start our headline tour we can establish a bit more of a routine.”
That headline tour kicked off in Australia in July. Although North America has been the focus, a spate of New Zealand shows provided a welcome opportunity for the siblings to catch up with family. Missing them has been the hardest thing about moving overseas. “It’s tough not being there to watch our nieces grow up,” says Georgia. “But we’re doing what we need to do.”
Life in LA is less lonely thanks to a surrogate family of Cali-based Kiwis, including Conscious producer Joel Little, who also produced Lorde’s Pure Heroine. Lorde frontwoman Ella Yelich-O’Connor has a co-writing credit on Conscious for the track ‘Heartlines’ – the only song written from Caleb’s perspective.
“He was sitting there telling us how he felt while we figured out how to write it in an honest, convincing way,” says Georgia. In an interview with Rolling Stone Australia, she describes the track as an ode to a would-be long distance relationship. “Every time you see that person it’s amazing, but it’s never enough to fully invest yourself.”
While the siblings share the workload in the studio and onstage, costume decisions usually rest with Georgia. “Caleb will always go ‘what are you wearing? I’ll wear something that suits you’,” she laughs, explaining that Caleb’s style is on the avant-garde end of the spectrum. “He’s the king of layering – the longer the T-shirt the better.” Georgia’s own costumes need to be easy to move in.
“I can’t wear skirts or dresses on stage because I always end up flashing the crowd,” she says, adding that she’ll typically go for a sporty crop top with loose pants. “It’s a combination that works for me. My body shape is naturally athletic but my vibe is airy-fairy… it always has been. I live in a different world.”
Georgia claims her “modest” fashion knowledge base is expanding as she becomes more exposed to the international fashion scene. “It’s exciting finding designers that encapsulate what you love about clothes,” she says. New York-based womenswear label, À Moi, is a favourite recent discovery, and she can’t look past a fringed Missoni jacket. “For our last show in London I wore one that was really sparkly, but in a dark and gloomy way. It moved so well – that kind of thing really enhances a performance.”
Georgia’s penchant for dark and gloomy garments speaks to her style icons Stevie Nicks (“she’s a dreamboat”), Lykke Li (“both her music and style are so on point”), and Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes fame. “She’s got this style that only she can pull off,” she says. “It’s so old school – vintage gowns and masses of blue eyeshadow… if I wore that I’d look like a crazy person, but she makes it glamorous. I like it when people can own it.”
As far as New Zealand fashion goes, Georgia digs Stolen Girlfriends Club’s “grungy” vibe, “but my all-time favourite has got to be Georgia Alice,” she says. “I’ve been looking at her new collection today and I’m obsessed.” Creative to the core, the singer also enjoys collaborating with local designers on one-off pieces – like the Ruby dress she wore to her first New Zealand Music Awards in 2014. “I love working with other creatives, bringing in my vision and having them make it happen with their expertise,” she says.
For Georgia and Caleb, this same thinking comes into play when they’re asked to join established musicians on stadium tours. “Obviously someday we want it to be us headlining those massive venues,” says Georgia. “So it’s awesome to get a taste of that. It sparks something in you that makes you want to keep going.” As for their own tour schedule, Georgia concedes that singing her heart out every night gets tiring, “but it’s the most rewarding feeling playing to your own fans. When you see that they understand the songs and you realise that your music has an impact on other people’s lives, it puts everything into perspective.”
For Georgia’s favourite things to do in LA, visit FQ.co.nz/GeorgiaNott