She sings exquisitely, writes, produces, collaborates, shrugs at controversy and thinks that we make our best art when we face down our worst fears. This is Australia’s George Maple: soulfully talented, emotionally evolved, and more than ready to take on the world.
Words. Paul Mitchell
“The thing is, as an artist, you have an intention with what you’re doing. You put it out there, but how it’s interpreted is not up to you. That’s art. I can’t control it.” On the surface, Australian singer-songwriter-producer George Maple – real name Jess Higgs – is talking about online criticism of her work. On a deeper level, for someone who has spent years battling personal demons so crippling she has felt unable to write or perform under her real name, she is also celebrating the art of letting go. “It’s been a very big lesson for me as a control freak to be able to be like, ‘Meh, it doesn’t matter,’” she says. Now in a Zen-like state she never thought she would achieve, she is embracing the challenges that helped her become one of the most unique, talented and multiskilled artists in the Australian music industry.
If any proof is needed that Maple has turned a corner, the almost symbolic release of her debut album Lover in October 2017 demonstrated one door had firmly closed and another had swung wide open. An assured, passionate and at times breathtaking collection, the album was worth the almost four-year wait since Maple’s first EP in 2014 (Vacant Space). “I only do things when I feel they make sense,” she explains. “I had a lot of growing to do and a lot to experience between the EP and now.” With Clash magazine calling the album “delectable” and Apple Music describing it as “sculpted and sexy”, the success of Lover has seen Maple on a roll, including supporting superstar Lorde on her Melodrama World Tour last November and appearing at the ultra-hip SXSW festival in March.